I Miss My Friend
by Windy Carlton
(Jackson, Mo USA)
Sunny belly up sleepin'
I "met" my beautiful long haired black Persian cat when he was a few weeks old. My mother raised "papered" Persians and I sometimes drove out to visit and help her give any vaccines and help with the care of her cats. My tastes in pets tend to be a cat/dog from the local humane society, but I did enjoy playing with Mom's pampered cats.
On the day I first saw Sunny, he was a wild kitten, not wanting to be caught by anyone, having been left alone during the last few weeks while my mother treated some cats that had gotten ring worm. Mom was trying to keep all the cats quarantined and Sunny refused to be caught. I walked into the building and saw him immediately--I made eye contact with a big pair of golden "hoot-owl" eyes and was immediately in love. He never broke eye contact, ran up the side of a stack of crates, reached out a fuzzy, black paw, snagged my shirt and pulled. I took a step sideways to him, he crawled on my shoulder and snuggled in. And that was that.
At this point in my life, I was single, living in apartments or rental houses and the last thing I needed was a cat. But the heart wants what the heart wants. And within weeks, my mom knew that Sunny and I belonged together. He wanted nothing to do with anyone except me. After I took him home, he relaxed, and became the most loving, laid back cat you had ever been around. He was not skittish or shy to people and most other animals. But I was always his favorite.
He would wait for me to look at him and invite him up, and then he would "hug" me, nuzzle me and "pet" my face until he received enough attention and then would either curl up on me or next to me.
Over the years, Sunny was my companion: he saw boyfriends come and go, saw a fiance become a husband, got unwanted new friends; Pheobe, (a 4 week old calico kitten we rescued) Chloe the Wonder Mutt, (a dog we rescued at the humane society) and eventually, my two children. Not to mention several moves to different homes in different towns.
He was always the constant in my chaotic life. I cried in his fur many times, from the breakups of the ex-boyfriends, to the grief of having a special needs child I did not understand at first. Sunny saw me grow from a transient, self-involved college student/drop out, into a happy wife, into a loving and dedicated mother.
He saw me at my worst and saw me at my best. He loved me when I was selfish, when I worked long hours, when I was constantly running around and not at home for days, when I was too sick to play with him during my pregnancies, and then when there was new babies to take care of. No matter what, my Sunny was there, loving me unconditionally. When I would put off a much needed vet visit for a week, waiting for a paycheck--he never got mad and was always dedicated to me.
For years, I have known how awesome my Sunny was. People and friends that know me have always commented on my "cool" cat. My nieces and nephew have grown up calling him the "good" kitty. He put up with so much over the years from them and then my own children. He never so much as growled at a kid. He simply took the "petting" that only a child can give and would roll his eyes and look at me as to say; "I love you but these kids are something else"...
For fifteen years, I had a friend who loved me no matter the circumstance or how much or sometimes how little time I devoted to him. How can I ever thank him? How could I ever love him enough? I know that I had a special cat, that I was blessed with a unique pet with too many personality quirks and connections to me to even try to explain.
Two weeks ago, my sweet Sunny began to get sick. He never complained, but knowing him the way I do, I knew something was wrong. Two trips to the vet and I knew, he was in bad shape. I wanted to continue to drag it out, not wanting to let go of my buddy. But I couldn't let him be poked and prodded, x-rayed and separated from me anymore. I had to make a decision, by now Sunny was in deep pain, having a hard time breathing and having personality changes. But even when faced with those facts, who can make a decision to take the life of a creature and know that is the absolute right thing to do? I questioned myself, and still do...
On June 16th, I made the decision to put my beloved Sunny down. I held him as the vet slipped the needle in and watched him as he left this world. My heart hurts. He really was my friend--not just a common pet. I pray that someday, God will let me see my Sunny Sunshine again. That beautiful blessing was a gift from my Father and I pray I may be with Sunny someday. Surely, if Heaven is perfect, I will.
I miss my friend...