Today, I lost my best friend. My cat Tommie had had heart trouble for as long as I've had him, but the vet assured me that it was nothing to worry about. That a heart murmur in a cat can mean nothing and although it may shorten their life a little, he would still be capable of giving me at least ten. And it didn't show for almost three years. I'm not blaming the vet for how quickly and out of the blue his disease came. But within two weeks of him being taken to the emergency room and having fluid built up within his system, he's gone from my life.
I remember when I got him and his brother. It would be three years this May. A friend and I drove to the border of Wisconsin to meet two kittens I had seen on an ad on Craigslist. If no one came to buy these two cute small strays, they were going to be sent to the shelter and I knew it wasn't likely that they'd be adopted. We got lost but eventually got there. Walked into a huge mansion in Spring Grove and found two orange splotched white kittens in a vacant room with wooden floors. One was climbing up the curtain and the other was playing hockey with everything in sight. Five minutes and I was in love.
There was apparently a sister but she had been adopted earlier and although I came for just one, I couldn't leave one behind. A brother without his twin. So I took them both. I noticed one was timid and as soon as I said it, the name became apparent. We named him Timmie. The next morning, my mother was changing her sheets when the other little guy jumped up and went under them so every time she started to secure the corners, he himself would be a huge lump underneath them.
I asked her what we should name him. She said Tommie. Timmie and Tommie Syed like the terrible Tibble twins from Arthur. It made sense because I loved Arthur and still do, and they were both menaces to society but in the best way possible. Timmie continued to be timid over the years but he has his perks too. Tommie was the odd ball. He was like no cat I have ever met. He was like a dog. He drank from the toilet, waited by the window for me, loved going outside, and slept in my bed with me. He was so social that even non-cat people loved him.
I know what most people say and how they make things sound. Like they saved an animal by buying/adopting them and they did. But my cats, my cats saved me. Because even though I was involved with someone at the time I got them, I still felt lonely.I still felt like there was a whole that needed to be filled by affection. And I have so much to give emotionally. Enough love for two. Tommie and Timmie are my everything. They've been through countless heartbreaks with me but much more important, they've given me so much happiness. The truth is, I don't know if I gave Tommie three wonderful years. All I know for sure, is that he gave me three fantastic years filled with love and happiness. He was my bit of hope and to a certain extent, he was all I had.
I didn't want him to suffer anymore. So my family and I made the hard decision to put him to sleep because his chest had filled up with fluid again after only a week. He had a catheter in his arm. I held him in my lap while they put in a relaxer, then the shot that made his body go still. It stopped his heart instantly and when his stopped, mine sort of did too. His neck fell limp slowly and I held him for maybe ten minutes after just crying into his fur, thinking about how this would be the last time I would ever hold him. Thinking about how he wouldn't sleep with me under my sheets or watch t.v. with me hogging my pillow on Sundays, and wake me up with his leaky eye streaking over my face.
But I have some comfort. I had my cousin, mom, sister, and her boyfriend around me. The people that matter most and knew him best were there to say goodbye. There is so much I want to say and so many regrets and so much time I wish he had. I just miss him. I just love him. You can call me a crazy cat lady all you want, world. For him, I was never ashamed to be anything. He saw me for everything I was and I loved him for everything he helped me become. I loved him for his eccentricities and his complexities and his love. I just loved him.
Rest in Peace Tommie boy.
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