My parents’ cat George died today. He was pretty old, and had been suffering from diabetes and digestive problems for a long time.
George, if I remember correctly, came to our family through a friend of my brother, who found the little guy as a kitten at a construction site. He was tiny when they took him in, but he soon grew to be one giant cat. He was raised in part by my parents two pit bulls, and took pleasure in tormenting the dogs.
For most of George’s life, my parents lived in the piney woods in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. George (and later, Smally, another cat) had his pick of birds, small (and large) rodents, and any other living thing he could catch and kill. He was a handful, and was happy to bite or scratch you if he felt like it.
But when he moved to Philly, George took quickly to being an indoor cat and soon became a big fat lover. I’d visit my dad and wake up in the morning with a 12 pound cat on my head purring like a boat motor. And god, that cat loved my mom. And my kid, for that matter. He’d seek Sam out, looking for petties and belly rubs.
My dad sent me a simple, to-the-point text this morning.
“George is gone.” Steve’s never been a pet person -the man objected to every single animal my mother adopted, and lord knows that was PLENTY- but he’s a soft-hearted as I am. So when I got him on the phone this morning, the two of us cried really quickly like the big babies we are. And then I paraphrased the first 30 seconds or so of the Louis CK video above -“I brought home a puppy, countdown to sorrow in a few years”- and we laughed, and both felt better.
It hurts to say goodbye whether you’re saying goodbye to a person or a pet. George was a good guy, and I’m gonna miss him.