Here is a deep dark secret, I am not a cat person. I know this secret shocks approximately no one. So way back in 2001 when I secured my first apartment I was saddened to learn my landlord did not allow dogs, and no amount of begging was going to change that. She did however allow cats. So I went to the Humane Society and picked out a big fluffy, sassy black cat who was about 1 and 1/2 years old. Her name was Clariece but I changed it to Milly and she and I started out our long friendship with a road trip all the way from Vermont to North Carolina.
I quickly learned I knew nothing about cats, my father is no fan of cats so I had never had a pet cat before. I made lots of rookie cat owner mistakes, like leaving a coffee on the table which Milly drank from then and knocked over resulting in both a sticky mess and one crazy caffeinated cat. I tried to walk her on a leash which resulted in her climbing a tree while on the leash and me standing next to a tree dumbfounded. I kept replacing the blinds when she would break them instead of just pulling them up so she could get in the window. I learned cats were not like dogs, she did not just give me her love and affection, she did not care if I was pleased with what she did or not, she cared that I kept the cat nip coming. Over time Milly and grew to love each other. I learned her quirks and she learned mine. She began to lay on my chest and make bread, come when I called and even occasionally play fetch with catnip mice. I learned not to leave coffee out and as I added more cats to our crew she accepted each one with love like a good mama cat.
Milly was with me through about 5 or 6 different apartments, she was with me on my first date with the man who would become my husband, who she approved of immediately, I think she knew he was the love of my life before I did. She saw me make some bad choices, but never condemned me only remained a calm presence in my life offering her brand of friendship and affection. She saw me make some great choices, she saw me graduate from college and get married. She moved with me from North Carolina to Maryland and went with me all the way from my first apartment with the terrible green shag carpet to my first house that had terrible green astroturf on the porch. She watched peruse my passion in ceramics at Hood College and go on to the take the scary leap to start my own business. She was there when other furry members of our crew passed away with warm fur and sweet purrs. She has been there for it all and now she's gone.
For 14 + years she has been my companion, my first friend on all my "grown up" adventures, a presence in my life I could depend on. It is hard for me to even process that she is gone, she's been with me for so long. I keep looking around the corner and expecting to see her or have her jump up at the table and beg for my yogurt like she always does. In the end she was in a lot of pain and I know we did the right thing by saying goodbye, I know she is happy and whole now in the best sunbeam you will ever find. But I miss her. I miss seeing her sleeping on her cat tree, I miss her laying on the steps and me yelling Milly are you trying to kill me, I even miss her fur everywhere, I hate knowing when I vacuum that will be the last I will see it.
As I move forward without her it is bittersweet she watched me grow from a scared teenager into a somewhat confident adult, it hurts my heart she wont be here to witness the rest of my journey. The house seems very empty today and I think it will for awhile. She was just a cat, but she had a big heart and an even bigger personality and without her the world seems a little smaller. Rest in Peace Milly cat, you were the best girl.