It’s been almost two months now since he died. My friend. My baby boy. My cat. Tommy. He was seventeen years old.
I remember when my dad brought him home, in 1998. He was not much bigger than his hand. Big ears, big paws, big whiskers, and a puffy tail that was longer than his entire body. He looked funny when he was a kitten. But, funny enough, somehow the ears, paws and tail remained the same while he grew up to be a very handsome tomcat. His mother was a Persian cat with a pedigree and his father an alley cat. I guess one could say he was the result of the love between a lady and a tramp.
He wasn’t always cute and cuddly and nice. I remember when he used to pee on my course notes when I was in college, when I left them unattended on my desk. I guess I learned to be organized and not to leave my stuff around. He did that because he didn’t receive that much attention from me anymore and I guess he was feeling neglected or jealous, and he wanted to attract my attention. Or when he used to pee on my shoes, for the same reason, I think. Or when he peed on one of my bookshelves and it took a ton of detergent to get the smell out from that wood… Needless to say, everything had to go…
Back then, I remember being really angry… Now the only thing these memories provoke is a smile… and regret.
I also remember the times when he came to me when I was lying down, wanting to be close to me, wanting for me to pet him and caress him, and kiss him… he used to do that a lot in his last two or three years. I guess he needed more affection as he got older. That’s why it’s harder when I go to sleep, because he used to do this every night… For a few weeks I was crying every time I went to bed and turned off the lights. Anyone who says cats are cold and lack affection never had a cat in their life. Or never really cared for one.
In his last year, he was getting weaker by the month, becoming more and more a shadow of his former self. In the end, there was nothing more anyone could do. We decided not to let him die in a clinic, but in his home, surrounded by the people who loved him and whom he loved. I stayed with him until the very end, caressing his little head, trying to comfort him as much as I could, trying to make him feel safe.
I keep expecting for him to appear and look at me and meow, trying to tell me something, like he’s hungry, or that he finished his business at the litter box. I keep expecting to see him sleeping on the couch or eating. Or peeing. Every time I come home I keep expecting to see him greeting me with a meow. I guess I’ll just have to except the fact that I will never see him again. I don’t think that’s going to happen very soon. Everything around the house reminds me of him, because he used to go anywhere. He used to be everywhere.
But what could I possibly say that would do him justice, that would fully express my love for him and how much I truly miss him? The real, honest answer is “nothing.” However, I felt like I must write this. I had to express these thoughts and feelings and this is the best way I knew how. Or the only way I could.
And I write these words in a language that is not my own as if this way I could distance myself from the pain. I can’t. They’re just as painful to write as if I would write them in my native language.
I can only hope he felt happy with us and that he forgave me for everything bad I’ve done to him, no matter how big or small that thing was in his eyes.
Goodbye, my dear Tommy. I hope I’ll see you again someday.