A few months ago we adopted a kitten.
True to his namesake, Willie Nelson is a mellow, laid-back version of any other cat who made their way into my life.
At nine and a half years old, we figured Leonard Cohen (our older cat), would be a wonderful mentor, and train the wee one in the ways of catdom.
Since all of my cats have lived well past fifteen, Willie Nelson would also grow to be the caretaker to faithful old Leonard as Leonard was to Whiskey.
But that wasn’t to be the case. Poor old Leonard was taken from us this weekend very suddenly. He had yet to teach Willie Nelson the art of napping quietly on my bed, stretching out on my belly while I read, or curling up on the footstool while I meditatively stitch my needlework.
There’s something about an old cat. Well, something about my Leonard anyway. We were attached at the ankle as soon as I woke up,and as soon as I walked through the door from work.
Leonard was everywhere I was. He saw me through broken hearts, surgeries, and long bouts of gut-hollowing sadness.
Leonard had a man radar that I could only hope to have; he knew the good ones from the bad ones with just a few short passes around their legs. He knew when I was sick or sad or just plain tired out, and he loved me unfailingly despite my shortcomings.
Friday night, just after he left us, I curled up in my soft flannel sheets and cried.
I missed the bulk of my big, fifteen pound mass of kitty fur and purring. For nine and half years Leonard stretched out on my tummy while I read just before falling asleep. I only had to say, “Ok, Leonard” and he knew it was time for lights out and to crawl onto the passenger side of the bed.
I feel an echoing ache whenever I think of my old pal, and I miss him terribly.
Willie Nelson seems no worse for wear, batting around toys and chasing his tail until he collapses in a heap of legs, tail and ears, and falling into a deep sleep like only a kitten can. One day Willie Nelson will grow out of his bouncy kitten curiosity and take to the ways of an old lap-cat.
I remember Leonard’s kitten antics; setting his tail on fire (not once, but twice), falling into the toilet, falling into the bath (while I was in it), and doing flying stunts from the top of bookshelves.
We’ll always miss old Leonard. He was a once in a lifetime feline friend.