This blog centers on writing, but sometimes life rips us away from work and books and words. Yesterday, I brought my cat Griffin (he's the tabby in the middle) to the vet and left fifteen minutes later with an empty cage. Now, I know some folks out there will think, “So what? It was a cat. Is this worth blogging over?”
In return, I’d ask this question: “How many friendships have you had that lasted for seventeen years?” That’s how long Griffin and I have been together. My longest human friendship is going to be twenty-years-old next year and I think that’s pretty amazing, but I’ve also made dozens of friends that I have grown apart from for one reason or another. Griffin saw sides of me that no friend has ever seen and no matter how dumb or self-centered or clumsy I was, he loved me just the same.
The things that will always set him apart from my other friends are:
- His ability to comfort me by settling his body next to mine and nuzzling my face with his cool, pink nose
- The way I could never spray a helping of Reddi-Wip onto a piece of pie or a bowl of Jell-o without him expecting a healthy dollop to be squirted onto the open dishwasher door for him
- How crazy he went over warm pieces of brisket or chicken. These were the only two foods that would make him sit by the table and beg like a dog
- He got stoned on catnip. I mean, seriously stoned. I’d get him a catnip mouse and after five minutes of rolling on top of the thing, he’d wobble off to the sofa like a drunk on a binge and then, if he could actually jump up on the couch, sit there glassy-eyed and chilled out.
- His ability to stretch his body out into a long line of legs and fur – just tempting me to stroke his tummy feathers (that’s what I called them). If I did, he’d do his damnedest to bite me as punishment for disturbing his yoga pose.
- The way he’d “make biscuits” on my favorite sweater (I wouldn’t notice the pulls and minute holes until I was out to dinner and suddenly my white bra was all-too-visible through my black sweater)
- His fussiness over his water source. This cat was the Fuji bottled water drinker of the feline world. He preferred his water to come directly from a running tap and if he had to drink from a stagnant source, he’d use his own bathroom glass, thank you. I don’t think my husband will ever get over this little quirk. The word “spoiled” came forth from his clenched lips on more than one occasion when he was brushing his teeth and found cat hair floating in his bathroom glass. Oops.
- He loved to play in paper bags and shred tissue paper. Christmas time was when he reverted to kitten-hood. You’ve never seen a cat shred piece of paper decorated with jolly Santas or the word PEACE so violently. I had to draw the line when he began decimating a paper Jesus on a greeting card that had the misfortune of being attached to a piece of tissue paper…
- He purred. Yeah, it’s a common sound to all cats, but to me, it was music.
Griffin purred until his heart stopped. That’s the kind of friend he was – comforting and loving me with his last breath. I kissed his head and then left him. My house feels much emptier now.
So thank you for allowing me this tribute on a blog about writing. And if you feel like it, please share with me that name of a special animal friend you’ve loved and lost. Share one of their quirks or one of the things they did to light your face with a smile. Let’s fill cyberspace with a little memorial for them in honor of my old friend.