Last night I said goodbye to Boo. My familiar, my fat cat, my little beast with rabbit paws. She magically arrived on my balcony 10 years ago, whined until I let her in, and then never left. She chose me, and I’ve adored her and protected her for a huge part of my life. No matter what awful things happened to me or how sad I was, I could nuzzle my face into her fur and she would purr to make me feel better. Last night I tried to do the same for her as the vet inserted a needle into her thin paw, still shaved from the drip she’d been on for days, her failed kidneys having done all they could.
Boo was the most uncat-like cat you’ve ever met. Sweet, loving, a true character, running to the door and mewling when I got home as if to say, “Where have you been?” She had many aunties who happily Boo-sat when I was away and adopted her as their own. People who didn’t even like animals met her and fell a bit in love with her. She could fix you with an impervious look to let you know she didn’t need your attention, but then she’d stretch out one white-socked paw as if to say, “Okay, we can be friends. Come pat me now.”
She loved her food, cuddles, drinking from the tap, lying inside cardboard boxes and on human chests. She was not adventurous, preferring to lie in a sunny spot and whine at the birds who rested on her windowsill. Her black and white fur was thick and soft, her whiskers improbably long.
I’d never had a cat before Boo. I’d loved dogs, family dogs. But I’d never had a creature who was simply part of my soul. Now I feel like I’ve lost a little piece of myself. I keep looking for her and almost finding her. I see movement out of the corner of my eye. I feel something warm by my feet while lying in bed. I hear a crunching noise of food being eaten from a bowl. I listen for a cardboard box rustle and an enquiring mewl. I reach out for her, to stroke that incredibly soft fur and feel comforted, to know that everything will be okay.
My heart is broken into a million pieces. And the only one who can make me feel better is her. I dream of her and I still can’t believe she’s not in the other room, curled up on the sofa with one little paw tucked under her. My angel Boo is gone and I miss her.
“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” – Ernest Hemingway