There’s a saying out there that says something along the lines of “people don’t adopt pets, pets adopt people” – I couldn’t seem to find the quote, or anything sounding remotely similar, but I did find one that fit the bill: “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” This quote, from Winnie the Pooh, sadly defines my last few days as Miss Took and I had to lay to rest a cat that has been in my life for 4 years and hers for nearly 17. Warning – this is a sappy post unrelated(mostly) to The Lord of the Rings: Card Game. Even so, it has a place on this blog.
Early on in writing this blog I shared this image on my facebook page:
I jokingly referred to a new guest writer of the blog: Diva, the Secondhand Cat. Diva is, however, not my cat but rather my girlfriend’s (Miss Took as she is sometimes referred to around the blog). This picture accurately portrays Diva’s desire to insert herself into situations that simply don’t involve her. For myself, this typically meant in front of my laptop (or more specifically, where I was sitting), enjoying the warmth that resulted from my extended blogging sessions.
The first time I met Diva was not a pleasant one. First and foremost, Diva is the standard, stereotypical “scaredy-cat.” When I would visit my girlfriend’s house (even before she was my girlfriend), Diva would be nowhere to be seen. She would run away when she even suspected a stranger was around. Over time, this little tuxedo furball would finally leave whatever dark corner it normally retreated to and began to make her presence known when I was there. As for meeting Miss Took’s parents/family and gaining their approval, I count myself incredibly blessed. Diva was the true obstacle. I remember countless nights having dinner at their house, seeing evil eyes staring at me from the stairwell or worse, from over Miss Took’s shoulder as she gave Diva some usual affection.
Fast forward a few years and my girlfriend and I moved into our own place and, some months after, Diva followed along. Those first few months, perhaps the first year, were interesting on my part. I am foremost a dog person, and have been unlucky in my experience with cats. Combine that with Diva’s skittishness to anyone that wasn’t family and you pretty much had those early scenes from “How to Train Your Dragon”
As you may be guessing, Diva eventually warmed up to me. Better yet, it seemed that since she pretty much had to get used to being around this stranger, Diva became more social – for a cat who was already about 12 years old, that’s quite the achievement. She wound up getting to know some of our friends, my family, and so on, something that Miss Took said would never have happened a few years ago.
Time went on and Diva became more affectionate to those around her, not just my girlfriend. As for me, sad to say I was smitten. Like the picture at the top of the post, Diva pretty much inserted herself into my world, whether I wanted her to or not.
Within the past couple of years, Diva found a particular interest in snuggling up to me (or my controller, to be exact) whilst playing video games. It didn’t matter if I was in the middle of a ranked Overwatch match, showing off my mad Mercy skills, or if I was screaming at the TV trying to roll away from a monstrous Bloodborne Boss, I would still feel my controller jerk in an odd direction only to find a tuxedo cat had made my lap her new nap spot.
As for Lord of the Rings, aside from literally a couple of photos, I have little evidence to Diva’s involvement. Anecdotally, I have it in spades. Being a cat, Diva was notorious for walking over my cards while I was deckbuilding (this was pre-ringsDB when I would lay cards all around me). If I played any solo games, I could expect to find the layout slightly changed if I left the game “paused” overnight. I often speculated that Diva had her own approach to besting that blasted Deadman’s Dike Scenario – if she ever found a strategy to beating that damn quest, she never told me. If I was playing at a friend’s house or my FLGS I would notice cat hair finding its way into my deck box or worse, my card sleeves.
Needless to say, as much as I cared to admit, and despite my best efforts to remain neutral, Diva “The Tuxedo Cat” managed to insert herself into my world, my hobbies, and my heart. It’s hard not to grow attached to someone who greets you when you come home during your lunch break and proceed to reciprocate your affections. It’s difficult to realize that you will no longer hear someone asking to come into the bathroom while you are taking a shower, or after you let said cat in, have a little cat watch you get ready practically every morning.
The past few months have been concerning to say the least. Worst too was that this feeling was often pushed back in our minds. Diva was getting on in years, and though she was beginning to show serious signs of aging, I think we were happy to put these changes into the “getting older” bucket. I don’t think either of us expected that, after taking her in for a check-up a couple weeks ago, we would learn that she was below a healthy weight and suffering from either kidney disease and/or a UTI. We proceeded to treat her for these things, gave her fluids every day, and gave her antibiotics to treat the infection. We knew from the vet that there may be an underlying problem but again, I think we were convinced it was something far off, and we packed the thoughts away into another corner of our minds. Imagine our surprise when we had the vet come out after meeting with Diva for five minutes after her most recent check-up, 2 weeks after the last visit. What we thought was a routine visit for some updates on her health and another supply of pills/fluids turned out to be far worse. She had lymphoma and it was blocking her intestinal tract. The size of the mass was alarming according to the vet’s gesture. When asked what we should do, the vet simply told us to cease any treatment and to let Diva enjoy her remaining few days as she normally would. We were told she would not be eating much, as she couldn’t digest/pass anything, and that this was pretty much it for her.
When I was young, I would visit my Dad in the summer. While I always enjoyed the extended amount of time with him, every time I had to leave to go home (across the country) I would feel devastated. Sure, I would see him again, but for a child next year might as well feel like next century. I remember the date of the flight looming over me. It would seem so far away and yet, when it was finally there, I would be woefully unprepared. Such as it was these past few days, with the Holiday weekend feeling like one giant day, with extended naps breaking up the monotony. 10:30, Monday morning, was the dreaded deadline.
I don’t want to sound all doom and gloom as the weekend was a great one, all things considered. Friday, the day we were given the “diagnosis”, we had Miss Took’s family and my mother over for a little gathering of sorts. We mostly just sat around, ate Taco Bell (Miss Took’s favorite fast food spot) and watched movies. It was partially a distraction from earlier in the day and partially a “going away party,” if you will. As I said Diva had a knack of inserting herself into people’s hearts, and the fact that several grown adults drove to our apartment just to say goodbye, speaks volumes.
For those of you who are still reading this, I appreciate it immensely. I’ll admit this blog post is mostly a selfish act on my part – a form of therapy to get through the next couple of days and a medium through which to spill my thoughts. To reiterate the quote at the very beginning of this post: “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” The little turd of a cat that she was, came into my life without my asking for it and left me realizing that I will truly miss her.
-The Secondhand Took
Just a few more random photos… because why not 🙂