When I was five years old, I spent most of my time at my grandparents or my father’s house. This was due to a lack of money at my mother’s house and her attention being on a current boyfriend at the time. This left me and my older sister feeling slightly lonely when we spent time there, but my mother wasn’t completely clueless about this fact. She knew she was working a lot and that she couldn’t afford to work less or it would affect us.
One weekend, when I was with my father, my mother and sister went to a nearby shelter and were looking at cats to bring home. They looked at many different cats and decided on a gray and white cat that attached herself right away to my sister.
When I got home from being with my father, my mother told me to look behind her. My only reaction was “Kitty!” I had always loved animals, including cats, and was happy to have one at my mother’s as I had two of them at my father’s house.
As time went on, I learned that although I liked this cat, she wasn’t that fond of me. She tolerated me and let me pet her because I was that young, but she was my mother and sister’s cat at heart. At that young of age, I didn’t really care and just wanted to play with her.
A few years later, my mother’s, at the time, current boyfriend found a 4 month old kitten on the side of a railroad track. The kitten jumped into his truck and he brought him to our house. That little kitten, even though my mom didn’t want to, would become our new cat.
Patches, now around 7 years old, blamed me for this cat being brought home and grew even more distant from me. This lent me to giving more attention to our new kitten, named Euro, that liked being held and given attention all the time. Patches, although nice to most people, didn’t like having another cat around and gave him trouble sometimes. We knew they would grow out of it over time and just learned to live with them occasionally fighting.
This was when her habits started to form. She would bite me if I tried to pick her up and she didn’t feel like it or even for no reason would bite my mother. We didn’t, and still don’t, understand why she did this, but some say it was a form of showing affection. For us, it just hurt for her to bite at our hands and things along those lines. She mainly reserved her biting habit for me because she didn’t like me as much as the others.
As other cats came into the house, she progressively liked me less. I suppose she blamed me for their entrance the same way she had with Euro. I usually would ignore it because it had became a habit for me and her to not always get along with each other.
Now, for the part none of us ever like to talk about. This is the timeline of the last times of her life. We never knew it was the ending of her life at the time, but she seemed to see it coming before us.
In the last year she was alive, she began to allow me to hold her. This wasn’t something she had ever let happen before without meowing loudly or biting me, but I assumed I was just getting older and so was she. I had no idea it was the sign of something worse than that because we had, and still have, a cat older than her.
On May 19th of this year, Patches was acting as normal as usual. That was, until she started being overly affectionate with my mother in the living room. She was purring, walking in circles, and rubbing on my mother. This was going to be in the last hour or two of her life. No one had any idea.
After this, my older cat, Marc had finished eating. As usual, if there’s food left over, we would give the food to Patches. This was because Marc required wet cat food due to a problem chewing with a few teeth missing and he still wouldn’t finish all of it sometimes. This was a normal occurrence.
Shortly after, Patches had been on the table and someone suddenly heard something fall. They assumed Patches had jumped off the table as normal, but she wasn’t moving. My step-father was the one who noticed this issue immediately. My father, right away, was trying to bring her back to life, but it didn’t work. She had suffered a heart attack and fell of the table. It was out of no where and a complete surprise.
My mom, crying, came in my room and told me not to come downstairs. I didn’t listen because she had obviously been crying and my cat was gone. I wanted to see her as well before she was buried. I went with them to the vet’s office.
The vet, since she was gone, couldn’t do anything for her, but we were seeing if she could be cremated like my old beagle had been. My mother didn’t have the card with her necessary to have that done. This caused us to have to bury her instead and we decided the best option was to bury her at my grandparent’s house. This is because we live in a townhouse where we can’t do anything to the ground around our home.
After saying a few last words, our cat was gone. She was 14 years old and had passed away out of no where. It was 4 days away from my high school graduation. We had always thought my oldest cat, Marc at 19 years old, would pass away first, but he hasn’t. He’s still sitting next to me as I write this. It’s crazy.
It reminds me that some animals are meant to go sooner. Some cats, like Patches, have the chance to pass away peacefully with no pain or warning. Although it was harder for us, I believe she was better off going the way she did. It reminds us that the hardest part of having any animal is knowing that, in most cases, unlike our own children, an animal is going to pass away before us.
Even though she didn’t use to like me, I miss that cat. It hasn’t felt quite right, even with 3 other cats and a dog, without her. There’s a gap where she used to lay every night and a hole where she used to be whenever my mother wasn’t home. It doesn’t seem right without her because of how sudden it was, but we’ll always remember that night.
It was only two weeks ago, but it feels like forever. Goodbye Patches, wherever you are now.
Thank you for reading through this post. You’re welcome to share your own stories of loss in the comment section on this post or on the Tweet on Twitter that is put at the time of this being published.