I have the coolest cats. I do. Cats have little ways of saying I love you, one of which is presents – and who doesn’t love presents? Most cats, they’ll bring you back a dead mouse or a vole. Lemon, that’s my youngest cat – he brought me a squirrel – NOT COOL. Luckily, I have had so many cool gifts over the years from the others, that I’m able to shove squirrelgate to the back of my mind.
I got Mali and Metz when I was 17 or thereabouts. I was only supposed to get one little kitty, but I got two – they were just so cute together, I couldn’t separate them. Mali had the softest fur and Metz – she had a tail that looked like it belonged to a raccoon. For eleven years they brought me home the most awesome presents. Pretty twigs with pinecones still attached, a packet of cigarette papers, a half-eaten mars bar, a marble (my favorite), and a hamster. Yes, really – a hamster. A live, unharmed hamster. Twice. What drives a cat to bring their owners live and unharmed rodents? If it’d been just one time, I would’ve put it down to lucky hamster, but twice? That’s not normal. I didn’t own a hamster – maybe they thought I’d like one? I dunno, but one of those hamsters had to live in a vase until we found someone to home him. (No one claimed him, y’see) He went to live with a friend who’s son was over the moon with his new pet!
Mali and Metz are super cool cats. If I tapped my shoulder, Metz would run up me and sit on my shoulder like a Queen – all without digging her claws in or hurting me. Seriously, some days I’d just be bending over doing something, or maybe hanging out the washing and suddenly, Metz was sitting on my shoulder or wrapping herself around my neck. She also played fetch. Her favorite toys were little plastic furry mice – in gray, preferably. Chuck that little mouse and she’s tear off after it and bring it back like the little champion she was. Mali was the laid back one. She was just happy to be curled up in her favorite spot.
Sadly, in 2008 – Metzy passed away. It was sudden, unexpected. She was fine one day, gone the next. For a year, Mali wasn’t the same. Actually – she was never really the same. But for a year, Mali didn’t leave the house, didn’t come out of her bed, really. She ate, she cuddled, but she just wasn’t right.
Eventually, she pulled herself out of her pit and carried on. Little trooper. For the next six years, Mali was a normally behaved cat again. She brought me home more presents. A dead frog at the end of my bed. A couple of unfortunate field mice. Several slow worms, which are not rope, by the way. So don’t go picking them up off the floor, thinking that they are. I can tell you from experience that although, when dead, they look like bits of shiny rope. They are not.
I think, by now, you can see where this post is going. This morning, I sat by Mali’s side and said goodbye. It was not unexpected – she was 17, pretty good going. Only last week she climbed into the back of the dishwasher to hunt for food scraps. Yesterday she ate steak and ham. Hard to believe this past summer she was running around the garden like a maniac. But there we go. She did well.
Grief is immeasurable, in my opinion. We grieve for people, we grieve for pets – because they are more than pets – they are part of our family. There every day to keep you company, love you unconditionally and just be the soft fuzzy friends we sometimes need. I miss her already. I still miss Metz. I’ll miss them always.
But Mali, that old girl, she’s with her sister now. Buried side by side, they’ll always have each other. They brought me so much joy, so many laughs and hey, some cool gifts.
Love you Mals.