"No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat, and no amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his fur from your couch." - Leo Dworken
Back in August we took our sixteen year old cat Moe (Cosmo) to the vet for a checkup, and to have some tests run to determine why he couldn't seem to keep weight on. We found out the old man had a cancerous tumor in his abdomen. After a few ultrasounds, they told us it was spreading pretty fast. Because of this and Moe's advanced age, we opted to keep him comfortable at home with pain meds, and have the excess fluid drained from his abdomen (also for comfort). Our house became a cat hospice. Keeping an eye on him, trying to decide when being uncomfortable changed to genuine suffering was surprisingly difficult. We watched our buddy decline to the point where he couldn't walk well enough to use the litter box. On his last day, we held a bowl of water to his face so he could drink.
In 1995, I was 20 years old. I wanted to adopt a kitten of my own, because I loved animals (especially cats) and my family wasn't much into companion animals when I was a kid. I went to adopt a kitten from a no-kill rescue, and they turned me down because I lived in an apartment. Which is a bullshit reason for not allowing a well-meaning person to rescue an animal from a shelter, but okay. So I answered an ad for "free kittens" in the newspaper (yes, newspaper. This was 1995.) and picked up a tiny little six week old black cat that I named Cosmo. It was a really hot August day, and the air conditioner in my car didn't work very well. I remember holding a curled-up Moe to the air vent in one hand while I drove with the other. He was adorable and I loved him.
From then on, Moe and I were a team. He was the only close family I really had. The following spring I got up the nerve to kick out my abusive, drug addict boyfriend. I gave him a week to get himself and his crap out of my apartment, and asked him to feed Moe while I was gone. (In hindsight, I now know this wasn't the safest option for Moe, since people abusers can also be animal abusers. But the guy actually loved cats, and did not hurt Moe. If you or someone you love ends up in this situation, please contact Ahimsa House for advice on how to safely house your companion animal while reaching safety.) When I came back to my apartment a week later, the place was virtually empty except for Moe, his litter box, and his food and water bowl. He rubbed on my leg and looked at me as if to say, "Now what?". For the next five years, Moe and I lived in various apartments with various roommates, several of whom also had cats. Moe wasn't very fond of other cats, but he still kept his sweet, gentle (and timid) demeanor through it all. I worked a whole hell of a lot in those years. Two and three jobs at a time. Even when I was barely home except to sleep, he was just happy to sleep on my leg and get a head scratch or two.
When I met Ken in 2001, Moe took to him right away. That's how I knew Ken was a keeper! When Ken and I moved into our home the following year, Moe was in heaven. He had tons of space to play and hide and had us all to himself.
With a wide open space, Moe became much more outgoing with visitors. He loved all the new windows and bright sun rays to sleep in. Even when we introduced him to a new baby kitty Miles, Moe took it all in stride.
When Miles was a kitten, Moe was pretty annoyed with him most of the time. But they grew to tolerate each other. On occasion, we would even find them hanging out together! Never sleeping in a cuddly ball together like I had hoped, but hey. That's okay. Moe was happy.
In 2005, Ken and I started a business together. We always joked about how Moe needed a job, so we named our store after him. He never worked there as we had hoped, but he still became the acting CEO. Or CEMoe?
Moe put up with a lot. From us photoshopping hats on him all the time,
...to taunting him with cupcakes and fruit he couldn't eat.
And he did love his corn.
Moe even forgave us for having a kid. In fact, I'm pretty sure he liked Luka more than he liked Miles.
Moe was spoiled, loved, adored, cherished. Any and all good adjectives you can think of to describe my pure and utter infatuation with this feline. Cosmo made me a calmer, more patient person. He was my friend through good times and bad. Sixteen years wasn't long enough for the world to have him.