The Long Wondrous Life of a Cat Named Louis
"So drunk in the August sun, and you're the kind of girl I like."
“I like to read books. I like to listen to music. I collect records. And cats. I don’t have any cats right now. But if I’m taking a walk and I see a cat, I’m happy.”
Remember that part of the mission statement of LAST CALL where I said “and sometimes cats” as topics of interest? Well, today’s dispatch is all about cats. One cat in particular, my dearly departed longtime companion, Louis, who I had to say goodbye to the age of 18 last fall on September 24.
Yesterday was his birthday. We always celebrated his “Gotcha Day,” the day I adopted him from PAWS Cat City in Seattle, as his official birthday, and each year marked the occasion with a can of Cento oil-packed tuna, a jumbo bag of treats, and a new toy. He was a 2-year-old former farm cat from Mill Creek, Washington, when we first met. He had been surrendered to the shelter less than 48 hours before I showed up and I was instantly drawn to him, the one cat who wasn’t fighting for my attention but instead hiding in a box in the corner of the room. I intended to name him Leo, but after he disappeared under my bed for our first month together as roommates, he seemed more like a Louis. From Seattle to Brooklyn, a cross-country road trip, four different apartments, and many days and nights together we formed a bond for life.
On that last Friday night we spent together, while waiting for the Lyft to arrive to take us to the ER, I held him close and walked around the apartment to let him see some of his favorite things one final time. I knew this was going to be a one-way trip. Louis would not be coming back home with me ever again.
Over the past 14 years I’ve lost my father, brother, mother, and several good friends, but adjusting to life without Louis was a new level of soul-piercing grief I wasn’t prepared for. The loss, the empty apartment, the endless, painful montage of his last week, last day, last hour, last moments as I held him in my arms wrapped in a blanket crying and thanking him and telling him how sorry I was and how much I was going to miss him as he took his last breath.
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