So I have this cat at home. His name is Lucky. Some of you might know Lucky; he has been with our family for… what… almost 15 years now? I remember so clearly the day we got him and his brother, Frisky, who died several years ago. We were still living in Raleigh and there was this Italian restaurant called Giluigi’s that we went to every week, sometimes twice a week. Of course all the waitresses knew us well, so when one of them had a cat who had kittens, she brought the news to my parents. We had had a cat before, named Tiger, who was my first pet. Tiger was perfect in every way, and we all loved him very much. However he was hit by a car when he was just a few years old, so we had to put him to sleep. Anyway, my parents were open to the idea of getting a new cat, but of course they had two children, and each of us had to have our own cat. So we went to see the kittens once they were old enough to be separated from their mother, and I instantly fell in love with this little orange fur ball. He was actually promised to someone else, but once the girl saw how much I loved him she could not say no to me. So we took him, and his little gray brother, home with us that day.
I got the pleasure of naming him. Of course when you are 9 years old, “Lucky” sounds like a perfectly fine name to give a cat, so there you have it. Anna was slightly more creative and bestowed the little gray one with the name “Frisky,” and it was convenient because the names rhymed. Thus began life with Lucky and Frisky Crawley.
As we got to know them better, it became apparent that Frisky was definitely the smarter and more attentive of the two, and Lucky turned out to be quite lucky indeed. Thus it was strange when Frisky was hit by a car, and that Lucky has made it to the ripe old age of 15. Like any pet, he is adored by the family, and everything he does has so much more significance to us than he probably ever intends it to. For example, whenever we come home, he always has to be the first one in the door to the garage… to eat, of course, because it is probably the highlight of his day. However, we always playfully fuss at him for his impatience, more because it gives us all something to laugh and talk about than because we actually care. And then there was the time my mom left for a trip to China, and while she was gone Lucky got extra attention from my dad (including some illegal visits inside the house). When my mom returned and he no longer received the attention he felt he deserved, he left a little present in her slippers: cat litter. Clean cat litter, but cat litter nonetheless. How he got it all the way from the litter box across the garage to her slippers remains a mystery, because it is not like cats have opposable thumbs or anything. We still laugh about that to this day.
Today I received an email from my dad that Lucky has a tumor in his nose that is invasive. He will have to be put to sleep today. There is something about the death of a pet that hits you in a place in your heart that you never really realized existed. Even though I have not been home much in the last several years, Lucky was always still “my cat.” I am so much more heartbroken at this news than I ever thought I would be. It is especially tough when you don’t get to say goodbye. My only consolation is knowing that my dad is taking good care of him in his last hours, though I can imagine that it is quite hard on him. He really loves Lucky very, very much.
It is funny when you talk to other people about losing pets because oftentimes you can sympathize with them for a minute or two, but then you kind of brush it off. After all, it is not like they were a person, right? However, when it is your own pet that is dying, it is completely different. There is a surprisingly profound sadness, knowing that they will not be there to greet you when you get home. There will be no reason to buy more food for them, or make sure they have a warm place to sleep. Though I will consent that it is not the same as losing a human that you love, they are still a member of your family, and that is not an insignificant thing. Lucky will certainly be missed by everyone at the Crawley house.