On Tuesday, I lost my cat of 20 years named "Vida." I got her when I was a Spanish graduate student and she was my first pet. She was a calico cat with personality, who hated other animals, but loved people. She would always flop down and show people her tummy when they came and visited.
I got Vida from a shelter. I was looking for a black cat, for some reason. She was in the last of the rooms and when I went over to her, she put her paws around my neck and wouldn't let go. I was sold. This began my belief that it's best when animals choose people, not the other way around.
I always had thought of myself as a "dog" person. I grew up in rural WI, where we always had dogs. We always had backyards, too. So living in the big city of Chicago and with my schedule, it made more sense to get a cat. I never thought about how it would end; I never thought about outliving her. I just assumed we'd always be together.
Vida had personality, but she wasn't perfect. She used to bite me, which wasn't so bad, but she would twist my skin when she bit so I would have these huge bruises. I teasingly told people I was in an abusive relationship. I'd try to discipline her, but she'd run off. Many times she'd bit me in the middle of the night when I was sleeping so it would come out of nowhere. Years later, I moved in with my then girlfriend and her two cats and I think the other cats gave Vida some of her own treatment, because she stopped biting.
She had been deteriorating over the past 6 months: she lost a lot of weight and she couldn't eat anything but baby food without throwing up. I got really worried about two months ago and took her to the vet, afraid he would recommend putting her down. He didn't though. He said her heart had a murmur in it, but her tests came back healthy.
Through it all, she never lost her spirit. She never purred, but she would meow. She got up when I came home, creekily, but right away and she loved the baby food I gave her: going through 4 jars of "Turkey and Gravy" a day.
On Tuesday, May 31st, I came home and found her dead. And my world stopped with it. I'm so grateful I didn't have to put her down, but I wasn't ready-- and I'm not ready-- to let her go. If you are still reading this, would you please tell me where her spirit is? I miss her, but it would help to know she's in a safe and happy place. People talk about the afterlife for people, but not pets. She wasn't a perfect pet, but I wasn't a perfect owner. I had a lot to learn and she taught me a lot. I want to know where she is and if she knows I love her. But I do. I'm not sure about my love for a lot of things in this world, but I am 100% sure of my love for her.
She was my "Vida" is so many ways and I miss her so much.