Wednesday will be a day that I wish I could skip. Tonight, as I returned home, I found our oldest pet, our cat, Abby, dead in the street.It looked like she got hit by a car while crossing the street, walking toward our house. At first, I thought it was one of our other cats, Grace. I didn't get too close to look when I pulled over to check. Grace can look about the same in the dark, plus somehow it would make more sense that Grace would be hit by a car than Abby. You'd have to know the cats to know what I mean.So I proceeded to dig a large hole in the back yard.This incident wasn't the kind of thing you let kids see, nor was I going to leave her out in the street overnight. While in the back yard, Grace popped out of nowhere, in what I would describe as a panic for her (which is saying a lot, since she panics when you look at her). At first, I was relieved. Then, I was not. Abby. The cat we got when our daughter was a young toddler. The cat that missionaries used to torment. The cat that had nasty worms when we got her, and the same cat that would hump shoes before we got her fixed. The cat that our daughter has known since as far back as she can remember.I went and checked, and it was her. She was barely gone. It must have happened only minutes before I came home. I buried her in the hole. While I was there handling the burial our third cat, Boo, sat ominously on a large transformer near the area. Boo is a peculiar cat, a Bombay cat with jet black fur and eerie eyes. Somehow, I know the cats, and even the dog, knew. They were all spooked, except for Boo, who was there as if for support. As I finished up, I thought about Abby in silence.We got her from my cousin. They had a litter of cats at their place, and we were suckers. I always thought that Abby was close to abnoxious, a play on obnoxious. She's been a little poo since we got her. Abby was the queen of the house. She didn't take well to Grace when we got her, and definitely didn't like Boo. She tolerated the dogs we've had, with the occasional scrap.Abby used to rub up against men's dress shoes when she was in heat before we got her fixed. The missionaries would tie a short piece of rope to the ceiling fan and let her try to catch it. She got it a couple times, only to get flung across the room. We'd waste countless hours watching her try to catch the red dot from a laser pointer.These last few years, she's been constantly ticking us off. She'd jump up on us, and get in our personal space. After pushing her away, she'd come back a few seconds later, and we'd repeat the cycle over and over again many times. She was stubborn as hell. She would catch small toys, stuffed animals, and gloves during the night and meow over and over again until she gave up or we gave in and acknowledged her gift.She'd sit on the edge of the tub, either enjoying the space between the shower curtains, or watching someone take a bath. You could get her worked up and ready to fight simply by placing your hand near her head. Abby was always present in your space, and would rarely be away for long. Lately, she's been thin from not getting enough food. I found her competing with the other cats and a coupe neighbor dogs who would steal their food. In fact, tonight was the first night I fed all three cats in the back yard with separate bowls, ensuring each got something to eat.In all, Abby was a good cat. Sure, she made us mad at times, and would defend herself when our son gets rough with her, but we didn't have many real problems with her - just annoyances.Today, we get to break the news to our daughter. She'll notice the cat is missing anyway, and La and I think its best that she knows. When I was a little older than her, my cat Fizzgig got run over. I remember what that was like. In retrospect, I only remember the fond times with Fizzgig. He was a bit of a butt, too. But I think our daughter will handle it decently. Even still, I hate to break this news to her.I don't look forward to La and I having to approach this tomorrow. La is already upset by this, and I'm angry. As an adult, I know this is inevitable. I've had many pets die in my lifetime. So has our daughter, when her hamster died well over a year ago. But pets are part of the family, especially cats and dogs, and losing a member of the family is NEVER easy. I wish I could skip it, but feel it must be done. Poor little girl, having to know that she'll never see her kitty again.I'm sorry for what happened to you, Abby. That's an unfair way to die. We will always remember and miss you. Goodbye, girl.
I wrote this on an older blog, on November 21st, 2006.
For context, I had just separated from my now ex-wife (the "La" person I refer to in the post) but hadn't publicly acknowledged it. I came home one day and she had moved out, waiting for me to come home to talk about it. This happened only a few days later. It was devastating, but not just because a pet died, it was because I had to deal with the grief of the moment without the person I relied on the most to be there with me.
I read this now and I find that I still miss Abby, the cat that died that day. For many years I felt her presence regularly, but I haven't noticed it in some time now. This was the first pet death I had to deal with in some time, and it left its mark. Strangely, I don't connect with animals that much, so to have felt that loss so strongly was unexpected.
Here's what I wrote over 11 years ago: