Moly Trummer-Keys, born April 1 (estimated), 1997, died January 1, 2017. She was given up by some idiot when she was a year and a half old and named "Brownie." I fell in love with the friendly, perky, tiny little tortie through the cage bars at the rescue center, and adopted her the day I moved into my first proper post-college apartment. I was 24. We were together for the next eighteen years, whether in a tiny efficiency apartment in Madison or across the country in San Diego with the addition of Ken (and then Toeffe, and then Penny).
Moly tipped the scales at around five pounds. She had two brain cells, one devoted to being petted and the other to licking things. And somehow, packed into that tiny head was the sweetest, perkiest, most lovable being I have ever met. She was dumb as a box of rocks, but she had so much personality. I'm not even sure she knew she was a cat; presented with a feather on a stick, she'd ignore the feather but happily chew the string. She diligently licked the telephone, the mirror, our noses, the stairway railing, our desktops, our pillows, and the couch, if not stopped. Her hoarse little meow was sometimes mistaken for a hiss; she loved to talk, and would eagerly hold lengthy conversations of whispered meows. (We whisper-meowed back, of course.) She had to be taught, patiently, over the course of years, that Pounce treats were in fact edible food. (But we eventually got through to her. She ate five this morning.) She liked to socialize with our heads, perhaps because they were close to her size, and would often sit on the back of the couch while we watched TV, gradually cuddling into my neck.
It was hard to pet Moly to the point where she considered herself adequately petted and did not want more, but I tried. Every morning when I woke up she'd pop up perkily, meow at me, and lead me to my desk for a petting session. God forbid I try to walk anywhere else.
For such a loving cat, she wasn't a big purrer. She had only the tiniest, breathiest purr, and it was only unleashed under very specific circumstances. Ken knew just the purr spot to scratch on the back of her head; I never quite got the hang of that one. But sometimes she'd honor me with a little rattle under her breath.
She wasn't much of a bed cat, but once, a year or so ago, I woke up to her cuddling in the crook of my neck, purring right into my ear. I didn't get up for work on time that day.
She'd been getting old for a long time; I'd always dared to hope she'd make it to 18, and then go suddenly in her sleep with no lengthy illness beforehand. And she did make it to 18 -- even to 19, with only minor ailments. On her 19th birthday, I didn't dare ask the universe for 20, but still, she fell only a few months short. That last year was hard, though, with arthritis and kidney disease and then, in late summer, cancer. Her activities were gradually curtailed until she spent all her time on her blanket and heating pad. She developed urinary tract infections, and anemia, and pressure sores on her heels. We treated as much as we could, tried to keep her happy, but finally it reached the point where it was all just too much for her.
I've had good cats. I've even had special cats. But saying goodbye to Moly is probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do. My only comfort is that it was done well -- a mobile vet came to us, and Moly had no fear, no more pain. She got to lie on her blanket, on her heating pad, in the corner where she'd decided to spend her last months. I wanted her to die in her sleep, and that's basically what happened.
But she's gone, and I miss her like I'd miss my heart, and forgive me if I'm having a hard time with new year memes. I hope 2017 has not begun as it will go on. My first dollar spent this year went to help the most beloved cat I've ever known leave this life. I hope none of this is meaningful. I'm grateful for the last months we were granted together, and for all the times in the preceding years that I said, well, I don't know how long we'll have, so I'm going to sit here and pet this cat as long as she wants. So, please, go pet a cat in memory of Moly.