It’s been four months since Leonard died. I remember going to bed that night, constantly turning over my pillow to find a dry spot, sobbing so much I couldn’t fall asleep.
The necropsy showed that he had a massive liver and kidney infection. My vet excused his language and said, “Shit happens” when I asked (perhaps with a quiver in my voice) what I could have done to prevent it.
Soon after, he sent me a card offering his condolences, and said it was a pleasure dealing with someone who cares so much. It was probably the best thing anyone could have done to assuage any feelings of guilt. That fact that Leonard had a stub tail with no signs of scarring makes me suspect that he was the runt of the litter, likely born with a weak constitution, but that doesn’t stop me from always feeling like I could have done more.
He was always so affectionate, almost to the point of being overly so. Every morning he’d rub his nose on my face until I stirred, which would be extremely aggravating if it weren’t one of the most seraphic ways to be woken up.
I remember him sleeping with me one bright afternoon. Dolly decided to nestle herself in the crook of my arm under the blanket, and Leonard soon joined us, though he decided to curl up on my neck instead. It was the perfect nap configuration.
I’m still glad I had him, as short as our time was. It saddens me most to think that I never got to know what he’d be like as a mature cat, whether he’d keep his playfulness and extroversion into adulthood. At the very least, Heather G and Sergey, Aaron and Trolley, Darren and ____ all got to meet him before he died.
I’ve been checking the Humane Society website for male kittens available for adoption ever since. I recently found one with the right details and a goofy face too, but I don’t think I’m ready for another cat yet. I’m not sure I could handle it if the next one happened to die so suddenly as well. But I know that soon enough I’ll be itching to adopt again, and that the idea of having another cat in my life will prevail over any worries.