I never wanted three cats. I never even wanted two, let alone one cat. That was all Ryan’s doing. I had two dogs and two cats growing up and I was a horrible pet owner. They weren’t allowed in my room. I barely bothered to visit with them when I would come home from college. (Before you call the Animal Cruelty shelter, simmer down – they were very well taken care of by my mom and to a certain extent, by my sister.) Ryan didn’t have a single pet growing up so I viewed his constant begging for a pair of cats as him not knowing what he was getting us into. But he cited my long work hours that left him home alone for long periods of time and I talked him down from two cats to one cat and before I knew it I was traipsing along with him to the Stamford Animal Shelter to look for a cat.
The joke that we have is that for all the groaning and moaning I did before I allowed us to get first one, then the second and third, I actually was the sole selector of our three furbabies, starting with Spam.
It was love at first sight… or at least cuddle. They asked if I wanted to hold the only remaining cat of a litter that was born at the shelter, and the runt of the litter at that. I said sure, not wanting to seem aloof to the people trusting a life to me, and with that they opened the cage and he jumped into my arms. And with that I was smitten. I had never fallen in love so fast. I said, “we’ll take him!” before Ryan even got a good glimpse of him. I had found my son. That was back on Saturday, October 18, 2008. We paid for the micro-chipping and neuter fee and left with a receipt to pick him up (sans balls) the following Monday.
And he was perfect. Low maintenance like a cat is, but with all the loving, cuddling, loyalties of a dog. We joked that if a burglar were to enter our house, the most Spam would do was snuggle him to death.
And one weekend about a month after we adopted him, Spam sat by my side as I entertained myself with a new website I had stumbled upon, Tumblr, and decided to set up an account. Jumping forward to today – I have never been so happy that I have this blog, because although it is brutally hard, I can look back on his entire life with me and reminisce.
But back to 2008. Our family of three was perfect for Ryan and myself. But Spam was sooooo lonely. We’d have to spend hours cuddling him to make him feel better. It broke our hearts and I jumped at the idea of getting a second cat.
Spam adored Sox, just like he did everything and everyone. Sox wasn’t a huge fan of the adoration. And so a year later, hoping to fix the “turmoil” we found a rambunctious kitten to play with Spam and leave Sox alone.
Now I love Sox and Sushi and am happy that Spam was no longer sad, but I did sometimes miss the little guy that ran to the door everyday and demanded hours of cuddling.
Before I got pregnant I read a quote in a Jodi Picoult book about how you can think of your pets as your children, until you have a child. And then there is no comparison. Ryan and I both thought that quote was ridiculous. And then Emma came along.
Having Emma didn’t cause me to love the three furballs any less but I certainly had very little time now to laze around the house with them. I kept telling myself that work would calm down and I would learn to juggle Emma and that workload and Ryan and the cats and everyone would feel loved and adored. That’s what I told myself at 1:30 AM on Wednesday morning when I finished up work from Tuesday and quickly fought with Spam about whose water cup it was (he won… as per usual). I was in a deep sleep in minutes. Which is why I was furious less than 2 hours later when I was woken up to what I thought was a malfunctioning baby monitor or Ryan snoring loudly (Emma had had a nightmare so Ryan ended up sleeping with her for the night). It was with very pissed off feelings that I jumped out of bed and tried to figure out how to stop that sound. And then I saw. My beloved baby boy having a seizure, which caused him to make that sound. He saw me and then I saw it, something leave him. He was gone. I screamed at him. Screamed at his eyes that remained open. Tried to verify that he was still breathing. But it was too late. He was gone. He had been losing weight over the last couple of months. X-rays, blood and urine tests had yielded no results. The vets had been stumped. But other than that he was fine.
He was perfect. I was imperfect. I would yell at him for the stupidest things. Like how he would eat my hair in the middle of the night. How he would eat the barf from the other two cats. How he drank from the water glass I had poured myself before bed. The irony now is that I can’t bear to remove the last glass of water he drank from.
Ryan took him to a pet cemetery and crematorium later on Wednesday morning. I knew it was stupid but I thought that Ryan would call to tell me how dumb we were, that Spam woke up from his nap and thought the car ride had been fantastic. Instead he called to ask what type of urn I’d be interested in. Eight years and 5 days from when Ryan called to ask how it went when I picked Spam up to take home for the first time.
I’ve been with Ryan for over 13 years. And sometimes things have been rough. With us as a team, sometimes as opponents. I’ve cried a lot in front of him over the last 13 years (I mean, pretty much every Thursday when Grey’s Anatomy is on… or at Christmas when they play The Christmas Shoes). But I have never seen Ryan cry until yesterday morning.
I hate that when I say “my cat died” it’s many times met with as much sadness as if I said I lost my wallet. He wasn’t just a little accessory. He was my first child. The only one that would crawl into bed with me each night. Purr so loudly I couldn’t fall asleep. Befriend Emma. He loved Emma so much and she loved him right back. Today she tried to pass that love on to Sushi. She called Sushi her friend (she didn’t like him before today) and told him she’d miss him before we left for daycare. But at one point she also sighed, looked at me and proclaimed, “not the same.” My two year old apparently understands something that I am having a hard time grasping. That hugging the other two furballs as tightly as I can and praying they live long and healthy lives, is still not bringing back my first born.
I made most of this post only readable after the break to give people a chance to skip over reading a gushing tale of my love for Prince Spamalot of Musubi Land and the fact that I’m having a really hard time dealing with it. Writing this all down HAS helped, so if you have read the entire messy mumble-jumble, thank you.