I had my Spirit for far too short a time. I adopted him from a shelter in 2001. He was quite the scamp. He had a huge personality and loved to rub up against people and try to herd me to his bowl. I could never leave a glass of water sitting around as he would drink out of it. Too many times, I found that he'd knocked over a glass of water on my keyboard or papers. My fault for leaving it out. He purred a lot and was happy to snuggle. He had his favorite spots, including a black cat pillow from IKEA that looked exactly like him. Once, I tried to pick the pillow up to move it, not realizing that he was laying on it and I'd actually picked HIM up! I could never keep plants or flowers in the house as he was always going after their water. He also LOVED licking plastic bags. He woke me up more than once with mad, loud licking on some shopping bag or other that I'd accidentally left out. Crazy little guy.|
Spirit had the most gorgeous silky soft black fur, which was almost deep brown in certain light. I think he was actually a black Himalayan. His yellow green eyes were stunning. I used to love to play pranks on him by getting out his carrier, letting him jump in it (oh how he LOVED to do that!) and carrying him around the house in it, pretending we were going on a trip. You could never reach in to pet him while he was in that carrier, as he would playfully nip you. Last spring, I let him out in the backyard on a gorgeous spring day and he reveled in rolling around in the leaves left over from the prior fall. He was so funny! I loved him so much, there was so much personality bundled up in that little animal. He really worked his way into my heart. I resisted it at first, as he was adopted while I was grieving for another cat who had passed. But Spirit had his own way.
He was so funny, one time he ripped into a ziploc bag containing catnip and spilled it all over my printer. Like a junkie, he kept returning to the scene of the crime to get more, then rolled around on the carpet, in heaven. Once, I got a box of books in the mail, and the minute I put the empty box down, he leaped in to the box, settling in. The box just barely contained him. What a character. He was not only loveable but really smart as well.
He started looking sick last week, and had a really bad smell. I didn't realize what it was. He'd been laying with the other cat, and I thought maybe he got into something. He kept trying to drink out of a vase I had with lilacs in it. I didn't want him drinking that, as it might have made him sick, so I kept taking it away. He had a full bowl of water after all. He seemed ok for a few days, then the smell came back. Friday night I noticed that he hadn't eaten. He was always a very hearty eater. His nose seemed dry. I took him into the bed with me and snuggled him all night.
The next morning, I put him in his carrier to go to the vet. He tried to put up a struggle, but was too weak to really fight the carrier. When I got there, the vet said that he was very sick and that he was really dehydrated. No wonder he wanted to drink out of the vase! How could I have not realized what was going on! But Spirit was so young, it never occurred to me that I wouldn't have years more with him. The vet said he'd see what he could do but when cats had that particular smell, it was a pretty certain indicator of kidney disease. I was in shock. How could I have not known he was sick! I spent so much time with him every day and loved him so much. When I called the next day, I knew the vet was trying to prepare me, but he said he was going to do whatever he could, and that the test results would be back the next day. He was hydrating Spirit.
I called the next day, Monday May 16, the vet said he had bad news. I expected him to say that Spirit was sick and he would need care. I would have done anything to keep Spirit healthy, so I was fine with this. But instead he said that Spirit was gone. I couldn't believe this! I asked if he was kidding? No, of course not, he said. I know he wouldn't kid but how could my Spirit be gone so suddenly? It was such a shock. I have been grieving ever since. My heart is broken! The vet was really great. He said that Spirit's kidneys had been functioning at less than 10% of their capacity when I brought him in. He said that they didn't expect this to happen and that Spirit also broke his heart. Spirit had a stroke, they thought, but they weren't sure. I feel so guilty now that I didn't realize he was so sick, and I wouldn't let him drink out of the lilac vase. One night recently, he'd been trying to get at it as it sat on a table behind the bed, and he knocked it over sending water and lilacs to the floor. I put him out of the room after that. How could I have not known what was happening.
Everywhere I look I remember Spirit and his playfulness. I know we had ten great years together, ten years of happiness, love, hugs and purrs, but I want more. I was not ready to lose him. I just can't believe he's gone!
While I am recalling the many happy times with Spirit, the laughter and joy as well as comfort he brought me, how I long to bury my face in his silky fur and hear his contented purring just one more time. Some happy memories:
My Spirit could be such a pest. Why do they say cats are aloof? Never this one. I used to call him that sometimes, "pest", in a loving way of course. He loved to wind around my legs in the morning, or any time, but especially when I was trying to get ready and didn't always have time to pet him as much as he desired. Sometimes, I'd be heating up the flatiron for my hair and he always had to walk over to it and try to wind around it! I worried that he would get burned, and kept trying to move him and convince him that there was something more interesting somewhere else, but he wasn't having any of it. The way he would pester me for attention when I was blowdrying my hair, insisting that I brush his gorgeous fur instead! He would purr with contentment when I did that. Whether it was just spending time together, snuggling, petting him as he purred and groomed himself, smiling at his crazy antics with catnip or just the way he would sprawl out on a favorite chair - claiming it as his own the instant I left it - the way he would lounge on the bed, swatting me with his paw as I passed, trying to get my attention, then look all innocent when I looked back to see what had bumped me, how he would ALWAYS just have to sprawl out in the clean laundry... wasn't there somewhere ELSE you could lay, I'd ask him?
I have so many memories of Spirit.
Spirit was strictly an indoor cat, but sometimes I would allow him out in the backyard to spend time with me as long as I could keep an eye on him. I caught him more than once daintily stepping onto the pool ladder in the deep end and drinking pool water! When he was caught, he just sauntered off with a look of, "what?!" I caught him sunning himself on the diving board, such a cool cat.
For some people, including me, an animal can be closer than any human could ever be. I think it's because they always need us so, and are like babies in a way, but give unconditional love, never disappointing us, never letting us down, always there fpr us. Healing our hurt, knowing when we are sad, and there to share happy times as well.