We are cat people.
Mr. T has had his cat since he was 10 years old. He is 27 now. They were about as tight as two friends could be. When he was younger and the target of every bully within a five-mile radius, I feared that if something happened to her, he would harm himself.
As she aged, the inevitable passage of time took its toll. She had arthritis, her hearing was going, she complained almost constantly, there were times when Mr. T did not think she recognized him. That was hardest for him — his best friend didn’t always know who he was.
Early this month, we went to the vet’s and he did the last thing he could do for her: he stopped her pain.
Last year we had three cats show up. The Widget got here first when her mother unceremoniously dropped her at the doorstep. We had met the mom earlier and she was far too young for motherhood. I am sure she was impregnated during her first heat and could not have been more than eight months old when she gave birth. They were close to starvation when they came to the door, so we fed them. When The Widget got old enough, we had her spayed. Mom left. The Widget stayed.
Tux was dumped after he had been neutered and Snooks just showed up. We fed them both. Tux loved people, Snooks had clearly been abused because she did not trust humans; but she was hungry. We moved the food to a neutral spot and she gradually got closer and closer and then we found out she was an absolute love. She craved affection. We gave it to her.
Shortly after that, she got to close too the road and was killed by a car. It was horrible. We had worked to gain her trust and she had loved us and she was gone.
When The Widget was small there was another cat who showed up and they kind of grew up together. I was laughing one day and said, “Have you noticed that when The Widget sees her through the window, she’s like, ‘Mom! Mom! Gloria’s here! Can I go out and play?” So she became Gloria. Gloria the Fearless. Gloria, the World’s Most Confident Cat. Gloria who would kick any intruder’s ass and didn’t put up with anybody’s sass.
We started feeding her and her coat got softer because she had time to groom herself. Whenever Miss B would go outside (which was most evenings) there was a purrfest and toe-nibbling; and if Miss B heard something untoward outside her window at night, out the door she went because she always had Gloria’s back.
She was dead in the road today when I got home. The road she never went near. I chased the vultures off, knelt in the road, and sobbed. I picked her up and Mr. T, Miss B, and I chiseled our way through the hardpan that masks as ground around here until we had a hole large enough for her next to Snooks.
Miss B knew her best, but I can’t stop crying.