Those of you who have been reading with me for a while now are probably familiar with my cat, Muffin. My faithful sidekick, my buddy, my furbaby, my pal. The only way to describe Muffin would be larger than life – both in personality and physical attributes. Small wouldn’t describe her at all.
Just before my family packed up and headed to the beach, I had to make the very difficult choice to put Muffin down. She became sick and we tried to fight it together for about a month, but there wasn’t any improvement and only decline. I’m so thankful I had a great vet who helped me through it all and made it easy on Muffin, too.
Muffin and I had been together for some 12+ years or so. When I first moved out, my mom insisted I would need a friend to keep me company. Just so happened someone dropped this little kitten off at a vet’s office and never came back for her, so she ended up becoming mine. Well, actually, mine and my sister’s, as we were housemates. Katie was still in college and wasn’t home much, but Muffin belonged to both of us.
While she started out small, she showed her big personality from the very beginning. When Katie picked her up as a homeless kitten from the vet’s office to bring her home that first day, she managed to find a way out of the box and sit on Katie’s lap, paws on the steering wheel as she helped Katie drive home. We should have known then she would rule the house and we were simply there to serve her whims.
Katie and I had her together for 10 years. During that time, Muffin expressed her opinions on more than one boyfriend with the swipe across their head as she eyeballed them from the back of the couch. Come to think about it, she was pretty much spot on in her opinions. When Katie got married, Muffin became mine. If Katie was getting the husband, I was getting the cat, so Muffin and I settled in to daily life for three more years.
I think that’s what I miss the most. As annoying as it was to have an obese cat stomp all over me in the middle of the night, I also don’t have her snuggling on my stomach purring when it was a bit chilly in the house. I miss her waiting on the bath mat beside the tub while I grab a shower in the mornings. I miss her sitting on the side of the tub while I soak in a hot bath. Or curling up in the recliner while I watch tv. Or covering her eyes when I have the light on and she wants to sleep. Mostly, I miss her greeting me at the door, letting me know she’s happy I’m home.
Quite frankly, it sucks to be Muffin-less. But I also know I made the best decision in her care. I just couldn’t see her suffering so I’d have a buddy. But I will also admit it was very lonely walking into my door after being gone for a week and having no kitten to greet me and welcome me home. It’s been a tough loss, but the kindness, understanding and support from my family and friends makes all the difference. I’ve gotten flowers, food, cards and lots of love. Katie and I joked we should set up memorials to the York County Animal Shelter because Muffin had so many fans. Even the deployed soldiers I’ve written to would send mail back to Muffin. Despite her rather grumpy and ill-tempered nature, she’s touched quite a few lives. And sometimes those touches involved claws.
I’ll get another sweet kitten, just not right now. When I’m ready for a new friend in the house, I think I’ll adopt from the county shelter. I’ve been checking out the cats and dogs that need a home and I swear, they are so stinkin’ cute. (Ya'll, go check out your local shelter - I'm deleting info about my local shelter b/c most of ya'll aren't from my neck of the woods.) I really don’t need to adopt right now, but I hope you’ll consider looking at them and seeing if there is one right for your family. The joy an animal can bring to you and your family is priceless. A pet is a treasured part of a kid’s childhood or like me, a companion for someone at home alone.
I know many of you understand my loss and I appreciate your sympathy through a difficult time. I felt like I needed to let you, my readers, know why I wouldn’t be mentioning her anymore in my column and that she’d passed. I never knew how much something the size of a shoebox could impact my life until she was gone, but I’m thankful for the friendship we had while she was here. Go give your sweet furbabies a snuggle for me. And please consider finding a forever home for an animal looking for a family. Many thanks.