Throughout the majority of my childhood, my family had three cats. They were named Pebbles, Rusty and Snoopy.
Rusty and Snoopy were twin tabbys we adopted when I was about 10, Pebbles a calico who joined our family four years earlier.
Each had their own personality. Pebbles was the friendliest. She loved being around people, and even when guests came over they’d always comment how unusually affectionate she was compared to most cats.
Rusty was more in line with the average feline. He occasionally sought us out for a quick doze, but usually preferred to keep to himself.
Snoopy, on the other hand, was the recluse. He never really relied on people’s company and instead slept and hung out by himself.
All three cats got along great. They were near the same age, always played together, slept together, and made for a great furry trio.
But like all pets, age takes its toll. Rusty’s life was cut short from kidney disease several years ago. Pebbles, who lived for almost two decades, died three years ago.
Snoopy died yesterday.
He may have not been your stereotypical, wait-at-the-door-for-you-to-come-home pet, but he was still part of the family. We fed him, we cleaned after him, and on the rare occasion he did jump on my lap, I pet him for as long as he’d stay. He was a welcome member of our household and I loved him as much as I’ve loved any pet I’ve ever had.
I remember the first time I laid eyes on him like it was yesterday. My dad, brother and I went to a local shelter to surprise my mom with a new cat for her birthday. We saw Rusty and Snoopy, twin kittens playing together in a cage, and I think all three of us instantly knew we had to have them.
It was so long ago it feels like a different lifetime altogether, and yet, it was a moment that was connected through our black tabby cat, Snoopy. A connection that interwove through the lives of two other cats, and that broke yesterday when he breathed his final breath.
His health had been declining for a few months. He lost a lot of weight, and in the last week, it was evident that he wasn’t going to last much longer. He hid in our basement, because I believe cats have a natural instinct to conceal themselves when they become weak or vulnerable.
I couldn’t help but remember when Pebbles was sick a few years ago, and that the moment she died, she was alone. I wasn’t with her, by her side, like all of the times she sought me out to lie by my side. I didn’t want that to happen with Snoopy. So I laid down next to him, on the floor of my dirty basement, and read a book for a while.
But every now and then Snoopy would wake from his slumber, and lacking any energy to move, would start meowing like I’ve never heard before. I couldn’t take it. So I brought down his favorite bed he liked to lie on and placed him on it, and put an old photograph of Pebbles next to him to keep him company.
I’m not religious, but there’s something about being so close to death that makes us more inclined to believe in a greater spirituality. In some optimistic way, I thought Snoopy might see it and recognize he’d be seeing his old friend again soon. It gave me comfort. And with that, I went back upstairs to let him sleep in peace.
He died overnight. I’m just glad he’s not suffering anymore.
It’s the age-old consequence of forming an attachment to your pets. You love them dearly, but then they must leave you, leaving a gaping void that could never be filled again.
But is it worth it to share years upon years of memories before that day comes?
You’re damn right it is.
We have a three-year-old cat, Marbles, so our home is not cat-free, and hopefully will not be for a long time.
I’m just glad that my trio of childhood cats I loved so much are back together again.
Rest in peace Snoopy.