Sometimes You Just Miss Him

On our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple, Scott adopted a cat for me, thus proving how much he loved me. Mostly because he married into three cats already, one of which refused to let him sit next to me for the first six months that we dated.

We had been to the vet a few weeks earlier, and they have a two-year-old orange cat in the lobby who was up for adoption. I asked to hold the cat (because I’m a crazy cat lady), and HE HUGGED ME.

We then went on with our appointments for Calliope, Loki and Juno, which, it’s important to note here, ran away, hissed and bite me, respectively, when I first encounter each of them. The hug made QUITE the impression.

Well, on the February 14th, 2004, Scott adopted his first pet, Tobias. We were officially out-numbered 2:1 but really more like 10:1 once we had a cat who thought that dropping books on my head while I was sleeping was an acceptable way of getting me to feed him. At 3 a.m.. Thanks Tobias. I’m up and blind in one eye.

My favorite moment happened about a year later. I heard yelling from our neighbor’s house. There was a construction crew over there everyday because lightening hit a tree that collapsed into the house sending the chimney through the roof and severely injuring a student who was on his way to a full recovery.

I opened the front door and saw Tobias running full speed at me with something in his mouth as the construction crew yelled HEY CAT! GATO! and shake their fists. I looked at them trying to discern what the hubbub was about when Tobias flew through my legs and into the kitchen.

As any cat owner knows, when Tobias got past me with something in his mouth, one must immediately prepared for the blood and guts of a small woodland creature all over one’s floor. I only hoped, that THIS TIME, the creature was dead since our home had enough nooks, crannies and well-fed cats to keep a mouse boarded here for weeks.

As I rounded the corner in search of my “present,” I saw Tobias eating.

A donut.

He had snuck over to our neighbor’s house and stolen one of the construction workers’ donuts.

If he had also grabbed one for me, and he would’ve been the most perfect cat ever.

Recently, my son has been asking about Tobias. Where he is? What happened?

And the hardest to hear: I miss him.

I explain that Tobias had cancer. Cancer makes us sick, and sometimes, we can’t be that sick. Sometimes, we die instead. And then I tell my son stories about donuts and books and purring and snuggles and heaven.

Tobias died in the spring of 2008 after living 13 months longer than our vet predicted.

Donuts will do that for you.

With all our recent animal disasters, I am reticent to take another cat into our home. But my husband and I always keep our eye out for another Tobias. Until stories like these make me realize that’s impossible.

I miss you, Tobias. We all miss you.

Yes, that IS my tall son shoved into my small belly, which Tobias thought was a GREAT place to sit and chat eye-to-eye with me. And he was right.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

25 thoughts to “Sometimes You Just Miss Him”

  1. Any cat that gets you a donut is a good cat. Mine never did that, and year I still miss them… You’ll know when time is right to get a new cat. They will find you.

  2. Awww that makes me miss Toby soo much! But I still tear up when I think about KC and she lives in a jar in my room at Mom’s house so I’m sentimental about that stuff!!

  3. I always told Tobias that he was my favorite, even in front of your other cats. I like to think that kept him going through the hard times, knowing he was just a tiny bit cooler than everyone around him (except you of course).

  4. Aww. I have a special place in my heart for orange kitties. Every orange cat I have ever had has been special to me. And has died tragically & unexpectedly. But they have always been such amazing kitties. Always.

    *sniff*

    1. I just have to say the same thing. Growing up we had 3 orange kitties in a row. They all had eerie similarities to the others and all had a tragic or mysterious end. Orange kitties are indeed special.

  5. My cat steals legos and leaves them all over the floor in random places (which is real fun to step on). She also steals candy. Halloween was a real treat for her. Any candy in a wrapper is fair game. She’ll steal it, carry it around, bat at it and then hide it in her stash.

  6. Toby was such a sweet boy and he was so lucky to have spent time with your family; you gave him a wonderful “cat house” and lovely human companions. 🙂

  7. I love a cat with a personality. I’ve been a cat lover all my life and just lost my furry friend of 14 years. I loved him especially because of all the human qualities he possessed. Arnie would politely tap my arm whenever he wanted a bite of my McDonald’s cheeseburger but I’m not quite sure that tops the donut. Tobias was an awesome cat. And gorgeous too.

  8. I hear ya on the loss. I had to put my 16 yr. old sweetheart to sleep a few weeks ago and I still find myself crying.

    Something I’ve done for years might help. Or it might creep you out, but it works for me. With each cat I’ve had over the years, I’ve cut a small bit of their fur off, put it in a sealed envelope and labeled it. I rarely get those envelopes out, but the couple of times I have it has given me a connection I’m so grateful I have. I can still feel and see their fur and the bond is tremendous. It’s not for everyone but it’s definitely a tradition with my fur family.

    1. I lost two kitties within 10 months- a 10 year old after a 2 1/2 year struggle with intestinal lymphosarcoma and an 8 year old to sudden renal failure (the 3rd we had back then is fine and we’ve since added two more cats to our two-dog family making a fur crew of six so just a crap kitty year we had… 🙁
      Point of this is I have a small ziploc baggie that has a cotton ball of kitty ear wax in it! Definitely something only a cat-mother could love. I also have snippets of fur as shortly before one of them passed, she got something stuck in the fur on the side of her face and needed a little trim. I like your idea of planning a fur-save! Just having something of them we can still touch does help.

  9. Donuts? Wow, that’s a great cat! My hubby’s cat, Piper, also an orange tabby, had kidney failure and we (meaning ME) spent 2 years giving her fluids via IV. She never gave me donuts, only peed all over my brand new house, but I loved my hubby enough to keep his favorite cat alive. She now lives in a jar on top of the tv!

  10. What a beautiful post. I, too, am a crazy cat lady. We had a kitten named Eddie who used to get a running start from the kitchen, take off in a full kitty sprint to launch himself imto our computer chair in the living room. He would then stand in the chair as it spun, legs akimbo, with a huge cat-grin on his face. He died suddenly of an enlarged heart shortly after his first birthday. We miss him every day.

  11. I am so sorry that you miss your sweet cat. I know that pets can be like family members. It definitely seems Tobias was a member of your family. We want to get a pet for our little boys. Pets are good for the soul! Thanks for sharing Tobias with us. 🙂

  12. Wonder what it is about orange tabby cats? Many years ago when my kids were playing on a park jungle gym, a tiny orange puffball chased my boy up the stairs of the slide, then slid down after him. He then ran over and curled up on my lap, so we took him home. BobCat was the best, and sadly, he too got cancer. I still tear up thinking about what a cool cat he was and how much we all still miss him. Sigh.

  13. My childhood cat, Cookie (named after Cookies Week, one of the best children’s books about cats ever), stole donuts too! He loved them! He even figured out how to open the box on the table and then he would waddle off to the living room and scarf it down. He also enjoyed muffin tops. pastry was never safe in my house. He died of renal failure at the ripe old age of 17. I bet Tobias and Cookie are friends in kitty heaven.

  14. Aw, this was so sweet. My cats are all up in my shizz every day, but I’ll miss them when they’re gone. I try to remember to stop and love on them every once in a no chaotic while. And when one of them isn’t puking on my freshly mopped floor.

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