When the rescue organization folks delivered you and OC to B’s and my apartment ten years ago, the first thing you did when they opened the door to the cat carrier was walk over to the brand new litter box and take a polite little pee. You’d been in the car for an hour and a half, and now you were in a strange new place that smelled like paint, but you knew what needed to be done.
Last night you left my life just as neatly and tidily: We’d already placed a call to Vet on Wheels, thinking it might be time, but you decided to do it on your terms and save us $300. After a cuddly evening at home, we woke up to the sound of you coughing or…something. The phrase “death rattle” came to mind, and the night felt eerie. But we were there, next to you, until you were no longer there next to us.
We petted you and talked to you and AK went for her bible to find a passage she remembered from Titanic (such is AK’s range of references). We let the boys in the room for a goodbye sniff, because it seemed good to give them closure rather let them think you’d been kidnapped or quietly disappeared by some sinister regime. This morning we wrapped your body in a towel and took it to the not-on-wheels vet. Having you—even though it was no longer you—on my lap in the car one last time reminded me what I’d be missing: your weight and softness, the double-edged sword that is having a body and living on earth.
I feel relieved and grateful. I want you to know that you didn’t have to make it so easy on us—you were worth any sort of trouble you wanted to put us through. The rescue org named you Angel, which we thought was a little schmaltzy. You clawed enough furniture in your lifetime to prove you had a devilish streak, and you swatted Ferd enough times to make it clear you wouldn’t put up with bullshit.
But you are an angel not in a top-of-the-tree way, but in a magnificent Angels in America way. You’re an angel with street smarts. You were with me through the worst year of my life, and although I don’t believe anyone gets to choose when they go, if you had a little bit of a say in it, I believe you waited until I was okay. Whenever those random getting-to-know-you questionnaires ask who my heroes are, I say you, and I mean it. If I could be half as calm, fearless and full of love as you were, I would be in great shape.
I love you, Mec-Mec, and I’m so grateful that all of us got to know you—OC (who’s known you the longest, who cuddled with you even when you smelled kinda funky there at the end), Ferd, AK, me, B, our families, your many generous cat-sitters, Jennifer next door and her little girls, and all the neighbors who probably considered you their cat and probably fed you regularly, which would explain a lot.
Wherever you are now, I hope there is, as AK said, “lots of tuna, but amazing celestial tuna that we’d never even recognize.”
Rest in peace, Temecula. You are loved.