Family with Fur

Christian and I sometimes dream about a life without pets. No more litter boxes to scoop. No more running out of dog food at 8 o’clock at night in the middle of a torrential rainstorm. No more fur…everywhere.

This is only a dream, of course. When it comes to pets, we’re “lifers.” There’s something special about sharing our home with these troublesome albeit lovable creatures. They’re a major pain in the rump, but somehow it’s totally worth it.

Our attachment to the fur-people was made painfully clear this last week when we had to put our cat Bimbo to sleep. She battled and dominated cancer a year ago and bounced back in fine shape. But this past week, her body got the best of her, and she went downhill very quickly. Late Sunday night, we had to take her to an emergency clinic and send her off to that great catnip farm in the sky.

I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard in my life. It’s funny how ridiculously attached you can become to a critter. Bimbo was something like a child, though I didn’t fully realize how much she meant to me until she was gone. We’ve really felt her absence this week, and it’s been a melancholy time for Christian and me.

Bimbo was a wonderful kitty. We called her “Bimbo Baggins of the Shire,” and she was the perfect little hobbit—hairy feet, a tad grumpy and hungry all the time. She was also a staple fixture at the foot of our bed and had no trouble leaping up there even after she lost a hind leg to cancer.

One of my favorite memories of Bimbo was last year around Christmas time. Christian and I were piled in bed with Wyatt and Graham, and Bimbo was in her usual spot at our feet. Graham was checking her out with a look of concern and finally said, “Mommy, Bimbo needs a new brown leg. We can get her one for Christmas at Target.”

The boys always considered Bimbo “their cat.” She patiently tolerated all their brutish behavior—petting her fur in the wrong direction, schlepping her around the house, and generally disturbing her sleep. She never complained, and I loved her for it.

When we had to put Bimbo down, I was really worried about how the boys would react—especially Wyatt, who is very tender hearted. We broke the news to them at dinner the next evening, and Wyatt responded with an open-mouth look of shock for about 10 seconds followed by (of all things), “Can we get a new cat?”

Good grief. I suppose I should be thankful for the lack of tears and drama, but I was rather expecting a little more sorrow. Oh well. I suppose Christian and I shed enough tears for poor Bimbo to make up for the boys’ indifference. And I suppose we all need to move on with our lives. Missing Bimbo won’t bring her back, but I do miss her just the same. She was my good girl, my little friend, and there will always be a spot at the end of my bed for her little furry soul.

— Sarah