This morning, for the first time in 25 years, I did not wake up to a cat wanting breakfast or attention. Instead, I woke up with little Lientje one last time tucked in next to me and with the awareness that my small, shy, heavy footed little tabby cat was not coming back.
Yesterday morning, in the usual madness of the morning rituals around here, she made an unusual grumpy meow. I picked her up and held for a minute and then off we went to get her breakfast, chase after the dogs and get ready to face the freezing cold and a day full of uncomfortable meetings.
When we came home last night, she wasn’t anywhere to be found. Until we looked next to the boys’ bed (the playpen that my brothers and I spent alot of time in) and there she was under the radiator, reaching out to the boys. She wasn’t very responsive. There was no other choice than to bundle her up and go to the 24 hour emergency room.
On the way, I held her close and all tucked into a blanket, talking to her the whole while. We were there for a few hours. When she was stabilizing, we were talking about what to do for her treatment. I had been talking to and touching her under the warming lamp and her body was responding at least. Then suddenly she made a big movement with her hind foot scratching at her head and her ear, with a little meow and then she was gone.
I want to hold the image in my head of my Oma and Opa standing with my Mom and Raven, surrounded by Ninja, Mikha, the bunnies and Moortje waiting for Lientje. Tales twitching and warm laps and lots of love.
It’s going to be hard to get used to the idea that I won’t hear the sound of a small cat wearing NBA player sized basketball shoes walking through the house. That there won’t be someone sitting next to my desk, staring at the computer screen and trying to walk over the keyboard when she wants attention. When I take powernaps, there will only be two now who look for space to snooze with.
My mom gave me a magnet once with a tabby cat on it that said “A cat is such a nice thing to come home to”. Coming home today after walking the boys, I realized just how much of a missing thing that is, there’s no cat waiting for us.
Goodbye, my little tabby. Thank you for the years of love that you brought into all of the places that we lived.