I once had two cats. They came to me in another life- in a different home, filled full of youth, independence, and personal drive. Their arrival taught me my first adult lesson in the true responsibility and amazing joy of dependent love.
Not long into our relationship, I began a transformation, into a new life. They cocooned me with love, helped usher me into the life I lead today- motherhood- and came with me. My cats always were everything we needed. In the early stage of parenting, they gracefully left center stage. Wilhelminaplein (Willy), our female cat, became the ultimate cat. She truly showed me what a “tiger mom” could be all about. Once when we were sitting on our porch a random golden retriever showed up (not common). Willy took it upon herself to defend us, attacked the dog, and won. 15 pound cat vs. golden retriever. Another time we watched her catch a bird, who earlier had been swooping down at my toddlers, in mid-flight. Job done. But never once did our skilled huntress, who was fully clawed, scratch our children, whom often pulled her tail, stepped on a paw, or threw snow on her. She peacefully passed in the night several years ago. We loved her.
Jinxi The Cat, our male cat, was something else. Where Willy was a Tiger Mom, Jinxi… I am not sure how to describe. He was special. First, he was striking- part Maine Coon and in his glory days weighed in at 32 pounds, without one fat roll on him. Just huge. He was a proud cat, but that part of him was more lion than domestic. He also I swear was part dog. He would pant, in his earlier years he would go on walks with me (tail straight up), he was friendly to everyone. And, although I know it’s not possible, part human. This 32 pound, fully clawed cat allowed my children to dress him up and push him in a doll baby stroller. My husband and I would trim his nails by having him give me a bear hug, with my husband standing behind me, paws right by my face, while he cut his razor sharp nails. Not scratched once.
Early this past spring, I could see that Jinxi was aging. A little more food left on his plate, a little more fur balls found in the garage, a lot more time spent napping (even for a cat). He always purred, always gave love, and he knew I wasn’t ready, so he gave me his strength to hold on. You see I am in another transformation right now. I’m still a mom- that never ends- but my kids are getting older, more independent. I have really enjoyed his company mid-day while the boys are at school. What my own family doesn’t really know, is that lately while they are at work and school, our outdoor cat comes in. He likes to sniff around, he likes to look at himself in the mirror, but mostly he likes to be by me while I work. And then Jinxi seemed to rally, he had made it through the summer- he hates the heat- and I thought we were out of the woods…until this week. There is no need to go into details, except for one. The people at the Edwardsville Pet Hospital in Edwardsville, IL treated Jinxi and I with more compassion than I could ever have hoped for. They fit us in when needed, treated us with kindness, and consoled with sincerity. I am grateful. Today I was blessed with the opportunity to cocoon Jinxi in love, while he made a transformation of his own. In the end, Jinxi was filled with cancer and a weakening heart. Cancer is common among older cats, and there is no doubt why his heart was weak- he gave all of his to us. I love you so much my big cat.
To show our gratitude to the Edwardsville Pet Hospital, this week we will donate all of the profits we generate from selling the "Namastay With My Cat" top to them. And Cat People, you are one of us, please also enjoy our "Foxy Cat" top too.