The year was 1999. I was newly wed, happy in love and in life.
My husband and I rolled up to the animal shelter in our little blue convertible, looking for a feline brother or sister for the kitten we had adopted just a few months before.
There were lots of kittens. Lots of them. But the moment we spotted the long-haired mutt of a cat with the corkscrew tail, our search was over.
We took the meowing ball of fluff home and spent the next few weeks trying to keep the older cat from killing him. It was so bad, we thought about taking him back almost daily for a while.
But eventually, peace returned to the household and the fluff ball (now named Kiwi) earned himself a permanent place on my lap and in my heart.
He’s been my constant companion ever since.
He stuck to me like glue through the worst of my depressions. Purred me back to health after three surgeries and countless broken joints and bones. He shared my lap through hundreds of late night Tori feedings and shared my desk through dozens and dozens of marathon writing sessions.
Heck, he even learned to say “mama,” in the same tone and with the same inflection as my young daughter. It was so eerily similar that I often couldn’t tell which one was calling me (and neither could my husband).
He was my baby in every way that matters.
And last week he died.
It was time. He couldn’t eat anymore. Couldn’t walk more than a few steps. Couldn’t even seem to sleep. Every time I looked at him, he was staring at me with preternaturally green eyes.
I knew in my heart that it was time for him to leave. I’d been telling him to let go for days.
But it still hurts.
We will get another cat. And I will grow to love him or her. But no one will ever take Kiwi’s place.
I miss that special little guy. I miss him a whole hell of a lot.