When my husband and I moved in together, nearly 15 years ago, we got June, our loudmouth tabby. Picked her up at a farm, held her as big dogs jumped everywhere. She didn’t flinch so we decided she was a keeper. Then about three months later I decided that June needed a friend and we got Belle. A Siamese-Tonkinese-blue-eyed-white-and-grey-mixed bundle that tumbled out of the carrier and hopped all over the apartment like a bunny. June hated her right from the start but we loved her, desperately.
This past winter, when she started sneezing all the time we took her to the vet. He said she had cancer. I scoffed. Please, I told my husband, she doesn’t have a cancer. There’s no way she has cancer. I don’t even think there is such a thing as nasal cancer.
I was wrong. We held on as long as we could. I cleaned all the blood that she sneezed out. We gave her medicine. We coaxed her to eat. We bribed her with cream cheese. We begged. We cried. We begged some more.
And when we carried up that hill back to the vets the very last time I sobbed the whole way.
Belle had a half meow. Just this squeaky little thing. Sometimes she opened her mouth and nothing came out.
She startled easy.
She used to meow into the corner of the wall. Either she loved the echo or she was calling the mothership, I was never sure which.
Belle loved potato chips and spaghetti sauce and blackberry yogurt. She could hear me peel the top off a yogurt from the other side of the house.
Belle was beautiful. When she was in the window, people on the street would stop and talk about how beautiful she was.
When my husband came home she used to follow him into the room and roll around on the bed like a dog while he took off his shoes.
She was one of my best friends.
And I miss her so much.
Many thanks to Misfit Miscellany for publishing this poem, Dying Cat. I didn’t say anything back in the spring when she died, but I guess now I wanted to remind the Universe that she was here and she was loved. She was here, my small little bundle of wild love.
She was here. And she was very very loved.
We miss you B.