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I miss my cat

The veterinarian’s office called tonight. Elli passed away at about 11:00 PM, August 14, 2008. Carol and I miss her very much.

Elli as a kitten
Elli as a kitten, taken with an ancient digital camera.

She was my first pet after I graduated from college. I adopted her from the Columbus, Ohio Humane Society as a kitten in the Spring of 2000. She lived with me there for about a year until Carol and I moved to Cleveland together in the Summer of 2001. The house we were renting was much larger than the two-bedroom apartment in Columbus, and Elli enjoyed exploring it. Once, she found a gap in the floorboards on the second floor and crawled around between the floor and the ceiling, coming out after much cajoling, covered in a black, sooty-like substance. With Carol at work, I managed to give her a bath by myself, suffering only a few scratches.

In 2003, we then drove across the country with her in a crate in the back seat, jammed between as much of our belongings we could stuff into a VW Passat. She didn’t especially enjoy the trip, but she didn’t complain too much and spent most of the time sleeping in the little litter box we had put in there with her. She didn’t use it as a litter box until the very last day of our trip. We moved into a two-bedroom apartment in Tacoma for a while we got our bearings and looked for a house to buy. The apartment was definitely a downgrade for Elli, but she made the best of it. She found a nice place to sleep while I worked from home on my computer: on top of my monitor. It was nice and warm, and she could keep an eye on me.

Elli on the Monitor
Elli on the computer monitor.

We bought a house in 2004, and it was a great place for Elli, with two floors, a big basement, and nice backyard. We found out that we could let her out on her own into the fenced-in yard, and she’d just wander a bit and nibble on some grass and then come to the door when she was ready to come back in. Often, she’d want to go right back out again. We got Freddie not long after moving into the house, and Elli was not very pleased about that. For many months, she was not as friendly with anyone, preferring to spend her time sleeping on our spare bed or by herself out in the yard. She eventually warmed up enough to Freddie to tolerate lying on the couch with all of us at night and even would lick him a bit when he’d come over to her with his head bowed, asking for some attention. I wish we could have stayed there for her, since I think the stress of the move was a main contributor to her stopping eating.

Elli and the Lamp
Elli doing her favorite thing, exploring our backyard.

I think the thing I will miss most about Elli is our nighttime routine. Every night, almost without fail, she would wait until I got into bed and then jump up beside me, wanting to be scratched. If I didn’t scratch her enough, she’d meow in complaint until I started again. Once she was satisfied, she’d lay down next to me for a while until she got up to go eat and do whatever a cat does at night. Going to bed tonight without her there really made it hit home that she was gone.

Another routine that Elli had was bring us one (or both) of her two toys: a small stuff-animal sort of thing and an old white sock. She’d stuff one of them in her mouth and meow the whole time she was carrying it. If we were watching TV on the couch, she’d bring one to us, drop in on the floor by the couch and jump up to get scratched. In the middle of the night, she’d bring it up to the bedroom, meowing the entire way. She’d drop it on the floor, jump on the bed, and curl up and go to sleep. Sometimes, if we’d been away for a few days on a trip, we’d find them near the back door, as if she was putting them there as an offering so we would come home.

Elli was a great cat. She wasn’t all that friendly to strangers, but she was very affectionate to Carol and I. She also was her own cat, doing her own thing when she wanted to do it, but that always included spending time with us. We will miss her greatly.

3 Comments

  1. Jim McLaughlin wrote:

    Elli was a wonderful cat. I am so sorry to learn of your loss.

    Thanks for writing about her and your relationship.

    Jim

    Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 8:27 pm | Permalink
  2. Wanda wrote:

    I had to put my cat to sleep yesterday. It is two in the morning and I am up crying and missing her. Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry for your loss.

    Friday, November 13, 2009 at 3:06 am | Permalink
  3. John wrote:

    I just stumbled upon this post after googling “I miss my cat” (ah, modern habits).

    My partner’s and my cat of just under 6 years died totally unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago. Not only was the incident itself traumatic . . . the vet suspects a previously undetected heart ailment, which caused his death almost instantly while we were home with him. But I miss him so much.

    His name was Percy, and he was a remarkable cat . . . and companion. Sounds a lot like Elli in temperament. We sued to describe him as skittishly defiant, as he was curious but unwaveringly suspicious of strangers, including close friends of ours; yet amazingly affectionate with the two of us. He got to travel cross-country as well, even to another country! We joked about making him a fake visa, since we had to get permission to move him with us.

    It is remarkable how these little creatures can change us. I’ve told friends since he died that I’m a better person because I had a cat. They all laugh, but I know it’s true. I imagine Percy knew it too.

    Thanks for your posting about your own experience.

    Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

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