I found my cat, Teenie, sometime around my 21st birthday. I don’t remember if it was a few days before or after my actual birthday. It doesn’t really matter.
What I remember is that I was living off-campus in a house that I rented with two other girls. There was an ice storm, and I came home really late, like at 3 a.m. (I don’t remember why I was out so late – again, doesn’t really matter.) As I was walking up to the front door, I saw something run from the front porch. It was dark out, and the blob that I saw running was so tiny, I thought it was a squirrel. Then I thought I heard a meow. Just to be safe, I said, “Here, kitty-kitty-kitty?” She came running to me.
I searched all over the neighborhood for her owners. It quickly became apparent that someone had dumped her during the ice storm, probably figuring she wouldn’t last through the night. My parents told me that they were already helping to support my living expenses while I was in college, and I was not allowed to keep a cat. I lied and told them that my roommate had decided to keep her. But Teenie was mine from the moment I found her.
(For the record, she got her name because compared to my roommate’s three humongous cats, she was this wee little kitten, so she was, quite literally, teenie.)
I’ve had Teenie for over 15 years now. She’s moved all over the country with me. I found her in Memphis, TN, but she’s lived in Mississippi, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Washington, and North Carolina. She travels like a champ. I used to joke that she needed her own frequent flyer account for all the times she flew home with me.
When Catie was born, Teenie would stand guard in front of me while I was nursing her, and hiss/growl/swat at anyone who came near me and the baby. That included Dave too. She just knew that Catie was “ours.” The same was true with Lucy, too.
Teenie hasn’t been doing well for a while, and her health has taken a serious turn for the worse in the past couple of days.
This is part of the deal with pets, right? They typically live shorter lives than their owners. And it’s horrible and heart-breaking, but that’s what you sign up for when you adopt a pet.
I’m having Teenie put to sleep this afternoon. It’s a horrible decision to have to make, but it’s time. She’s been a really good cat and a great companion, and I will miss her terribly.
I don’t know what else to say. I’m just really damn sad about it.
May you rest in peace, Teenie. I hope Kitty Heaven is full of bologna and cheese.