So this may be a bit of a surprise, but I love cats. So does my husband. Yes, we adore our ridiculous pack of dogs, but cats are equally great. The idea of needing to pick sides on the whole dog/cat thing seems pretty nonsensical. There is room for both! (I will admit, though, to finding dogs easier to photograph…or at least our dogs will sort of hold still for a second when I come at them with a camera. The cats? Not so much.)
When my husband and I first met, we each had two cats. One of mine was a black cat named Ellie. One of my husband’s was a black cat named Elenore. Great minds and all. :)
Rescued as a feral kitten, his Elenore didn’t do the whole hissing-scratching-biting thing so common with feral cats. Instead she was very shy, elusive, and reclusive. So reclusive, in fact, that my husband actually spent weeks after he got her thinking that she had somehow escaped from his apartment. After bringing her in, he didn’t lay eyes on her for the next 3 months! Luckily, he had another cat, so there was always food and a liter box available. Apparently, she hid behind the stove a lot, assessing things, and would come out only when there was no one to see her. Just when he had given up, she came and sat in the kitchen doorway, looking at him.
She became a constant companion to his other cat. She would also come sit with my husband, just usually not if anyone else was in his apartment. He had friends who never saw her even though they were at his place frequently. After a while, they sort of thought that his second cat might just be fiction. Imagine his surprise the first time I visited his apartment: he mentioned that he had a second cat, said I probably wouldn’t see her, and then when he returned to the living room after using the restroom, it was to find Elenore sitting calmly in my lap.
Things only got better after that auspicious beginning together. Although she never much cared for my cat Ellie, Elenore took to me– and I to her. She was a small, delicate, graceful little thing. She was like smoke, or maybe like the cat that inspired the whole fog-on-cat’s-feet metaphor. The Ur-quiet cat. She was also the perfect companion. She was undemanding. She didn’t need attention all of the time and wasn’t prone to much meowing. She never once did that whole weird cat thing where you’re only allowed to stroke them a certain unspecified number of times and the moment you exceed that unspecified amount, the cat claws or bites you, you know that thing? Never.
She would simply come find me and sit quietly on my lap when she needed some company. (Or maybe it was the other way around?) Sitting with her was always peaceful and soothing. Almost all of my blog posts were written with her purring softly in my lap. At night, she would come curl up and doze on my sternum while I read a book before going to sleep. Once I would turn off the light, she would hop down and curl up on her favorite pillow by the window. Perfect.
The day after the lovely cabin weekend earlier this month, we had to put our sweet little friend down. She was 15 and her systems were failing. Part of being a responsible pet owner is knowing when it is time to say goodbye. Our vet was very kind. My husband held Elenore on his lap and I stroked her head while the vet administered the shots to euthanize her.
I’m glad we were able to give her a painless, peaceful end. Frankly, we should all be so lucky. A peaceful moment to die in, while surrounded by those who love us? That’s a luxury in this world. I know that. But still, it sucks. I miss her.