Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Gentleman's Personal Cat

My mom is an empty nester. My moving to college came as quite a shock to her, and even though my sister was still finishing high school at the time and thus living at home, she made the decision to adopt some new members into our until recently petless home.

There were a few false starts. There was a dog with a penchant for biting, and a cat who didn't know how to use litter (and was never going to learn). But it didn't take long for my mom to find a breeder who was practically giving away two Siamese kittens. I came home from school for Thanksgiving and Molly put one in my arms. I think my brain shut down from cuteness.

We named them Bertie and Jeeves, from P.G. Wodehouse's short stories of a 20's fop and his valet. Bertie was clearly the more delicate of the two, being slight and preferring to cross his paws just so and faff about in boas. Jeeves was physically larger, more stern and reserved. He would have a look about him of scrutiny and judgment, but in reality he purred and frolicked in sunbeams just like every other cat.

Everything they did was about love. They both loved food, and their dinner call became the "We are Siamese" song from Lady and the Tramp (it had to be, otherwise we'd just be singing that song all day). They loved getting pets and would prostrate themselves in front of complete strangers, demanding them. They were never far away from either of my parents, Jeeves had especially taken to my father, and was always trying to snuggle up against him, no matter if he was in the middle of something or not. They loved chicken and Jeeves would put out a paw, almost as if he were going to snatch some right out of my mother's hand as she made it for dinner. They were brothers, and so loved each other.

Their lives were happy and calm, playing and napping together in the sun, living what must have been a state close to bliss. So it was a severe shock to all of us when Jeeves passed away in the early hours on Monday, of extensive intestinal cancer. He was seven.

When my mother called to tell me this heartbreaking news, she told me that they had had to put Jeeves "to sleep" that morning. I know this is the normal terminology, and I know exactly what the euphemism means, but my first wild thought was "well, go wake him up!"

Of course, after a while, it started to sink in. It was hard realizing that I hadn't gotten to say goodbye to one of my first cat friends. He had basically been sick for a total of three days, which was a blessing and honestly, the way I would rather go. But I never once imagined that he would be gone by the time I was able to get back to my parents home. It is only now that I truly realize that he won't be coming back. I can't even remember the very last time I saw him and I think that's what hurts the most.

I found this picture of him I took with my phone a while ago. It's him and his favorite pastime, cuddles with my mother.

Love you, Jeevie.

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