I haven’t really been up for writing lately. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you know that we have lost a furry member of our family, Boo. I felt as though I needed to write about her to help help my heartbreak, so I’d like to share a little about her, the life we had with her, and the pain of losing her.
My college roommates and I found Boo in our parking garage in 2003. She was just a kitten and totally emaciated, starving and scared. We decided to take her in, clean her up, feed her, and then find her a good home. We were lucky enough to know someone who worked at a veterinary clinic, so she helped us get Boo vaccinated. At the time, my roommates called her Diablita (little devil in Spanish) because she was one crazy kitten, always attacking someone’s feet, hands, or ponytail. Although she was abusive and we had all had scratches up and down our arms, we loved having her and never tried to find her a new home. She had found her place in the world, with us. Some of my favorite memories of her, are actually of the ways she drove us crazy. If you were sitting on the couch, watch out, she used to walk along the back of the sofa and swipe at ponytails or the back of your head. And if you were sitting in our wicker chair, careful, she liked to attack from the sides where there were small openings on the chair. My personal favorite was when she would pounce on my feet while I was sleeping. She would get under the covers from the foot of the bed and go nuts on your feet, clawing at your toes. Is Diablita making sense now? For the record I always called her Bebe, Boo Boo, or just Boo.
As time passed, she was still full of spunk, but she became sweeter and more comfortable with us. As the school year came to an end, the lease was up, and it was time for the roommates to part ways. It was agreed that Boo would go with our roommate, Summer. She was moving back in with her mom, and it seemed to be the most stable situation. I was moving in with a friend, but she already had two cats and I didn’t know how Boo would do. Well, on the very last moving day, Summer shared with me that her mom said no to Boo, and I clearly couldn’t give up on her now, not after everything. So, she came with me. Those two cats we lived with really taught her a thing or two. She settled down quite a bit and was nothing but a little love bug. Our next home was with my husband, but the building we chose did not allow pets. The rent was low and the location was good for school and work, so we decided to smuggle Boo into the building and make it work. Lucky for us , Boo was always a healthy cat and we only had to sneak her in and out for check ups. (Fun side note, the cat carrier we bought looked like a duffle bag, so I always just hoped that she wouldn’t meow on my way down the three flights of stairs and raise suspicion.) It worked out just fine, and we were happy there. As a matter of fact, she caught a mouse in that apartment. She was proud and I was eternally grateful. She also introduced us to her love of water and curling up in the bathroom sink there. We could turn the faucet on and she didn’t care, not one bit. She used to snuggle with us on the couch while we watched TV. She used to watch birds from our bedroom window. She would also have these crazy spurts of energy and she would dart from room to room, as fast as she could, which was pretty entertaining in 550 square feet. Although that apartment was small and in a shady neighborhood, it’s where my husband and I began our lives together and where Boo became our first family pet.
When my husband was offered a job in Washington, we decided that it was a good opportunity and jumped at the chance. We left the San Fernando Valley in a U-Haul, and Boo sat in her carrier on my lap for the entire 28 hour road trip. She was not impressed, but she was a trooper and she even cooperated enough (sort of) for a family photo. Moving to Washington was quite the adventure, but once the dust settled, it became home, and she loved having all of the room in our new big apartment. We lived in that apartment for a couple years before buying our house. On moving day, we had a big scare. Our friends that helped us move had left, and it was only my husband and our friend, Jackie. I realized that it had been awhile since we had seen Boo, and I guessed that she was hiding, having been frightened by all the commotion. We searched and searched, under furniture, in every room, and then in a real state of panic, my husband even went to look in the crawl space. Fortunately, she had found a safe place in one of our guest rooms, but when we found her, she looked up at us as though we were complete idiots. That was such a terrifying moment because the thought of her out in the world all alone worried me so much. She may have been spunky but an outdoor cat, she was not. We did try to make her an outdoor cat a few times, but each time she would sit as close as possible to the slider and meow incessantly until we let her back inside. She loved being an indoor cat. I think one of her favorite parts of indoor living was curling up under the comforter. I loved walking into our bedroom and seeing the little lump on our bed. She was so funny like that. One time we tried putting a harness on her, and she acted as if we put weights on her back. She would lie there on her belly, waiting for us to take the harness off so she could be free. From what I understand that’s a pretty common reaction for cats. One thing that I don’t hear very often is of cats licking, like dogs. Maybe a little part of Boo thought she was a dog because she used to always lick me, and even though it hurt like hell, I let her do it because it was her way of being sweet. Sometimes when we were in bed, she would lick my forehead, and she often liked to sleep on me in some way, whether it was in my arms or on my head, she liked to be touching me. It would cause such a ruckus once we got the dogs because they loved her, loved sniffing her, loved snuggling her, and most of all, loved terrorizing her. I would have to wrap Boo in my arm and hold her close so the dogs couldn’t bother her too much. Usually, once it was lights out, the dogs settled and Boo could relax and fall asleep in my arms.
I mentioned Boo’s love of water. She was notorious for trying to jump in the shower with us. You’d have to put your foot out as you opened the shower door to keep her out. That was actually one of the things that told me she wasn’t feeling well in her last couple days. She wasn’t trying to get into the shower, and she wasn’t so concerned with the things she normally enjoyed. On the day she passed, I gave her a bath in the tub and she enjoyed it, but it was then that I could see how different she was. I could see in her eyes that she wasn’t well, that she was hurting. I let her linger in the tub and let the faucet drip so she could drink some water, then I trimmed her nails and held her in a towel for a while. Once she dried off a bit, we went to the bedroom, where I tried holding her close and making her comfortable. When she couldn’t even get comfortable with me, I knew we had to take her into urgent care. My husband saw her and agreed, so we headed in right away. I won’t get into the details but the doctor called around midnight to let us know that she had kidney failure and that her prognosis was poor. I was in shock when I spoke to her and thought that I heard her wrong, so I had my husband call her back to find out what was going on, but I was right, it was the worst possible news. At the end of the day, Boo probably wouldn’t make it through the procedures and treatments, and the doctor told us that if it were her kitty, she’d put her down. It was the hardest decision we have ever had to make, and although I don’t regret it because Boo isn’t in pain anymore, my heart aches everyday. Each day since she left us, I’ve cried. Each day gets better, but her litter box, food bowl, and blanket remain in their places because I’m not ready to move them. To someone who has not had a pet, this may sound strange. She was truly a part of our family though. I held her in my arms when she was a kitten and needed to be nursed back to health, and then I held her in my arms as the doctor administered the drugs that took her away. She was my baby, she was beautiful, and she was my Boo Boo.
We are so lucky to have supportive friends and family who understand about family pet loss. We have received so much love and heard so many kind words. It will take time, but this will get easier. To anyone who has been through this, my heart goes out to you. The BGD is love. It’s everywhere in loss. Here’s to healing, and to using the sadness to become stronger and more loving.