I do not have any other blogs. I do not have any other places where I write down things that happen outside of my protected little world of running and racing that I obsess over and talk about to anyone who will listen…or read. This, however, I wanted to write and share, even if no one else reads it – and this is as good a place as any to do it.
I have not had to deal with death much in my life, or at least not in my adult life. I guess that makes me lucky – or woefully unprepared. As far as family and friends, my grandparents all passed away when I was younger, and other close relatives and friends are still alive with a couple notable exceptions. Those closest to me, though? I’ve not had to face it much. When it comes to pets, I only had to directly face it once some time ago, but I just had to face it somewhat out of the blue in the last few days.
There has been only one living soul that was my constant companion for 17 years – my cat, Lucy. I am a dog person. I always was; I still am. However, this cat wasn’t “just a cat,” and yesterday I had to say goodbye to her. I wrote this about her yesterday, and felt much better having gotten it out and memorialized.
For the last 17 years, I have had one continuous companion. Lucy has been with me through thick and thin and has always been there for me, especially when I was on my own. I subjected her to several moves, other dogs and cats, and different people but she always seemed to forgive me. The last 7 years have probably been the most content, and she ruled the roost.
After 17 years, we had to say goodbye to Lucy – one of the coolest cats I have ever known.
She was born in July 2007 and came from a fairly sketchy pet store near my apartment in Cottonwood Heights southeast of Salt Lake City. It was clear she was part of a litter that someone sold to the store. Inside a large cage, all of her brothers and sisters were climbing around, most behaving like lunatics. On the bottom, backed up in corner was a little puff of fur, and when I pulled her out she squeaked, burrowed into my shoulder and started purring. She picked me and came home that day. As it turned out, it was more of a rescue than a purchase, as she needed early trips to the vets for various ailments and surely wouldn’t have lasted very long in the dump she came from.
Her name was short for “Lucifer.” When she came into the house, there was another cat named Angel…a black cat from hell. Naming her Lucifer was supposed to put the yin back with the yang, and it mostly worked.
Lucy is the only cat that could ever fit in with this self-proclaimed “dog person,” and I don’t think any cat could ever replace her. She was a cool customer – a sweetheart almost all the time. She was never much bigger than 7 or 8 pounds – the runt of the litter – but she held her ground like she thought she was an 18-pound Maine Coon Cat.
When she was younger, she could fly. She would come from across the room at a full sprint and spring 6-7 feet in the air to grab a well-thrown toy mouse. She was a fearless moth hunter, and her eyes would always focus to a laser-like point at the mention of the word “bug.” She would chase a laser dot in circles until wobbly, and then come back for some more.
In fact, she definitely fancied herself a hunter. While she was never an outdoor cat, she went out on the deck or in the yard a couple of times. Gnats and flies trembled in her presence. Indoors, she craved the flesh – turkey, chicken, and especially ham. Whenever a Christmas roast was being prepared, I always had to keep an eye on her for fear she’d try to take it down. Occasionally, a bowl with bacon grease left in it to cool would have notable tongue grooves in it. And nothing would stand in her way if she heard Reddi-Wip being applied to ice cream. It was her greatest guilty pleasure.
She was 12 when Gabriella, Christy, and Cookie came into our lives. She and Cookie figured it out pretty fast, most likely because they noticed they looked a lot alike. They never fought but often went nose-to-nose just to say “hi.” We are pretty sure that when we were out of the house, especially on vacations, they were both glad they had each other.
For 17 years, I could always count on Lucy greeting me when I came home. She was almost always at the top of the stairs or on the ledge above that. Sometimes, I would walk by with something on my mind or something in my hands – in which case she would present herself again until she got some pets. I’ll miss that. Often, she would scare the crap out of me when I would wake up with her sleeping on my chest, staring at me and willing me to get up and feed her. I will miss that, too – in a way. She had character and personality, and she was good at making me laugh. I’ll really miss that.
But mostly, I will just miss my pal.
July 1997 – July 21, 2014