Tuesday, September 04, 2007

To LG (March 10, 2005 - August 29, 2007)

I met him in early April 2005. Our wedding was just a few months away but we were more excited about the kittens.
We must have taken the bus all the way to McCowan and got a ride from there with Maven's mom or brother. Then we drove to the house excitedly. The mother was out and about, taking a break, so we feasted our eyes on the litter of three.
I noticed Bosh first because he wandered right out of the box on shaky legs and tried to climb the stairs. "I want that one," I said. He was an adventurer, a wanderer, a kindred spirit.
I looked over my shoulder at Maven to make sure that she had registered my selection, and there she was with LG in her arms. She was smiling like a schoolgirl. "Can we take two?" she grinned, and so it was. There was no point arguing, we had fallen in love with them as fast and hard as we had with each other.
The following Saturday we were back, this time to take them home with us. They were still shaking.
LG short for Lieutenant Governor, hid under the front passenger seat while Bosh explored the dashboard. We stopped at the petstore for kitten food and a kitten owner's manual. The woman in the petstore told Maven that five months was too young to take them from their mother. But the owners had been anxious to get rid of them.
I stuffed Bosh & LG back into their cat carrier and poured through the manual on my way home, sharing interesting tidbits with Maven as she drove. At the house LG found a hiding spot up under the pullout couch and Bosh explored the living room shakily.
We gave them a bowl of kitten food and they paid it no mind. We gave them milk with the same result. We had to put the milk on our fingertips so they'd suck it off.
For the first several months they kept looking for nipples in our hair. And still LG could often be found up under the pullout.
But because they were raised more by us than by their feline mother, and because our house was full of housemates and visitors, they quickly became people cats. LG loved nothing more than snuggle-time, and his purr could power a city block. Bosh used to follow us around in and out of the house, and when we weren't around he visited all the neighbours, including the elementary school. Sometimes he'd be gone for days before we got a call from a neighbour with an uninvited guest. The school principal seemed to think nothing of carrying him home, plopping him into our front door. As Boshie rambled, LG would look around the house for him, missing him.
At six months it was time to get them fixed, vaccinated and otherwise checked up. The vet took Boshie's temperature first. When she put the thermomete up his anus he freaked and yowled and struggled under our four hands. It took forever to get a reading, prolonging his agony. When she gave the same treatment to LG, his body just froze. His lips curled back over a jagged snarl that said, "I don't like this at all." It was over in seconds.
Their opposite personalities complimented each other like yin an yang; together they presented a unified front. At parties they'd pull up a chair each, across from one another, and no one dared kick them off. Human friends would pull up a piece of hardwood and stroke a fury chin.
The first time they experienced snow it was Bosh who awkwardly led the way while LG following close behind, delicately seeking warm spaces with his paws. He loved to go out for brief morning constitutionals before jumping and clinging to the kitchen window screen when he was ready for breakfast. Every meal was LG's favourite.
Like us they had their disagreements, usually in the form of no-rules wrestling matches. LG may have been the gentle one but he was bigger and just a little stronger, so when push came to claw he often got his way. They made up more easily than we do, usually in the mornings by grooming one another and snuggling up like a two-headed cat monster.
In the evenings LG would sleep with us and Bosh would doze with one eye half-open at the window, making sure the school-grounds were safe.
LG never let us forget love.
When we faught and the argument became heated, he'd find his way in between us, purring and rubbing and snuggling in the moment of greatest possible tension. And we'd laugh. And pet him. And calm down, ease our tones, get to resolving our differences.
Just before we left the country it was Bosh we worried about and LG who peed himself in the car en route to the airport and puked in the plane. They both looked shocked and haggared and pissed off when we retrieved them in Halifax.
We knew we were putting them into the good hands of my cat-loving parents, but there were other worries: coyotes, dogs, endless woods to wander and get lost in, and the semi-highway running by the house. For a wanderer like Bosh, anything could happen, and without the density of a Toronto neighbourhood there weren't so many neighbours to bring him home safe.
As expected, Bosh took to his new home quickly. He shied away from the fast moving cars, but dove into the long grass and watched fish jimping in the lake. LG, always the more vocal of the two, cried a lot and hid inside. Slowly slowly he adjusted, but it wasn't until several weeks after we left that he dared to cross the road.
By then Bosh was already spending his nights wandering the wild woods and sleeping it off in the daytime. Eventually LG caught up with his twin, and they hunted and played together by night, groomed each other at dawn, and slept the day away, the two-headed cat monster.
The whole 14 months we were gone, Maven and I missed our cats like a blowing empty nest. We carried pictures of them and cheered each other up with stories of them in our weakest moments. We had to restrict the times when we were allowed to talk about them beacause it was causing too much homesickness. We thrived on every story and picture my parents sent us of them. I think we missed them more than the humans we left behind.
As expected Bosh got to know the few neighbours around. As expected he hurt himself a few times, once quite badly - he needed several stitches in his belly and a conehead to keep him from scratching and biting the wound.
Also as expected, LG avoided such troubles and growled at his coneheaded brother. Some mornings he fretted and cried until Bosh finally came home.
When we finally saw them just over two weeks ago, we scooped them up. LG cuddled and purred, Bosh jumped away but came back to say hello in a more dignified fashion. They kept their routine of frollicking at night but took to snuggling up to us in the sweet early morning.
On the night of August 29 LG was killed by a car on that stupid fucking semi-highway, where the stupid fucking cars always go too fast. We cried and cried and cried, and sometimes I still cry from him.
Dad put his body in the studio and locked it. Bosh went sniffing all around it, then around the road where his brother was hit. He came home in the morning with none of his usual zip.
We buried LG in the yard the next day, made a nice little gravesite with flowers. We raised a toast to him and left the beercaps on his grave. Beercaps were his favourite toy. He'd send them flying and cahse them for hours, as if they were alive.
He was more than just cat. He was pure, unadulterated love. He was a member of our family. And he was Bosh's other half.
"He was the handsomest cat," I told Maven. "Tied with Bosh, as always."
She sobbed and said, "I guess they aren't tied anymore."
But really they are still tied. Every time I look at Bosh I'll remember LG. LG will always be a part of Bosh.


