I was blue today. Been fighting the blues for weeks now, and I guess I’ll tell you why, even though I don’t want to.
I lost Digit about six weeks ago. I think a coyote got him, and I hope that’s true, because thinking of him dying by way of a car or a kid with a .22, that’s no way for a fighter like Digit to go. Before anyone lectures me on the merits and morals of keeping your cats indoors, know this: That cat HAD to go outside — he almost died when I kept him inside, he grieved so much. He came to me eleven years ago as a four-week old rambler who had to suck milk from a rag, and he was a son-of-a-bitch every minute of the day, and he loved me more than anything, and I loved him more than I ever knew was possible. Dammit. He had eleventeen lives, and he used the last one, I guess. My little polydactyl transgendered guy (crystals, you know) grumpy tough guy who still sucked on my clothes and held my hand as we slept (he always slept in front of my face as I slept on my side, one paw curled into mine). He kept the dogs in line, and Lala and my mother shared second-place in his affections.
He was the cat of my heart. and yes, before you ask (please don’t), I did everything, put up the fliers, visited the shelters, kept visiting them, went through the death files (good times). My sister Christy did the nicest thing you can do for someone who’s lost their beloved — she went to some of the shelters FOR me. I knew it was hopeless, though. I’ve known since day one of his being gone. He’s been gone for more than a week before, and I always knew he was fine. This time, I just knew he wasn’t. (Once, he had been gone a day or two, and I knew he was hurt, so I went hunting for him in the hills, and after calling a long time, I heard him crying for me — he was lying on a hillside, unable to move after a major catfight. I carried him home and he slept a day and then was fine.) I’ve always just known with him. Adah knew too — since that first night when he didn’t come home (a not-uncommon occurrence — sometimes he just didn’t want to sleep indoors), she’s been clingy and needy. Lonely. Yeah, me too, Adah-pie.
I didn’t want to write about it. Didn’t want someone to ask had I had him micro-chipped, didn’t want someone to think I was a bad cat mother for letting him go outside. We live above a creek, on a culdesac dead-end. In terms of cat country, this is as good as Oakland gets, safer than other places he’s lived. But there I go, justifying again, and that makes me feel like a bad mom again, so I won’t do that.
Lala’s been great — letting me cry, and letting me Not Talk about it, because really, I can’t talk about it. Do. Not. Want. To. Talk. About. It. She told me I could get another cat whenever I wanted to, which, from a cat-allergic person, is a nice thing to say. Of course, I couldn’t do that.
But today, dude. Last night we saw a coyote near our house, and I started thinking that was the way I’m going to think about Digit passing. A hell of a fight, that’s what he would have wanted. And then today, still feeling horribly down, DMV pissed me off by throwing me attitude when I wanted to update my wife’s registration (your what? My wife. Your WHAT? My WIFE.) I swear, I wanted to hit that lady. I left without hitting anyone and without what I came for, and only made it out to the car before I started crying. I told Lala I was near the SPCA, and she said maybe I wanted a kitten.
The SPCA was closed. As was the Oakland Shelter, the Alameda Shelter, and the Milo Foundation. So I took that as a sign and went and fondled paper products at Target. That always helps. I bought Ultra-Fine Sharpies for me, and a squirrel for Clara. Then I remembered that the Fairmont Shelter was right around the corner. And it was open.
I’m bringing those two 11-week old brothers home tomorrow. In honor of our fallen comrade. No one, nothing, can ever replace my One True Cat. But it’ll be fun for these guys to try.
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