In spring of 2002, my little sister, Jen, slowly Army-crawled across the deck behind our parents’ house to catch a wild kitten that had been hanging around with its two siblings. When Jen caught this kitten, it made some of most horrible, angry noises I had ever heard come out of an animal, especially of that size.
Over the course of several days (and much to the chagrin of our dad), Jen would keep it locked in a bathroom the few times she didn’t have it in her arms forcing love upon it. It took quite some time, but this little cat finally relented and became one of the family.
Jen named her “Phoebe”, and she lived in the house with us until Jen and Stephen got married to moved to a house in Mansfield in 2005. Phoebe lived with their growing family of children and pets and moved to Lexington with them in 2010. It didn’t take long to become apparent that Phoebe wasn’t happy with the move. She wasn’t eating, and she was marking the kids’ things. Jen and Stephen knew they couldn’t keep her anymore.
I wasn’t interested in any pets. I had a crazy schedule and really didn’t want the responsibility. But, that cat was special to me because of the circumstances surrounding the way we obtained the cat, so I told Jen I would take her. I was fortunate to have purchased their house in Mansfield from them when they moved, so Phoebe was coming back to familiar territory.
Phoebe wasn’t a needy cat. She did her own thing, and she made spots around the house her own. She would follow me from room to room, chilling out on the floor or adjacent furniture. Once in a while, she would come up to get her ears scratched. When she had her fill, she would go back to lounging. When I would go on overnight or weekend visits or be gone for camp, my mom would come make sure she had her food and water. Mom told me on several occasions Phoebe would run to the door when she’d come it only to act annoyed that it wasn’t me coming through the door. I remember many times coming home from those trips and she would be meowing at the door before I could get it unlocked. I’d scoop her up and scratch her ears until she’d had her fill. Then, she would wander off to lounge.
A couple months ago, I came home from an overnight trip to find she hadn’t touched her food, which was very odd. She also had been dropping more fur than usual. I decided I had better take her to the vet. Some medication cleared up the fur issue, but she still had some issues that kept her from eating. A couple more visits helped things along, but this ended up being something she couldn’t bounce back from.
I did my best to keep her comfortable. She slept in my lap while did things on my computer. I made sure she had food in case she wanted it and water in multiple rooms. Phoebe fought hard. My family and I thought she’d go sooner than she did. Jen, Stephen, Mom and I got to say goodbye to her yesterday before we did some family things. And Phoebe peacefully went to sleep for the last time.
It’s going to be weird not having my little roommate of 5 years pawing at my shoulder in the morning when the alarm goes off because she knows that means treats. It’s going to be weird not having her run from the opposite end of the house because she hears me opening a window for her to sit in. It’s going to be weird not having to vacuum the rugs in my room multiple times a week. It’s going to be weird not coming home from a trip and being able to scoop her up to scratch her ears because she missed me when I was gone.
I’ll miss you, Phoebs. I already do. Thanks for being the Queen of my Castle.