Jared already had Meeko when I met him, and his obvious love of her was one of the things I immediately dug about him. It took a long time before I ranked anywhere near him in her eyes — I could be petting her, feeding her treats, but if he got up and walked away, she’d jump off my lap and trot on after him. Nothing personal, I know, he was just her world.
Little by little, she came to love me — not as much as Jared, of course, but I think I became a very close second. In the last few years, after he started traveling more for work, she started falling asleep over on my side of the bed. A purring cat is better than a warm glass of milk when it comes to facilitating relaxation and sleep, let me tell you.
In addition to loving those of us who fed her and scooped her poop, she also loved sunbeams, balls of paper, chewing on plastic bags, running water, and curling up on available laps.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might remember that we almost lost Meeko a year ago. Her kidneys were failing, which is pretty common in older cats, and she was having some crazy thyroid problems. We got her stabilized (although she continued needing a pill twice a day and fluids injected a couple of times a week), and, well, we got an extra year. We knew it was borrowed time, but that doesn’t make it much easier when you see the end coming.
We spent her last morning petting her, feeding her tuna, and memorizing her sweet little face. She died very peacefully in the arms of the person she loved most in the world. For that, I’m thankful. I’m also a little surprised at the different ways she made herself part of my day, and all the ways I’m missing her.
I knew it would be weird to work without having her lay on my desk, batting pens off the side and drinking out of my water glass. I assumed it would make me sad to look over at where her cat tree and litter box were. I didn’t realize I’d tear up every time I went into the bathroom and didn’t have to wait for her, or how I’d turn the sink faucet on — just a trickle — for her to drink and then realize she wasn’t there.
She was pretty talkative, too, and every time I hear a strange noise, I look around to see what she needs. The kitchen is sad because she’s not standing in the middle of it, staring at us and willing us to give her food or a new water bowl or attention or who even knows what she wanted. When I let the dogs out in the back yard, I realized I could leave the door to the screened-in back porch (which we got for Meeko) open, because we didn’t have to worry about her getting outside.
The first night I slept in our bed without her, I kept thinking I felt her jump up on the bed. Jared found himself being careful when he moved so as not to kick her.
The dogs know something is up — I don’t know that they really realize she’s gone, or, if they do, if they, like, miss her, but they definitely had their own little dynamic. Mainly, Meeko was in charge. They could come up and sniff her, and even put their noses right on her, as long as she wasn’t looking at them. If they approached her head on, forget about it — she’d let them know who was boss and encourage them to find another route. They always listened.
This is going to take some time to get used to. And even though it hurts, I’d rather have the pain that goes along with the memories than forget about her easily. She was just a tiny little thing, but the hole she left behind is bigger than I can explain.