What a sad story!

Poor things.
I know the gaping, endless painful chasm that this leaves in your heart and soul. The feeling of expecting them to come around the corner at any moment and to remember the joy of holding them.

I'm so terribly sorry - to a depth that I can't even begin to convey in any suitable manner.

I really don't know how to say the pain I share with you.

I'm so sorry.
This made me think of a cat I used to associate with.

She was an albino who used to meow at our door when I lived with an ex-girlfriend.

We let her in and looked after her and named her Bowie. She was albino with different coloured eyes. Real name: Colchester, as we found out when the owner came round and demanded her back one day.

"You can call her, and if she comes, you can take her" said Stanley.

The cat didn't go anywhere.

When we left for Australia, she didn't understand. We said goodbye to her n the street but she just didn't get it.

I remember pulling away in the taxi and seeing her sat there at the end of the lane just watching us.

I never saw her again.

Sorry for your loss, Benji. LG sounds like a good cat.
Aw, I'm so sorry for your loss. There is nothing more heartbreaking than the loss of a beloved pet. They are pure love. I cried for three weeks when my Siamese cat died. She was my best friend for 12 years.

I'll bet Bosh misses LG too.

Oh, that's so sad.
Lynn: it's been a sad week for us.

Okami: i really appreciate. you're very kind for understanding.

toast: yeah, they can be finnicky beasts sometimes. she probably misses you.

josie: isn't crazy how attached we become? but they really are the best of friends. they never bitch and complain (except when they're hungry), they never try to change you, they don't smoke or drink too much and embarrass you in public.

All: i was a bit hesitant to post this. i was afraid people would think i was nuts for being so broken up over a cat. thanks for understanding. i'm not surprised though; i knew there had to be other cat-lovers out there reading this.
Stanley was my ex. I didn't make that clear. It was her owner she didn't want to go with. I do miss her.
ah, ok, sorry.

you miss the cat, right? not the ex.
LG's life is starting to sound a lot like my career. :)

I think I'm on life #9.

"they don't smoke or drink too much and embarrass you in public."

Benji if I could find a pet with these vices I would always have a friend because the old lady would throw us both out of the house.

But I do know your loss and second hand feel the pain of it through what my wife went through when Chrissie passed from old age.

Getting hit by a car though nope that's driver ass whooping time. Even though you're a peaceful educated man sometimes a fist to someone's face is the best tonic for loss' pain.

Next cat you have make it a Siberian tiger or something along those lines. They don't appreciate speeding asshole drivers.
oh Ivan, you've got a Booker in you yet. Besides you seem like more of a dog guy no?

TWM: thanks for giving me a very good laugh, i needed that. ironically if the driver had stopped i'd have forgiven him and not hit him. it's only because he didn't stop that i wanna hit him.

but to be really fair, on that road at night, he might not have even seen LG at all, sad to say.
Oh, I am so very sorry. Surrounded now by my three, I'm looking around and thanking God and goodness to be so blessed. Until you have been through this, lost a little soul that has trompled all over your own, you really can't know. I despised cats my entire life, afraid of them actually, their stretching and hissing, and pouncing, preferring dogs that answered when you called them, played frisbee, and could walk on a leash, and then one day my sister insisted, absolutely insisted I go look at this kitten, for just a second...."She's you, she's so you, she looks like she was dropped in a bucket of paint, drenched in nonsensical colors, you just have to see her".....And it was that tiny wide-eyed girl that I scooped up and fell in love with....Isadora...that started my love affair with them all.

God bless you all,
hugs and love.....
i am so very sorry
Thanks Singleton, you are very kind. I appreciate your unabashed love of little things.
I'm sorry to hear of your loss... your damned talent with story telling had me in tears by the end. So if you think you're crazy for loving a cat so much, how crazy am I for shedding tears over the loss of someone I never met?

Now if people could only learn that it's more than the death of domesticated animals that should be considered sad, and horrible. (http://peacefulprairie.blogspot.com/)
Thanks JB, it's much appreciated.

I agree with you: All animals deserve humane treatment. It's strange when you think about how we arbitrarily decide what species to befriend.

It's not that I'm not opposed to eating meat though. In many ways eating meat makes a lot of sense in a northern climate. But things we eat also deserve kindness. They deserve respect too, even in that eating.

I've also read several interesting accounts of farm-folk falling in love with their livestalk, especially the young members of farming families. Interesting how that empathy has to be 'trained' out of us, until we don't feel it any more.

Premature death always saddens me at least a little, and obviously more so the closer the person/animal is to me.

LG's passing has raised some weird intellectual questions in my brain about human-animal friendships. I'm only starting to process now now that the initial shock has worn off and I've come to accept that he's gone, and to be grateful for what was.
ps JB: we had one of your brother's over to our new place the other day. actually he was here to fix up M's bike but it was great to have him over.
That is heartwrenching.
I think one of the hardest thing is trying to convey how much of a piece of your life is missing when a loved pet passes away, as there's so many people who seem to view it as nothing more than a close friendship.
My little guy, who we found cowering on the side of the road (such a survivor!), died unexpectedly after three years. I have his urn on my windowsill.
PP: I'm just so glad that there are many who do understand that it's a big deal. My broinlaw has his old kitty's urn too. I thought about it but in LG's case he really was so happy where he was, we decided he should stay there.
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