Bobcat

Don’t get too excited, friends. This post is NOT Jail: Part II. It’s coming soon, just not today. Patience, dear friends. It’s been a busy week and I haven’t had time to write due to all the fun we’ve been having.

Last weekend the kids and I headed to Summit County to ski. Our good friend, Miguel, set us up with passes at Keystone so we skied there one day and then A-Basin the next day. Ben – having a week of private lessons in Aspen last month – amazed me with his skiing abilities. Madeline – after having one lesson a couple of weeks ago – did awesome! By the second day of skiing she was heading down blues without issue. Well, one epic wipeout, but she made the most out of it. And, I survived two ski outings without incurring a second concussion.

Then on Monday we headed to Estes Park to spend the night at the famous Stanley Hotel. This was at Madeline’s request (she loves creepy stuff) so we invited her BFF, Tayti, to tag along. Ben wasn’t too terribly excited (he does NOT love creepy stuff), but he ended up being the only one who slept through the entire night. I have to say that it WAS creepy. I’m glad we had the experience, though.

Wednesday was Madeline’s 9th birthday. I can’t believe my sweet little girl is nine! We made cupcakes and went to the movies… we had fun. The rest of the week was rounded out with a trip to the zoo and her birthday party with nine of her best friends. Matt set up the basement at his house like a dance club – including a fog machine and disco lights. The girls had a lot of fun. And, for the first time ever, there wasn’t a crumb of cake left over.

So, party week/spring break is officially over and it’s back to school tomorrow. As I was writing in my diary as to what I need to get done in the next week, I noticed that today is the 10 year anniversary of the death of my cat, Bob. I know I’ve said that I don’t normally do the whole anniversary thing, but with Bob, it’s different. Over the last few years I’ve turned from a cat person to a dog person, mostly because most of our cats have turned into coyote snacks or have bitten me, so I’ve turned my affections to dogs. Granted, my dogs are the size of a small cat, so I still enjoy some cat-like qualities, but I have to say that I’ve never, ever had a pet quite like my Bobcat.

I got him in 1997. I had been living in Summit County, Colorado but had recently – and unexpectedly – experienced a broken engagement. This event occurred just days before our planned wedding date. Not knowing what else to do, I ran home to Ohio. As most of my readers know, I went on my Hawaiian honeymoon without my groom. Once I returned from that trip, I decided that I’d remain in Ohio. The Colorado community just wasn’t big enough for the two of us. My broken heart wouldn’t let me stay.

Shortly after moving home my Aunt in Pennsylvania called to say that she had a barn full of new kittens. This wasn’t new for her, she always had a new crop of cats every spring. These cats weren’t pets, per se, they just lived in the barn and came and went as they pleased. But one cat in particular caught the special attention of my Aunt. He was born with some developmental issues and my Aunt was afraid that this kitty wouldn’t survive. I knew it was my purpose to go rescue this cat.

I immediately jumped in my dad’s car (mine was still in Colorado) to drive the four hours to Pennsylvania. Upon my arrival, I noticed this teeny-weeny kitten hiding in the corner. I knew he was the one. He appeared to be the runt of the litter and he was missing a tail. Some cats are bred specifically for this trait, but for this kitty it was a birth defect. I was in love. I could see the diamond through the long, matted fur and goopy eyes. Maybe it was due to my compassionate, social worker-esque nature, or perhaps I’m simply just a sucker. But I would have no issue loving this mangy, no-tailed cat. I gingerly scooped him up and drove him home.  Somewhere in West Virginia, I decided to call him Bob.

The vet clucked her tongue at my new kitten’s condition. She determined that in addition to his being full of worms and needing a drastic haircut, that his tail would cause long-term issues for him health-wise. His nerves did not extend down through his tail like a normal cat. His nerves stopped at the middle of his back. She said he would live without issue for a while but not to expect him to be a long-term kitty. I didn’t care. He needed me and I needed him.

During those first few months post-breakup I would wake up crying in the middle of the night. Bob would be standing over me, staring at me, as if to say “I’m here.” It was so endearing. Or, perhaps, he was just pissed that I woke him up yet again. Who knows? Anyway, over the next few years, he moved several times with me. We moved back to Colorado and, eventually, back to Ohio. On our car trips he always sat between the headrest and the back of my neck. He loved to look out the window as I drove and I loved feeling his silky fur against my skin. He was my bestest good buddy.

Eventually, the nerve damage caused too many issues with his ability to have a bowel movement. It had always been a struggle for him but, with time, it got to where he couldn’t go at all. After doing all I could for him, I knew what had to be done. I held him in my arms and sang to him as the vet administered the pentobarbital to put him to sleep. He closed his eyes and died peacefully. My heart broke all over again.

I had my Bobcat for six wonderful years. So many changes happened for me during Bob’s life-span and he saw me through every single one of them. He always seemed to know when I needed extra love.

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I last held him. Sometimes I feel like his short life prepared me for what I was about to endure with Benjamin. That may sound silly, but for the years before I had children, Bobcat was my child. I was determined to care for him. To help make him well. To prolong his life. To love him fiercely. It was like my “trial-run” at being a parent to a special needs kid. I can’t truly compare the two, of course, but I think it gave me a little emotional preparation of what was coming.

Thanks for our time together, Bobcat. You were the best cat ever and I sure do miss you.

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