He would always claim not to like cats. His family never had cats and only the one dog. So, it’s understandable, I guess. When we bought our first house, I insisted on having both a dog and cats – two kittens we got from my sister’s farm. Randy tolerated them but I can’t say he ever got to really appreciate them. We would end up having a cat and sometimes more than one several times over the years. He insisted from time to time that he disliked cats. Yet, we’d catch him petting them from time to time – when he was in an especially good mood.
In 2003 I had to take my precious Moppet to the vet We’d had her for eleven years and she was so loved. Her kidneys had completely failed and she had to be euthanized. At the time we were moving from the East coast to Ontario. We were there about a year when Randy brought home a kitten. He said, “I know what Moppet meant to you. I know you like cats, so when we saw a notice at the grocery store for free kittens I went there and got you one.” That was “baby” we never did come up with a proper name for her. After six years in Ontario and when his health began to deteriorate, we made the decision to move back East. We couldn’t take the cat with us and had to bring her to an animal shelter. Honestly, the cat was too wild and I never did form a bond with her. But it was sweet of him to try to fill the void left in my heart when Moppet died.
In 2013 Randy was in Ontario for medical reasons and brought back another cat, Callie. She is an absolute sweetheart and has traveled everywhere with us. She had Randy wrapped around her paw long before the plane landed. She melted away any lingering doubts he had concerning cats.
This is not so much about cats but about the love this man had for me that he would bring me an animal he’d so often insisted he didn’t like. Perhaps it was mellowing with age that caused his affection for Callie. She is different from any cat I’ve ever known. One thing Randy loved was that while she would not sit on anyone’s lap she would sit with him, either curled up on his knee or perched on the arm of his recliner. His eyes would light right up when she did this.
Last week I was taking his clothes to a local charity. I’d thrown one of his winter jackets on the back of the couch. Callie came over and stuck her nose into a sleeve. I think she knows he’s gone. It hurt my heart to see her end up curling up under the jacket, as if his scent was a comfort to her.
His love lives on – in Callie, and in all the lives he touched – human and otherwise.
Perhaps he’s now petting Moppet in the great beyond.