Around this time last year, my sister came to me one day and told me that our furbaby passed away.
“Why didn’t he tell me?” I had asked her.
She shrugged. “Well, you guys aren’t married anymore,” she’d said.
That one little caveat that means we don’t have to communicate with each other anymore.
“But if you want to get more details, you can ask your niece.”
I grieved for a few days, thinking about her off and on, while looking through the photo album on my phone at all the pics I had taken of our furkid.
I didn’t want any further details.
Or so I’d thought.
The next day, I went to your FB page, still a little “butthurt” (as you like to say) that I didn’t hear about it from you. Maybe you thought I wouldn’t care, based on my response when you initially asked me to take her last year. Maybe you thought I wouldn’t care to hear from you, seeing as how I’d “given up” (your words, not mine) on a twelve-year marriage.
While you seem to think that “out of your 18+ years of life, the last 4 months were your best,” I beg to differ. Do I think she had a good life? Yes. Do I think it was her best? No.
Emotionally, I hope that her last few months with your former co-worker were good. She was out from under the tension in our household. Out from under two humans who were frustrated with each other and taking it out on her.
The constant meowing.
The lack of eating.
The vomiting every week.
Using the whole apartment as a litter box.
It was all a cry for help but we weren’t doing anything. She was old, sick, and we were no doubt making it worse by yelling at her and pushing her away (sometimes literally).
I feel extremely guilty about that.
I felt like we could’ve done more to keep her healthy, but you didn’t want to hear it.
Do you feel guilty about that?
“It’s so expensive,” you would say about the few times we took her to the vet.
Funny how you would complain about a $300 vet bill and not blink an eye about spending that much on alcohol.
Yes, like humans, animal care can get expensive.
Because they’re just like us.
They go blind.
They get allergies.
They get cancer.
They get UTI’s.
They need to get their teeth cleaned.
They need to get their nails clipped.
They need to get shots.
They get broken bones.
They get arthritis in their limbs.
When they get sick, they require medication.
Sometimes they need surgery.
They may even require a form of birth control.
Because they’re just. Like. Us.
“Seems like every time we take her in, they find something else,” you complained.
Yeah, shit like that happens when you don’t take them to the vet on a regular basis.
It’s called preventative maintenance.
Something you don't believe in, not even for yourself. Must be a male species thing.
I should’ve defied you and taken her anyway. I mean, it’s not like you were used to being a cat owner anyway.
In the end, the damage had been done.
She shouldn’t have been ours. She should’ve moved back to Springfield with your grandmother.
Because by the time I left, it was like taking care of my last living relative. Without any help.
I was the one cleaning up the vomit.
I was the one cleaning up the shit in the closet. Or under the kitchen table. Or near the bed.
And you were off doing who knows what, only to come home just in time for you to go to bed.
I started to resent it.
I started to resent you.
And I was verbally taking it out on her.
At some point, I’ll forgive myself for treating her that way because that’s not me.
As a long-time cat lover, that’s not who I am.
But I was done, and I was ready for you to take over and get a little taste of what I was dealing with.
We weren’t the greatest pawrents to her and our care of her was proof of that. And so, to our sweet little furbaby, I want to say this:
During your years with us, I hope you felt loved.
Because you were.
I hope you felt the joy you gave us.
Because you did.
I hope you forgive us for not taking better care of your needs. It was not our finest moment as human pawrents and I apologize for the both of us.
I hope that your adoptive pawrent was kind to you, loved you, and did everything possible to make your transition easy.
I hope that the last four months of your life were the best, like your Daddy said.
I hope your passing was peaceful and free of pain.
Out of all the tabby cats I had as furbabies, you really were the best of them.
You will be missed.
May the rest of your days be filled with catnip-covered mice toys and endless rambling adventures in the sun.
I love you, Mamas.
Rest in peace.
Black goddess musings on life and becoming a sustainably-conscious human being.