My heart is filled with farewell today. Tomorrow I will be snuggling my kitty for the very last time. She is such a familiar face in my little world. Dingo came to me on my twelfth birthday. Twelve is that age when a girl very much wants to be all grown up, but she is still a little girl deep inside. It’s that age when she really wants a lot of friends, but the other girls her age don’t try to be very nice to her. When a girl is twelve, she starts to have those stirrings in her heart for someone all her own to care for, someone who truly needs her and wants her more than anyone else. So when that shoebox of orphan kittens came to me on my twelfth birthday, it was a heaven-sent gift.
Dingo was the ugliest, scrawniest little gray thing I had ever seen, but when she opened her enormous, face-filling eyes and looked into mine we had an instant connection. I was able to give her brother to another family, but Dingo had claimed my twelve-year old heart and we were inseparable. I would carry her all around the house with her front paws resting on my shoulder and her large eyes observing the world around her just like a baby would. My room was filled with the kind of cozy beds any cat would covet, but Dingo laid claim to my bed. Now that I think about it, she didn’t leave my pillows too often on her own volition. She preferred to be carried from one soft pillow to another. But for a cat who is content to stay in one room, on one pillow, all day, she sure did get around. Before she was three -years old she moved to Africa for eighteen months. On her way back to Hawaii she spent a leisurely few months in Colorado. She thought her travelling days were finished and settled into my studio apartment with great dignity, but when she was sixteen she moved one more time to another town and a bigger apartment. And her favorite room in the house? My bedroom.
I was her number one person. I had no need for a Teddy bear to sleep with because she would curl up in the crook of my arm and contentedly purr there all night. That was her favorite spot, but she had no problem with lying on my chest, back, or head. I was a little concerned with how she would react to someone else in our bed after I got married, but she determinedly laid claim to my husband’s pillow too – or his back…or his chest. No matter how many trips I took, baby animals I fostered, or children I cared for, whenever I crawled into bed at night she was instantly there, and I knew that all was well in my world. Countless tears have been shed into her fur as I dealt with shattered dreams, broken hearts, or crushing disappointment. And countless nights she has soothed me back to sleep with her attempts at purring. She and I were a match made in heaven; all of my future included her.
Death is coming to take my beloved friend tomorrow. She might just be a cat; she might be two months shy of eighteen; but she has been a constant in my life. Her smell, her sounds, her warmth, her snuggles are what have brought me through many difficult times. She has been with me through many key transitional periods; but the hardest one that we’ll ever have to go through is the one that will separate us forever. I am almost thirty. Almost thirty is that age when a woman very much wants to be a little girl again so that she can see her old friend as a kitten. It’s that age when she has a lot of nice friends, but they don’t have that special way of almost purring, like her old friend has, that lets her know all is well in her little world. When a woman is almost thirty, her dreams for a loving husband and adorable baby have come true; they need her and want her more than anyone else, yet she also wants her old friend to be able to live forever – the cat she always wanted.