“Cindy the Cat, longtime companion, has passed away this evening at the age of approximately 15. This hurts so much.”
That is what I posted on social media on Sunday, January 23 shortly after 6:30PM. I was at my girlfriend’s earlier that day and got a call from my sister that Cindy, my cat of a little over 15 years, was not moving. Honestly I just assumed Cindy was very soundly asleep but came home anyway. She could be a deep sleeper. Sadly I was mistaken.
Why am I discussing the passing of my cat on this blog? Because without Cindy this blog would not exist. It was while watching The Accountant maybe three years ago with her that I realized I needed to start one to get my thoughts out. That day I turned to her and asked what she thought about the movie. It was at that point I realized that I was talking to my cat about the movie she had just sat next to me and watched. I knew I needed to do something because it is not like Cindy would ever respond. If she had things would have taken a very Michigan J. Frog turn in my life.
Let me tell you how she came to be with me…
About 15 years ago I received a call from my ex-wife. Her boyfriend owned a small apartment building at the time and one of his tenants in the middle of the night had up and abruptly left with everything in that apartment save for a small kitten. My ex was wondering if I would take her in.
I went over with the intention of humoring her but ultimately telling her “No.” My son was there and he gave me Bambi eyes and so I came home with a cat that day. Declining that child was always tough.
Cindy was a long-haired affectionate creature that shed as she walked but never went bald. No matter the time of year she generally had a trail following her. Cindy was and still is by far the most affectionate and attention needy cat I have ever encountered in my life. I attribute this to being in an empty apartment with nothing but a litterbox and food for an undetermined amount of time. I really think all of her life she had abandonment issues.
How did she get her name? Cindy got her name because my ex thought the cat had a resemblance to the model Cindy Crawford. The name stuck because my son liked it. Often I referred to her simply as ‘Cat’ though. Mostly because in my mind her name was ‘Cindy Cat.’
If I was gone for an extended period of time Cindy would avoid me by slinking underneath the furniture to move about. If I had to go to work she would avoid me for a while when I came home. At first anyway. Once she got used to that particular concept it would only occur on the rare occasion when I would be gone for an extended period and left her in someone else’s care.
Cindy was also a communicative cat. More often than not she could she would communicate what she wanted. If she wanted fed she knew how to herd me to her food bowl or if she wanted the litter changed she could get me over to do just that. She motioned with her paw in a way that mimicked petting to be petted. Scratching behind the ear was another. It was quite remarkable.
It took Cindy years to learn how to meow. At the beginning she sounded more like a pigeon than she did a cat. Seriously. Then it moved to a mixture of almost meowing and her pigeon noise before finally getting her meowing down. And here I thought meowing was something that came relatively naturally to a cat.
Up until maybe the last year or so of her life Cindy would fall asleep on my chest at night. Her soft purring was very soothing but there were times when she would have a very potent purr and it would be like going to sleep on a massage chair. That was the best.
I guess maybe it was her age, but certain things stopped in the past year or so. At the age of 15 or so (her exact age was never known to me) she would’ve been between 72 and 76 in cat years. One thing I missed, and I know this is weird, but it was her butt in my face. Mostly because that was a period in her life when she was at her most agile and I had many years with her before me.
I tend to sink down when sitting on furniture. Cindy had a habit early on when she would sit in my lap of putting her rear as far up on my chest as she could with her front end resting in my lap. Given how I generally was by the time she came to sit like that she really didn’t have to struggle to keep herself in that awkward position.
In the last year or so there was a change to Cindy. She was not as affectionate. She was more demanding. And she no longer spent time with me like she did. I knew the end was coming at some point, but I never expected it to be so abrupt.
My sister and I stayed with Cindy as she passed. It was utterly heartbreaking. It has been a long time since I stayed with a pet as they passed. I was unprepared for how I would be affected as I would be when she took her last breath. I miss her.
The house is a little emptier now and things are a little quieter without the presence of Cindy the Cat. She was my friend and my companion and her irreplaceable presence will be forever missed.