“My cat died last night,” I texted my friend who owns four dogs and two cats in Denver.
“I didn’t know you had a cat,” she responded.
“I don’t. I gave him away years ago.”
I can’t remember when exactly I gave him away — 2001? 2002? 2003?
I gave my long-haired ginger tomcat to Lorraine, the other woman, a neighbour I probably would not have met or befriended had it not been for my frequent disappearance from London. Not long after our meeting, through my cat, I learned that I had tested positive to cat allergy. Coincidentally, she was moving to her new home, a short cycle ride away and I was leaving London in 2003/2004.
His new owners treated him far better than I ever did or could. Just as soon as I thought I had weaned him off wet food and onto the Science Diet for ease of feeding, his new owners tempted him with gourmet cat food in a new porcelain bowl.
Although I had already let go, I still thought of him as my cat. Likewise, Lorraine referred to me reverently as his mum whenever I visited.
My friend Jackie had given the little kitten as a house-warming present in 1998. Originally she had promised me two ginger kittens from the new litter. As the female yelped and seemed neurotic in my hand, I declined and chose the identical male that was calm and relaxed. He became my companion in the house that was far away from my place of work.
I befriended my neighbour Amanda, the owner of the slender grey, short-haired cat Tiggy who became best friends with mine. The two boys would hang out, never fighting, but always buddies as they ruled the neighbourhood. After my cat left, Tiggy kept coming to my house looking for him until one day he was trapped inside for a week while I was gone. I don’t think he quite knew what happened. There should have been a farewell party.
In the first few years, I organized a birthday party for him called the “Cat Concerto.” Needless to say, he was the only one who didn’t show up. I took many photos of the cute fluffy bundle of love and blogged about him. I even wrote a solo piano piece for him, which I played and recorded on my first CD album. Click the score below to hear it in midi.
Last August, I held him, little did I know, for the last time. Tears came as I felt the bones in his thin old body, barely covered by the ragged lumpy fur. His light green eyes had grown dark and opaque. His expression was no longer innocent and cute but harsh and fierce. I almost didn’t recognize him.
With the new owners, my cat witnessed a marriage, the renovation of a house, the birth of three boys, and relocation to a bigger house with a bigger garden. I have revised “Mister Tidworth” into a piece for flute, violin, and piano, for the family who cared for him. It’s called “Marmie the Cat.” Rest in peace, Marmalade!