One of the real fears of single women is becoming the sad (or crazy) cat lady.
For some reason, women relate to cats. It could be the fact that cats demand independence and always seem to have an attitude about humans. Or, that they don’t listen to commands. Or, that they just really love a good nap.
Yesterday, I had to put my 14-year-old cat down. For the last week leading up to this decision, I have truly felt like the sad cat lady. But, it’s more than that.
I met Tex when he was six weeks old. He was actually given to my best friend who’d just had to put her cat down.
The thing is, Tex was a holy terror. He was feral. He was a kitten. And he didn’t like the boundaries of four walls, two women and a huge Maine Coon who’d already taken up residence. I wanted to name him Devil cat. My roommate thought naming him after the state we lived in would suit him better. I relented.
Somehow with time, Tex took to me. He liked to hang out on my bed and sleep all day. He enjoyed running into my closet. He mostly liked to chew through my TV cables.
So when I moved out just eight months into his life, Tex came with me.
Across the country
That first move was tough. We moved to Waco, where I had a job as an Executive Producer of a local newscast. Tex hid under my bed for days. He did not appreciate that I had moved him away from the other lady and that large cat that didn’t seem to mind him.
Then came Temple with a boy. Tex dealt with that. Again, not a huge fan of moving. And, that boy in the apartment was bigger than the blonde lady before. What was I doing to him?!
After that, we went across the country to Pennsylvania, where the spiders were big (Yay! Something to chase!), and the stairs were steep.
We headed back to Texas when he was five. Through six more moves in Dallas, he became quite the road warrior. He no longer hid for days on end. Now, he encompassed the spirit of a new adventure around each corner.
He and the boy had a bond. They would stay up late at night together. The boy – now called the manpanion – would give him treats and chase him around with a toy.
The day the manpanion moved out, I only really cried when I said, “Well Tex, it’s just me and you again.”
I never understood people who cried about their animals. They’re animals. They can’t talk to you. You’re the person who feeds them and cleans up their poop. Basically, you’re the help.
Now, I get it.
For the last 14 years, Tex has been my companion. Sure, he tracked litter throughout every place I lived. There was always cat hair on the furniture. He would constantly give me a look that said, “Lady, you’re in my space.”
He was there before the manpanion and I thought he’d be around for a few more years. When I had a sugar disaster in my kitchen and sat down to cry, he came and sat next to me.
But, in the month my relationship ended with the manpanion, Tex took a turn for the worse. He’d lost eight pounds in six months from previously diagnosed kidney disease. For a cat that was once 22 pounds, his 11 pound frame was now shocking.
On what would have been my 13-year anniversary with the manpanion, lab results showed Tex also had cancer. He’d stopped eating. He was dehydrated. It was hard for him to lay down for those daily naps because he’d lost so much muscle in his legs.
It was time.
To be a true friend, I let him go. There is no manual to tell you what to really expect or how hard it will hit you. To be honest, I’ve cried more over my cat’s death than the end of my relationship with the manpanion. Because, I can still pick up the phone to call the manpanion.
It’s the end of an era for me. My cat was the constant in my life. Now that’s gone.
When I wrote the blog about turning “we” into “me,” I meant turning a three “we” into a two “me.” Now, it’s just the one.
Pardon the sad cat lady for a few days.