Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened-Anatole France

When I was about 7 years old is the first time that my family had a pet. He was an orange cat that started hanging out at my dad’s mechanic shop. He had no collar and seemed hungry. The guys started taking turns feeding him, then taking him home at night, until finally one night, my dad took him home to stay with our family and he never left. His name was Eugene and he was considered my dad’s cat.

Well, technically, the first pet that I ever was around was my grandparents’ dog, Lucky. Apparently my mom, aunt and uncle begged to have him and promised to take care of him, and then…my grandparents ended up taking care of him. He was the prince of the house. My grandpa built him a heated doghouse even. I use to spend a lot of time at my grandparents when I was little and would sleep in Lucky’s dog bed. I am told he was very patient with me, poor little guy.

The second pet I had was a cat I named Nermal (yes, I loved Garfield comics). She looked like Nermal and Eugene was orange, like Garfield, so…! One day, my mom and I came home and I was first in the door. I said, Mom! There’s a cat in here. She said, Yessss….we have a cat. I said, this one is grey and black!! On the table, my dad had written a note and said he’d explain when he got home. My recollection of the story was that my dad would walk to work and also home for lunch. Along the way, he saw this cat in a yard and the dog that was there would hit the cat around and basically be mean to the cat. My dad knocked on the door and told the owner what was happening. The owner essentially said, So? My dad kept walking by this house and saw it happening and decided, This person does not deserve to have a cat if they don’t care about their well-being. So…we gained a 2nd cat. Nermal use to sleep with me at night. I had a waterbed, so both cats loved being in there. But, even before that, they’d both sleep with me.

We loved playing with Eugene and Nermal. There were literally hours and hours of fun, watching them tear around the house, chasing a string. A memory I remember the most is when we’d put a brown paper bag on the floor and then poke at it. They were so hilarious when they’d poke their paws through.

My third pet was a cat I named Sylvester…you guessed it…after Tweety and Sylvester. I never liked Tweety…I found him annoying. I’d secretly root for Sylvester. Plus, my cat Sylvester had the same markings. At first, I suggested calling him Blacky. Very original. Haha. My dad was like, Um no. Think some more. Sylvester was the size of a beer can when we first got him. I can still remember sitting on my bed, reading one day (which is where I was very often) and hearing this mewing sound. Then my mom came into my room with the kitten and I’m pretty sure that I cried. He was so tiny!

All 3 of those cats died being hit by cars on the busy road we lived on. In fact, Sylvester was a 2nd one after Nermal died, right after we just moved there. I remember at the time Nermal had been catching birds and dragging them into the house. My dad got her a collar with a bell. He had just put it on and the next morning, I woke up and saw that the collar wasn’t on her. I thought it was strange until I saw my mom and she was crying and said that Nermal had been hit by a car and died. My dad buried her in our backyard.

We had a fourth cat, Eugena. (Très original, I know 😉 You probably guessed it’s because she looked just like Eugene (but a bit lighter orange). One day, my parents went up to a city an hour away and I guess there was a display by the SPCA in the mall. My parents had driven up there in our MG Midget convertible that my dad had built from only the base. It was a two-seater, but that didn’t stop them from falling for Eugena and sticking her box right behind their seats (that’s where I use to sit too, when we’d go for drives! Haha). So, we had another cat (Eugene, Sylvester, and Eugena).

It was sad when our cats passed away. They felt like they were a part of the family. I think that sometimes people feel more attached to their pets than to family members! Obviously it’s a very different relationship. I think people love pets because of the perceived unconditional love from them (even cats). 😉

My dad just messaged saying that he and his partner euthanized his partner’s dog Jade today. She was a sweet, beautiful, soft-eared, lovely dog, but he said she was having a hard time walking and she was very anxious when she was left home alone. As both of them work, she was left alone every day. She seemed like she wasn’t enjoying life and was old. I felt sad hearing it! Even though I never lived with her, I liked seeing her when I visited.

A distant family member also passed away today, from cancer. I didn’t know him well (I only met him twice as he lived in Italy). I still felt sad. He was a funny and loving man, who left a caring wife and daughter.

To me, the loss of a loved one, whether it be a pet or a human, is hard. It reminds me to enjoy every moment that we have here! Sometimes I forget. In the middle of me writing this, one of the babies that I am helping care for woke up. At first I was like, Damn! I was on a roll writing! I picked him up and came back to the rocking chair and rocked him. He quickly fell back asleep. I looked at him and remembered…these are the moments. Cherish these moments! I have a small, precious being here, right now, in my arms. Enjoy this! The writing will still be there! My goal is to try to find joy in every moment of my life. xo



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