Today is my birthday.
Today our cat, Angel, died.
She has lived with us since 1997. She was 2 years old then. Our babies were 4 years old.
She spent most of her life with us living under the kid’s beds. She was never a lap cat or very sociable. She came out at night when everyone was in bed asleep. Basically, she tolerated us.
But, a funny thing happened two years ago when our babies went away to college.
Angel decided that it was time to bond with the adults in the house. Yeah, the ones who changed the litter box, fed her, gave her water, took her to the vet, cleaned up her cat barf, and vacuumed up her cat hair.
Basically, she was in love with my DSH. If I dared to sit next to him, she would look up at me as if to say, “What the hell are you doing sitting in my spot next to my man?”
I have to admit that I had a love / hate relationship with this cat. I am not the big animal lover in this house. When I agreed to adopt a cat from the local humane society I had a few rules. First of all, no kittens. We had to get a cat that was already litter box trained. Second, I was not in charge of changing the litter box. Third, I was not responsible for watering or feeding the animal. Fourth, I was not in charge of cleaning up barf – neither cat barf nor kid barf.
It was my plan that the cat’s demise would correspond with the last two kids going off to college. The average life expectancy of a house cat is 15 years after all. I did my homework.
Angel, however, had other plans. I started calling her “the cat who won’t die.” She became needy. A downright pest. After years of ignoring us, she now demanded attention. And lots of it.
DSH kept a lint brush by the back door so he could brush off his dark dress pants before leaving for work. She kept him company every morning as he made his lunch. She loved rubbing up along his legs especially when he wore dark blue or black slacks.
She got noisy. She never meowed and rarely purred. She yowled. Early in the morning. Every morning. The most she ever weighed was 6½ pounds, and she lost weight over the last several months. It is amazing how loud of a sound an itty bitty cat can make. I admit it. I yelled at her when she did this. It was so annoying.
And I turned into the cat lady. Yes, I posted more pictures of the cat this past year than I did of the kids. Because every night she would come into the family room and snuggle up next to DSH while we watched television. She would demand that he pet her by pushing her head under his hand. She would get into his face and snuggle into the crook of his legs.
She lived a long, happy life with our family. And, it turns out, I did help take care of her from time to time. I cleaned up after her, washed her bowls, and swept up the cat clay that she inevitably drug out of the cat box. I washed the rug under her cat box several times the past few weeks as she made it to the box, but not into the box. We carried her poor, weak, frail body back and forth between her favorite spot on the couch and to her soft bed that we made for her over the register in the laundry room. She loved sitting on the registers when the furnace was running.
This morning when DSH found her, as we expected, we placed her in the white Coach shoe box with the red velvet interior that I had saved for her. We went out before sunrise in the frigid weather and dug a hole in the frozen earth of one of our gardens to bury her.
My sister told me that she went out on her own terms perhaps in full realization that it was my birthday.
RIP Angel. We will miss you, you darn cat.