19 years is a long time.
In 19 years you can get married and raise kids to be young adults.
In 19 years you Can be conceived, born, and finish public schooling.
In 19 years You can find a best friend and experience a lifetime with them, and that’s what happened to me.
Two days ago I said goodbye to Daisy, my Cat who was that best friend for 19 years.
When I was younger and in my first serious relationship as an adult, my partner was missing her cat from home, and she wanted to go to the local humane society to visit the kitties. Truth be told, I didn’t want to go, I was NOT a cat person, my family had always owned dogs, I loved our dogs, so obviously I was a dog person, not a cat person.
That all changed when we went down and I saw my Daisy. She was out of her kennel for playtime, because she only had certain cats she could be put out with – She’d beat the hell out of weaker cats. A pure white cat with emerald green eyes was actually something I had never seen before, so I walked over to say hello and giver her a pet if she’d let me. She accepted and was even affectionate, which according to the staff there was very strange, She usually just ignored most people unless they had food – something I understand all too well honestly. for our entire visit, she followed me around the room – crawling on my shoulders and back. To say the volunteers were surprised was an understatement. By the end of our visit, I had made my mind up that I wanted to adopt her. So much for being a dog person. Adoption from the humane society actually requires a few things here; Obviously an adoption fee, but you needed to answer a two or three-page questionnaire, AND have references. I got lucky on all accounts as I had a close friend whose mom worked for a neighbouring town’s humane society, and on the strength of her reference, I was able to take Daisy home with me less than two days later.
Our first few years were spent with that serious relationship in two different cities, I learned very quickly that Daisy was two things: 1 – not like other cats at all, and 2 that she was my child and I would do anything to protect her, keep her safe, and keep her with me… these lessons were in part thanks to Daisy’s “aggressive” training methods for her human.
The relationship ended thanks to abuse, and other things I have talked about at length – and won’t revisit. However when I moved home I had nowhere to go but my parents place – broke, an alcoholic and unsure of what to do. Daisy had to stay with my now ex for a month at our apartment a province away until the rent ran out and I could get something together for her and I. We agreed I would take her because I could “afford her” and she might be sent to the humane society if I couldn’t take her. I vowed this wouldn’t happen ever – so I made deals, scrimped, saved, and hustled to make sure I had a place for Daisy and I, she couldn’t come to mom and dad’s because they had a dog.
I want to relate a story about the next few years of my life with her because it’s only one of a thousand that I have, but one of the few that really means more than I can put into words.
After that failed relationship – I fell into a deep depression, my rebound relationship ended just as poorly – a fight to end all fights with my pregnant ex – her using our child as ammunition against me, and I sank further into my alcoholism as I slipped quietly out of her life. One night, in particular, I went out to the bar I used to work at and got so shit-faced drunk I barely remember getting home. I got in, and usually I fed Daisy her soft food, and we curled up in bed together. That night for whatever reason I decided to pass out on my kitchen floor and NOT feed her. The last thing I remember is her crouching next to me, and softly headbutting me as I passed out. about 9 hours later when i came to the first thing I saw was my Daisy laying right next to my face and watching me. I am pretty sure (or choose to believe) that she didn’t leave my side, even though I was a drunk bastard who couldn’t even take care of her properly. This continued a few more times, but eventually I Sobered up, and while still clinically depressed, I was doing better, through all of this, she was my constant companion, even when I pushed others away and “hermiting” in my house for years (yes years), she was there providing a smile, a laugh or just a tiny furry presence to keep me company while I was gaming.
Eventually, We reconnected with Dot and most know how that has gone – there was some jealousy at first, but Daisy accepted her and even began to show her affection.
In those years together leading up to us combining houses, I must admit I took Daisy for granted. She was always there, and I ignored the lost teeth from age, I ignored the longer and longer naps, and finally the lack of her ability to clean some harder to reach spots. She had been with me a long time and I knew she was getting older – but she’d be around for a long time yet, right?
FInally Dot and I bought a house, and with the new house, came the “joy” of introducing Daisy to the Boys – you see at the time Dot had 4 cats – so Zeus, Einstien, Darwin, and Skitz, got to meet the grumpy old lady. Truth be told during that first week together in the house, I realized how Old my little girl had gotten. She used to be as big as, if not slightly bigger than Zeus and Skitz, and now although still full of the fire and brimstone of her younger years, she lacked the size of previous years to back up the “yelling”.
Still, nightly, even in a king size bed – Daisy slept with me (and Dot) between our head, she affectionately became known to us as “Jesus Cat” – Remember the old Sayings at School Dances? “Leave space for Jesus while dancing”? Daisy was our Cat equivalent for sleeping. She gave absolutely zero fucks in her old age, she was there and that was that. Want sexy time? She ain’t moving, so get used to it. Lol
By this point also My little girl had no teeth left, so she was strictly on soft food which Dot and I would feed her 3 times a day. Life continued.
Until this Past Saturday.
I won’t go into details, but I will say her health started deteriorating rapidly, and I had to make a choice. After a talk with Dot – I made the call to a local vet with the decision that it was time to help my little girl move on. (truth be told I detest the rainbow bridge analogy people use, but to each thier own).
My last night with Daisy was spent Cuddling on the couch crying with her and when she wobbled off to try and drink or eat, sitting on the floor with her and holding her up because she simply didn’t have the strength to do so on her own. She was so Light, and I could feel every rib, and her little heart beating against my palm.
When the fuck did that happen? I thought. Just the other day I brought her home from the humane society and she promptly curled up and slept. Wasn’t it just last week I picked her up from the ex? It seemed like no time at all had passed. She wasn’t old, I was holding on for a miracle. But why the fuck couldn’t I stop crying? Just because she had never laid on my chest in my arms before, didn’t really mean I was saying goodbye to my little girl did it?
I said goodbye to my little girl on the first day of spring, in a quiet room, with My mom and Dot present. I asked them politely to leave while I was still crying, I wasn’t ready to leave her. Even though she was already gone, I kissed her head one last time, touched her nose and told her what a good girl she had been – and then left her there.
She will be coming back to me in about two weeks time. I chose a lovely Ceramic urn for her – because I will ALWAYS take her with us where ever I go from here.
Today is a better day than yesterday, and I’m not OK, but I will be.
19 years isn’t a long time.
19 years is enough to live seconds with the ones you love.
19 years is enough to truly realize what you have.
19 years is long enough to find a best friend, a lover, and a family, but is it ever long enough to show them how much they mean to you?
Goodbye Little Girl, thank you for taking care of me when I couldn’t even take care of myself. I’ll never be able to repay you, but I can remember you.