Rest In Peace

I’ve never been a pet person.  But about 10 years ago, I decided I wanted a cat.  Just like that, out of the blue.  I was married without kids and felt like a pet would make our house feel like a home.

My husband humored me, and we went to the local SPCA to see what kitties were available.  When we walked in, there was a cage of new kittens — four or five of them.  Each weighed about a pound.  They were so tiny and pathetic.

Some were gray and some were orange tabby.  I had it in my head that I wanted a gray kitty, but one of the orange tabbies came right to the edge of the cage and started begging me to take him home.  I KNOW that’s what he was trying to say, he was mewing so desperately.  The worker took him out and let me hold him, and he fit into the palm of my hand.  I knew right away he was mine.

We took him home that night, stopping at Petsmart on the way for all the necessary paraphernalia.  We named him Peanut because he was so small.

Peanut was THE BEST CAT.  Seriously, he was like a dog.  He would sit in the front window sill when we left the house and watch us go.  He would run to the door and greet us when we returned home.  He loved to play, and when he was tired, he would lay down in my lap and go to sleep.  He was even sociable when we had company.

Over time, I developed “exercise induced asthma”.  And that turned into regular asthma.  Then I started getting bronchitis.  A lot.  And I got pregnant.  Over the two years that we had our cat, I had asthmatic bronchitis three times — bad cases of it, too.  I once missed almost two weeks of teaching school, I was so sick.

It became clear that the cat had to go.  I was devastated, but I knew that I had to take care of my health.

We started asking around to find a home, and one of our friends who already had a couple of cats volunteered to take Peanut.  They lived about 45 minutes away, and we didn’t visit them regularly, but we knew he would be in a good home.

I will never forget the night we took him away.  It was a dark, rainy night in the fall of 1999.  Peanut didn’t know what was happening as we loaded him and his food and crate into the car, but he knew something was not right.  He mewed pitifully the whole way there.

I cried the whole way.  My heart still hurts, just thinking about it.  When we arrived at our friends’ house, we took him in.  He acted very strange and scared.  We visited for a bit, said our good-byes, and left.  Alone.  It was a very quiet car ride home.  Even my husband was heart-broken.

For weeks, maybe even months, I missed our pet dreadfully.  I still say that giving Peanut away was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.  And I mean it.

We kept tabs on him and learned that he adjusted well to his new home.  We visited Peanut once or twice.  Over the years, we occasionally saw our friends, and they told us how big he had gotten and how all the neighbors loved him.  He was really a special cat, and now I had proof that I didn’t feel that way just because he was mine.

Of course, the pain of losing him has faded, but we still think fondly of him and tell our kids about the cat we once had.

This past Saturday, the phone rang, but I was headed out to run errands so I didn’t pick it up.  When I got home, I found the following email.

Hey Jo-Lynne,

I just tried to call ya, but it kept ringing, so I couldn’t leave a
message.  So sorry to break the news via email, but we buried Peanut
this week.

He was wasting away the past few months, he went from 22 pounds down
to about 13 lbs.  He eventually succumbed to heat on Monday.  This was
the first cat we had that died at home, so Phil dug a hole on the
hottest day of the year and we all said our good-byes.  Even the
neighbors came over (they loooooved Peanut – kept a little bed in their
house for him – so if he was gone for a few days at a time we knew he
was just sleeping next door!  In fact the husband said his wife was in
the house in tears over it – that’s some cat, eh?)  I cried that night
when I came home from the store and he wasn’t there to greet me in the
driveway as usual.

Anyhow, thanks for sharing your cat with us long ago.  He was
probably the coolest cat we’ve ever had and our whole neighborhood
loved him too!

Hope all is well with you!