Life without Larry
by Gary Gaddis
Life without Larry

He came to us in a box, although he stayed in said box just long enough to escape the pet store, so it would seem. Inside the store, in his cage with two other felines, he was very well-mannered and serene. Of course, this was all just a very fine acting job on his part. Larry wasn't my first choice. There was another in his cage who had reminded me of a former pet from years ago. I stuck my finger in the cage to get this cat's attention...with no luck. Larry, however, seeing an opportunity to escape his present confinement, came forward and gently reached out his paw to caress my finger. I was hooked...line and sinker.

My wife and I made the purchase and took Larry, laying peacefully within his box, and placed him on her lap and drove home.
It didn't take but a minute or less, for the box to start moving, at first slightly, then ever so strenuously. Then the top flew open. A tiny butterscotch-colored head with long ears and whiskers and pink heart-shaped nose popped out of the box.
Larry had emerged into our world...

Little did we understand at this moment the extent to which he would own our hearts, as my wife was much too busy trying to corral him back into his box, while I focused on steering the car straight. When we got him home, Shadow, our black, female cat, threw a fit. I've never before or since seen a cat filled with such jealousy. She gave Larry a hard time for the first couple months and I wondered if she would ever stop picking on him. My wife, JoAnn, said not to worry, to take a close look at his overly huge feet...he would have to grow into those feet! Sure enough, he grew and grew quickly. Shadow was soon taking cover -the tables had turned on her. But she eventually learned to accept him, and when he left us for good, her grief was even greater than ours. Larry had an exhausting energy about him - exhausting for us, that is. He would make everybody angry with his non-stop, trouble-making, destructive antics. But at the end of the day, we would all wind up apologizing to him for being mad. He was family. He was our boy.
At only four months old, he was diagnosed with urinary tract disease. An unusally young age to have that disease, said the vet.

Nevertheless, we kept it under control almost to the point where it was forgotten. He was happy and frisky and kept us on our toes each and every day. There came a point when his energy started to fade. He would chase his string and then lose interest in it after a minute or two. Just getting older, I thought - after all, he was now a grown cat who thought he was a kitten. No one knew, including the vet, that he had heart disease. That was followed by diabetes. When I took him to the vet for the final time, I had no idea that would be the last time I would see his face - the face that prompted every human on this planet to dote on him, while he ate up the attention like it was candy.

The vet called with the anticipated, yet horrible news that Larry had passed away. A huge chunk of our life had suddenly been taken from us, ripped away mercilessly; leaving behind something more vacant than emptiness itself.

As they say, cats choose their owners, not the other way around. Larry chose us that day at the pet store. I believe that choice was meant to extend beyond this physical life. A cat would not allow such a mundane thing as dying to interfere with their plans. Therefore, we will see you again someday, Larry. You chose us to be your family, and we're so glad that you did. Thanks for the joy and memories you brought us. See you later, my little buddy.

Comments would be appreciated by the author, Gary Gaddis
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