It was the summer of 2005. I had one semester left at UWEC and Dan had a few months left in his Army service - we decided to shorten the distance in our long distance relationship and live together in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
We enjoyed weekends at the beach, drinks in Raleigh and dinners out on non-payday Fridays.
One night, Dan's friend called. He found a cat in his apartment complex. Correction, he found the cutest kitten ever and wanted to know if Dan was interested. I wasn't - and am not - interested in cats. Born and raised a true "dog" person - I love big, wiggly butt dogs. Cats are ridiculous. They don't listen, they don't play games and they pee inside.
I remember opening their bathroom door and seeing this tiny, meowing orange kitten staring up with big Disneyesk sparkly eyes. Sold. We loaded her up in the car, headed over to Walmart to buy the essentials and that was that. He named her Halitosis. Yes, Halitosis. But we lovingly called her Kitty. She ran around the apartment, scaled furniture and loved string.
That fall, Dan moved to Milwaukee and started school. Kitty welcomed the Midwest with open paws and gained an amazing amount of weight.
The years ticked by and Kitty moved from one side of Milwaukee to the next. One year she lived with a bouncy cat, two ferrets, two bearded dragons, a lizard and three boys. Gross.
Years later, Dan and I moved in together. Kitty was now skeptical, fat and generally, not a fan of people. This was a Kitty I could get on board with. Dan had to teach me how to wiggle string "just right" so Kitty would respond. The jig was up - she was thrilled I wasn't a reptile.
Then, one fateful day in April we came home with a dog. The Humane Society named her Blessing. We laughed at that - and named her Harper. Harper, the wiggly butt, bouncy puppy couldn't wait to sniff at this fun looking white and orange thing! And Kitty couldn't wait to hiss and run away. It was the start of a beautiful, forced friendship.
Fast-forward to Ingrid. Harper and Kitty had no choice but to become BFFs:
Then, a few weeks ago, Kitty started to show her age.
I won't go into the nitty gritty, but she wasn't urinating in her litter box, and was starting to have accidents around the house. That was the nitty of the gritty - but there were a few other cues that led Dan to believe that Kitty was starting to show her age.
Rather than go down the "How much should we pay to fix our cat?" path - Dan, with guidance from our vet, made the tough decision to put kitty to sleep last week.
Now, I'll be honest, I never really had a deep relationship with this cat. But, when I came home from work and saw her empty food bowl, I lost it. Like, "ugly-cry-pass-me-a-Kleenex" lost it.
It's an odd feeling to grief for a pet. The house instantly feels empty. You can't describe the feeling to anyone without apologizing for your emotions (I know, she's just a cat, but...). Only those who lived with her can fully understand her annoying and "aww"-worthy quirks.
She loved Dan, food, paper, crumpled-up paper, laying on bills, food, string, Harper and stacks of paper. Ingrid was pleasantly surprised to see her everyday and Kitty kept a reasonable distance. She was with Dan through his 20s - and rolled with the roommate changes pretty well.
She was a good cat and she'll be missed.