A few days ago, I had to say good-bye to my long time feline companion, Penelope. Penelope and I had been together for the last seventeen years…long before there were any children or husband, there was me and Penelope. She was given to me as a kitten by a family member and back then, I had no idea just how long she was going to be with me or how much I would grow to love her!
Penelope was full of personality and a little bit of attitude. She loved to be near me, but never wanted to be touched. You could pet her on the head, but anywhere else would get you a nip on the hand. And if I called her name in a way to let her know she was doing something wrong, she would whip her tail back and forth–her way of flicking me off! It wasn't long before I knew she was her own cat and I had to respect the way she was and not invade her space, so I would just let her approach me whenever she was ready then give her the attention she loved. She was definitely a strong willed kitty with lots of persistence and will. Even when she was ill, she kept trying to get up and walk around. I knew she would not give in and let herself go…so I had to make that decision for her, because it was the best thing for her.
In my life I have lost loved ones and each time it was painful and difficult to accept. Losing my kitty was no different. For anyone who thinks the loss of a pet cannot be as painful as the loss of a human, has never truly loved a pet. For two days I wept, feeling depressed and guilty. The absence was the same, maybe even more. Every day for the last seventeen years we have been together…I can’t say that about any human. Every morning I have seen her face, many times I would wake up with her in my bed. And each day as she came to me for food and water, she would give me a little rub on the leg, as if to say “thank you.” And now, she is gone.
In some ways it’s like Penelope is still here. My other kitty, Ginger, who has always been a very sweet and a reserved kitty has all of a sudden become assertive and is doing many of the things that Penelope used to do. It’s really kind of strange and unbelievable at the same time. Even more, my 5 year old came into my room the other night saying that she couldn’t sleep because Penelope was sitting on her desk and making noise. We are not sure if that was a dream or if she truly saw her, but in either case, I think Penelope spirit is still with us.
I am so grateful that I got to share Penelope’s life with her and I hope that I helped to make her life happy and full of joy. I will focus my attention now to our other furry family members…my kitty Ginger, my Chihuahua Lola, and my newest family member, a terrier mix we named Einstein. Einstein is so full of energy and is just the sweetest puppy ever! I got him from my vet as I was there with Penelope. He had been dropped off and needed a home. I was prepared to say no when they asked me, but when they brought him out I just melted. The last thing I needed was a new puppy as I was taking care of my very sick kitty, but now he has become exactly what I needed… to help me move on. It’s like “the circle of life” around here. Last month I had two cats and a dog, and now I have two dogs and a cat. I truly feel that our pets do not belong to us, they only share their life with us–and we should feel fortunate to be able to do so!
Meet my furry family members: