Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Fond Farewell to a Furry Family Member

Today the pseudo-mom of Stitch, our cat, moved on to the kitty afterlife (one hopefully filled with catnip, scratching posts, and fluffy pillows in the sunlight to lie on). Looking back, it's hard to imagine 13 years of having Mystique as a member of the family have come and gone already. It doesn't seem like all that long ago Stitch was a baby kitten chilling with Mystique (as you can see below) when I still lived with my parents. Since Stitch was rescued from near certain death as an outdoor cat, he didn't have his actual mom to take care of him, but Mystique was always happy (well, maybe not always) to hang with him and be that kinda-sorta-mommy-cat he needed.

Mystique napping with Stitch when he was a kitten

After I moved away from my parents' house, whenever I would come back home to visit, one of the things I most looked forward to was knowing Mystique would sleep with me at night. I love sleeping with pets... it's oddly comforting, and when I'd visit I would stay on the couch with Karma, my parents' dog, sleeping next to me, and Mystique would either lie on top of me or in the crook of my knee. It was quite the packed couch, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm sure my parents thought I was a little nuts for not sleeping in one of the guest room beds, but staying on the couch guaranteed me some quality resting time with the pets.

It's tough getting attached to pets. Everyone who is a pet person says they're just like a member of the family. I've always tried to brush that statement off, trying to listen to the logic that they're "just pets", but I've spent many loving moments, days, and years with each of mine and my family's pets to know logic is simply wrong in this case. There were so many moments that it's hard not to think of them as little, furry additions to the family. Days where I would want nothing to do with the outside world, couldn't talk to anyone (or didn't want to), and was just down for no particular reason, I would (and still do) always feel 100% comfortable sitting with Stitch or Pooh or Tori, nothing being said, just them being with me and I with them, an unspoken comfort shared between us.

There were a lot of days after college, as I was living with my parents, adjusting to the real world and suffering through the post-college doldrums, that I needed unspoken moments of comfort from Mystique and the other family pets. Even though I've not lived with my parents in years and I haven't been able to visit as much as I used to, I still find myself struggling to accept Mystique's passing in part because I fight change with every fiber of my being, partially because death simply sucks, and partially because I hate the thought of her not being at home the next time I visit, which really bums me the heck out. She was a sweet pet, a very much loved family member, and I will cherish the memories and times we shared. Farewell, Mystique...

Mystique tolerating Stitch's hyper kitten tendencies

The two at rest in their favorite chair

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