My mom called me this morning and told me they had to put my childhood cat down yesterday afternoon. It wasn’t an unexpected call – Prince was 17 years old – but it was a sad call. Truth be told, I didn’t really like Prince. In 17 years, we just never warmed up to eachother. When I was younger, I think it was because my sister was his main squeeze and I was just an afterthought. And then when I was older, every time I came around I had one or two crazy dogs with me and that just royally pissed him off. But every now then, after my sister and Grandmother had gone to bed, and my dogs were in a Snausage-induced coma, Prince would sometimes quietly come up to me and just kind of check in. He’d nuzzle me a bit, I’d scratch under his chin, and then he’d jump down and I wouldn’t see him again for another year. I think he just wanted to make sure I knew he still liked me.
Its not for those annual sessions that I am sad today. Its really for my Grandma. Now I don’t know this for a fact, but I feel fairly certain that my Grandmother has written that cat into her will. Man, did she love that cat. Prince was originally my sister’s cat, but when Ginny and I went away to college, Prince just sort of naturally took up residence with my Grandmother (who has lived with my family since I was younger – one of the greatest blessings in my entire life). Grandma and Prince were a perfect fit. He was crabby; she was fiesty. He was needy; she was giving. They just worked together. And over the years, that cat became my grandmother’s fifth grandchild. Actually, the fifth and favorite grandchild. And except for the two times she tried to give him a bath, I think he loved her unconditionally – which was rare for Prince, as he was a bit of an ass to everyone else.
So, when my mom called me this morning, my first thought was of my Grandmother. And when I hung up the phone and got a little teary, it was because of my Grandmother. She’s a tough old bird though, and I know she’ll take this in stride, like she does everything else. But nobody ever wants to lose a pet, especially when that pet is an old friend and companion.
Today is sad, but it won’t last long. Because we have lots of happy thoughts of Prince to keep us smiling. Actually, OTHER people have lots of happy thoughts of Prince to keep them smiling. I have scars from his scratches. But for today, even those will make me smile.