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.
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.