His name was Darwin and he was going to be 18 years old this Summer.
Darwin came into our family when my sons were in highschool, he grew up with my dogs and his two littermates- Blitzer and Micey.
Blitzer and Micey and my dogs Domino and Cerbie went on before him.
My friend who gave me those three little kittens died about 5 years ago.
Darwin was the last tie to the time when my family were in our youth.
His passing meant so much more then what it appeared to be on the surface.
Darwin used to walk with me and my dog Domino- who was suffering from heart failure at the end of her life.
He sat with her as she died.
Darwin sat with my cat Wolfgang as he passed away too.
Darwin sat with me on the days when I was told my Dad and then my cousin died.
He wasn’t an overly affectionate cat by nature. He wasn’t a cuddler. Darwin never jumped into your lap and asked for attention. He did have his moments where he would pop up and ask for scritches and loved to play with toys with us. But Darwin was very independent and we respected that.
But if he knew something was really wrong, he was there and he wouldn’t leave your side if he could feel your grief or fear. He didn’t crawl into your lap. He didn’t meow or purr. He just sat there right next to you like one of those statutes of the Egyptian Cat Goddess Bastet.
He was watching over you, protecting you.
It really was comforting.
When I came home from work on Tuesday I could see that Darwin was getting ready to leave. So I wrapped him up in his favorite blanket and I opened the blinds on the window so that he could at least feel the Sun.
He was gone about 15 minutes later.
Photo A.M. Moscoso
I could tell you great stories about Darwin- like how he decided he was going to be a dog instead of a cat.
I learned about his plan when I started to notice he developed a horrible dry hacking cough. I took him to the vet fearing cancer. What else could it be?
The Vet listened to his chest and then shook his head. He didn’t hear anything, but maybe we should do Xrays. I was about to agree when a dog walked by the exam room and Darwin jumped up on the ledge where there was a little window overlooking the hallway and he started…to cough and cough and cough.
The Vet said to me, ” You know. I won’t charge you for this visit because I don’t have the heart to bill you for the pleasure of watching Darwin bark.”
Darwin used to be right in the middle of the Welcome committee when I came home from work- there were two big dogs, assorted kids asking for either my car keys or money and in the middle of that giant overwhelming crowd was Darwin- who only ever got to be a little more then half the size of his brothers and had short legs, a short tail and a round head and he never weighed more then 6 pounds.
He kept his footing, he would not be moved. He pushed his way to the front of that pack- and barked too and demanded attention too.
I am sad, broken hearted. My home seems so much bigger and emptier now that Darwin isn’t in it.
Above that all though is the one thing that brings me joy and overshadows that grief.
I was lucky to have had that wonderful Soul in my life and that warms my heart.