Today we are going to the vet and our old boy Puff will take the long Cat Nap. Our Very Good Dog, Pekoe, will be waiting for him on the other side of the Bridge when he arrives.
The oldest asked me to pick her up at school early so she can be there, so I will. She will hold him while he goes to sleep for the last time, because he is her kitty, her first kitty and he has been her Good Companion since she was a little girl of two. This will be hard for her, but I think it’ll also be good for her to understand the other side of having a pet. That this is the hard part and you’re as obligated to do that for them as you are to provide food and water and pettins.
In our old neighborhood, he roamed around outside and he was a regular Six Dinner Sid. He had several families on our block. There was one neighbor, a single guy, who kept a bowl and cat snax for him and on weekends Puff would come over and stroll in and they’d watch movies together. He was that guy’s part time kitty. He worked really hard to provide companionship to all those people. We didn’t find out about this until he was shot in the back, with a BB gun, by some neighborhood kid. We put up reward posters asking for information about who’d done that to him. Suddenly we were deluged with phone calls from neighbors saying, “We don’t know you, but we know your cat.” and telling us how he’d come by for dinner or snacks or just pettins. And people dropped off bags of salmon treats at our house and he had more snacks to fuel his recovery than any cat should have.
Once he followed a neighbor to the movies, 5 blocks away. The neighbor missed the previews so he could bring him back. Once he showed up 3 blocks away, and followed a woman into her house at 6am on a Sunday morning, demanding breakfast. She called us to come get him. His hopes of being Seven Dinner Sid were thwarted that day. When we’d have garage sales, he’d sit on the lawn and people would stop just to pet the big fluffy tuxedo cat, and then they’d buy our stuff. He was 28 pounds at his heaviest. He had friends on his terms, not just because he was ours.
He did not kill me when I made him wear antlers at Christmas. Every year for 11 years. Antlers.
He’s been a really good cat. I’m going to hang on to all this, these memories that make me laugh so hard at the Person he’s been. Today we are going to say goodbye and let him go and that’s going to be really hard, but it’s going to be okay. He’s had a really good run. 18 years.
We love you, Puff. You’ve been the very best kitty.