Wednesday, November 14, 2012


She took my breath away 11 years ago. That's when I first laid eyes on her.

She was a Norwegian Forest Cat, something of a rarity in this country and full of the mystery that her Scandinavian breeding implied, and I had wanted one for a while. I just liked the idea of having a Wegie — long-haired, long-tailed, long-named. Perfect.

Mosey takes a moment for herself after a busy day of being a faithful friend.
And from that point on, what a journey it was. She knew her name, Mosey, within the first two weeks, and she would appear, almost without fail, when summoned. Smart. A conniver. She would set ambushes on Do-Little, her gullible Ragdoll housemate, and they'd play together. And eat together. And sleep together.

She didn't meow. She chirped, like a tribble. Tribbles don't really exist, of course; a figment from Star Trek. But Mosey was real, and she chirped. Constantly. She found her voice and used it to melt — what, hearts? Bad karma? Bad vibes?

In the curious translucent integration of species, we became fast friends. She was self-sufficient and yet totally dependent on her humans. But steadfastly loyal. And get this: I somehow became dependent on her and I don't know how that happened.

Do pets know how to love? Perhaps they don't and we only want them to, because only then it seems as if they can love us without qualification, and subsequently we are somehow better for it. We somehow feel a safer warmth ourselves.

This morning, Mosey took my breath away once more. She'd been in decline as a result of renal failure. We discovered two years ago that one of her kidneys had atrophied and the other was under stress. So we managed her health through diet and hopefully we bought her some quality time. I think we did.

Still, inevitability lurked. There was the heart murmur; the constant congestion; the bad kidney that may have been the root cause of her slide; the unstoppable weight loss in the last month.

So when I saw her sitting still this morning, not chirping, not interested in food, not interested in me for the first time in 11 years, my breath rushed out of my lungs, with a groan, to where I couldn't catch my breath, and I knew it was time. Sometimes you don't know. Sometimes you want to hang on a little longer. But I couldn't do that to my friend. I asked my wife, Kim, how she felt, and she tearfully concurred.

So we went to the vet one last time, stroked her fur and said our farewell. And then she was gone.

I'm still trying to catch my breath, of course. I thought with another cat in the house that the grief wouldn't be so difficult to bear, and yet, I'm surprised to find an emptiness that lingers, like an unanswerable question, in those familiar places.

Places where Mosey took my breath away.

1 comment:

  1. Had a cat named Salem a few years back. Just a foundling, but the only other male in my house with three women at the time. He liked to curl up on my lap and watch the golf channel and sleep at the foot of my bed. He was an indoor-outdoor kind of guy, but came in every night. Then one day I found him huddled up in the basement looking dishelved. Renal failure. The vet said we might could buy a week or two, but probably less. I held him as the vet gave the shot that put him out of his misery and on to the heavy side layer. Me, big old former linebacker, veteran of the Army, cried like a girl. He is at rest now under the picnic table in our backyard. The same one he used to sleep on when he was outside. Know how you feel. Sorry for your loss.