Let me tell you a story. Imagine me, eleven years ago. I’m pretty much the same, but sans kid, and like twenty pounds lighter. Picture me at a humane society peering into each crate that contains a cat. I coo at them and tell them they are handsome or lovely, and read their little papers affixed to their cages. Max: eight years old. Owner moved into apartment who won’t accept pets.
Jasper: four years old. New baby so they didn’t have time for him
Cleo: ten months old. found abandoned in a residence.
Jake: Around six months old. Owner surrendered due to too many cats.
I walked around and around to each one, waiting to see which one felt like they were the right fit. I kept coming back to Jake. He was a thin little grey and white tabby, whose eye had a raging infection. He looked at me with his one good eye and purred. I knew he belonged with me. I pointed him out to my boyfriend at the time, and said, “This one is the one. I love him.” While he was initially resistant to getting a cat that was very obviously sick, he finally acquiesced, and I left holding Jake in a cardboard carrier.
As soon as we got home, I took him out of his carrier. He walked two steps then flopped over on his back as if to say he wanted a belly rub. Hesitant, because the other cat we had was a semi-feral terror (whom, I adored by the way), I reached out my hand, and was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t pull it away covered in scratches and blood. Soon enough, Jake’s eye infection was taken care of, and he was renamed Smudge. He was cuddly and sweet, and soon became my very best pet friend. And the rest, some people would say, is history.
But history in itself is not just that. Smudge saw me through some of the hardest times in my life. Deaths, job losses, postpartum depression, and now this divorce, are just a few of the things he has been with me for. He offered constant love and companionship and only asked for some kibble and pets in return….. and the occasional toy mouse.
About a week ago, he started acting off. He wouldn’t even eat any of his favorites, and he was being grouchy and not himself. I took him to the vet, and they had to squeeze him in between appointments, and would call me when they knew anything. They called while I was at Lowe’s children work shop with Logan. The vet said that she regretted to inform me that they thought he had an obstruction and would most likely need immediate emergency surgery to save his life. I asked how much it was, and she said around three thousand dollars. I walked away from the kiddo and the boyfriend hammering some sort of Marvel Avenger toy and burst into tears in the loading dock parking lot. I told her I had about half that and even then that was all I had managed to save since my divorce left me with bad credit in a gigantic financial hole. I called to see if I could get a loan and was turned down. Finally my friend said he would lend me the rest of the money if I needed it. Luckily, I didn’t need it. And while the emergency vet did cost more than anticipated, Smudge was finally sent home with lots of meds and fluids and around the clock care.
I know some people might think that I am crazy, and that it is just a cat. And he is a cat, but I can’t even begin to explain how “just a cat” rescued me in my very very darkest times. I have lost a lot of things recently. Some things I let go willingly, others were more difficult to lose. This was one thing that I refused to lose. My pets are part of my family, and I will do everything and anything for them, it is the promise I made them when I adopted them, and I intend to keep it…..Even if it means keeping them in a separate room for a week, and measuring his food and digging through his litter box. 🙂