11 July, 1999 to 17 April, 2015
He had a variety of nicknames, but the one that stuck was “Pu” (short for Emperor Pu An Yu). His father was a Godknows out for a night on the town. His mother was a long haired lilac-point Siamese belonging to the then daughter-in-law of my then landlord and his wife. They owned the apartment building where I lived for over 21 years, longer than I have lived anywhere else. That building is no more, pulled down to make way for the building of the Marsha Sharp Freeway. Where it was is now the deli section of a Market Street supermarket.
When I had Stormy put down in March of 2015, it was because she was dying of kidney failure. That left me with two cats, Jaks and Pu, who was 15 going on 16, but was still healthy and active. The reality of that situation was it cost $20 a day per cat to board cats at Petsmart’s pet hotel and my then 91-year-old mom wanted me to drive her places, to visit relatives and friends. She would pay to board one cat, but not two. I had Pu, my wingman, put down a month after I had to say goodby to my baby girl, Stormy. That left me with Jaks, the black one I lost in January of 2018. He was 11 when I had him put down also, right at the start of this horrible year. He was badly overweight, had been getting clingy and very stressed by having to be boarded, and it was as if I somehow knew I was going to have a heart attack less than a month later, and be hospitalized four times over the next five months and be one sick puppy for most of the first half of the year. It was time for him to go and it was the first time in 21 years that I had been without a cat. Yeah, I miss all of them, including my first two, Shadow whom I lost to osteosarcoma in 2004 and Jett whom I lost to diabetes in 2009, but Pu is the one I regret. I could have kept Pu.
What brought all this on was I dreamed about him last night, ol’ Pu. My wingman. The one that followed me from room to room, content to be where ever I was, gruff, crotchety, opinionated ol’ curmudgeon that he was. I dreamed he was living with my former landlord and his wife, and that I got to visit him there. I was so glad to see him again. I picked him up and held him in my lap and petted him and loved on him. It was a dream of sensory memories, of having him to hold again. The feel of his fur, the weight of his body, that one whisker (his wild hair) that grew in a quirky direction. I started crying about the second sentence of this post, looking through my pictures of him, remembering his taste for paper, his thing about boxes, his puffy-fluffy, eloquent plume of a tail, the tufts of fur between his pink paw pads and his splendidly long whiskers. Remembering that time it rained on his house. He was a part of my life for almost 16 years. I had him longer than I had any of the other ones. He’s the one I regret. I could have kept him.