I’ve never liked it when people ask me if I am a dog or cat person. I grew up with at least one dog and two cats in the house at all times … and I loved all of them. I loved that my dog, Sadie, would swim in the pool with me and that my cats, Minnie and Bertie would bury themselves in my covers in the morning. They were like family to me.
People often assume I am a “cat person.” I would love to have a dog, but until I have a place with a yard, it’s not an option. So instead, I’ve lived happily with my cat Annie for the past 11 years.
I waited nearly a year after my college graduation to adopt a cat, you know, trying to be responsible and all. I am a strong proponent of animal adoption so I headed over to the SPCA South Bay Shelter where one of the workers let me into the cat room. It was overwhelming – there were literally cats everywhere.
After awhile, I settled on a young, long-haired, male named Buddy. I told the worker and she went to check out his case file. While I waited, I watched a scrawny, orange cat appear from nowhere and walk over to the litter box. She caught me eyeing her and gave a short “meow” in my direction.
At about the same time, the woman came back to tell me Buddy had been adopted and was waiting for his new family to pick him up. I asked her what the deal was with the orange cat, and she said, “Oh, that’s Breck. She was a stray we picked up. She’s feisty, but a lover.” And just like that, she was mine.
I named her Annie because she was an orphan and (sort-of) had Little Orphan Annie’s hair color. It took her a few days to warm up to me, but from then on, she was my best friend.
The SPCA was right, she was feisty, but she was also the biggest love bug I’ve ever met. She followed me around the house, slept in my bed every night, and thought watching tv together was well, the cat’s meow.
Annie moved with me three times and watched roommates come and go, always willing to test out the new ones’ beds. She sat with me when I cried, and assured me every time, he wasn’t worth it. When I was sick, she never left my side and when I came home, would literally greet me at the door like a puppy.
She loved laying in the sun, being wrapped in a blanket, and drinking water directly from the bathroom faucet. She hated the vacuum cleaner, plastic bags being shaken, and having her nails clipped. She rolled around the rooftop deck on Helberta and would come down covered in dirt. She could smell tuna and rotisserie chicken from a mile away, and always listened when I replaced the words to popular songs, with “meow.” Annie never met a box she didn’t like, and thought ripping apart tissue paper and paper bags was the most fun at cat could have. She had a million different meows – look at me! Pet me! I’m hungry! Stop bugging me! … and I knew them all by heart. In her older age, the highlight of her days was lounging on our patio and going for “walks” through the halls of our building.
For the past week or so, Annie just wasn’t herself and earlier this week, I made the difficult decision to let her go. This morning, as I waited for her vet appointment, I took her onto the balcony for one last look. After a night of rain, the sun was shining, and she was so content in my arms, that she laid her head on my shoulder and we just stood there. It was perfect.
Saying goodbye wasn’t easy, but I am so thankful I was with her. I stroked her head the entire time, and gave her enough kisses to last her an eternity, and then I let her go.
I’m home now after working for the afternoon and it feels lonely. She was such a part of me, and it’s going to take some time getting used to life without her.
So goodbye my sweet Annie. I love you more than words can ever say and I’m going to miss you more than you’ll ever know.