How I Became a Cat Person When I Moved to Idaho
I was never a cat guy when I was younger. I like dogs. Big dogs. We had cats in the house, but I wasn’t close to any of them. When I first came to Twin Falls, I had no pets and was living downtown in a studio apartment.
There were some stray cats living in the storage barn behind the radio stations, and some mornings I would take turns feeding them.
One weekend morning, after I had been on the job for four months, the boss telephoned. She told me an aunt and uncle had found a cat and couldn’t keep him. Can I take him? I replied that I would think it over. The next morning, she called. She explained she had the cat at her house and asked when I could pick him up!
By that afternoon he was at my place, and he crawled under a bed and stayed there. I did notice he was eating and using the litter box when I was away. After a couple of days, he suddenly emerged and decided to be friendly.
I would discover he liked toys, was very curious, and got into everything.
One day I came home from work and found him in a cupboard above the refrigerator. He was sorting and shredding important papers.
At bedtime, he would come up next to me and grab an arm and start rabbit-kicking me. After a couple of minutes, he would wrap his front paws around one of my hands, pull it close, and then rest his head and fall asleep. I budgeted time before bed for these few minutes and again in the morning, so we could play before I drove to work. When I came home, he looked through the sliding glass door. When he would see me, he would get up and race to the kitchen door and greet me.
In the fall of 2020, things started to go wrong. He couldn’t keep down much food and was losing weight. The veterinarian determined he was experiencing a hardening of the stomach lining. She began a course of steroid injections, and within a few months, he regained much of the weight he had lost. His playful ways returned. Then one afternoon, driving to the vet’s office last August, he started struggling to get air.
He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and died that day.
About a week passed, and I dreamed one night he was in the hallway outside my bedroom. I walked out to see him, and he turned and with a great leap vanished through a hole in the ceiling. There were also nights when I suddenly woke up because I thought I could feel him walking on the bed.
A year later and I still think about him every day. Old pictures keep popping up in my Facebook feed.
I used to mock people who mourned their pets as much as human beings. Now I’m one of those guys.