October 22, 2012 § 1 Comment
I saw him at the local animal shelter being held by the head by a small girl. He didn’t want to be held that way.
He didn’t scratch her, or even cry out. He just squirmed. And I knew. I don’t even know how I knew, I just did. He was a small kitten, he was barely two months old, an orange tabby barely large enough to even be handled. My wife wanted a different pet – she had her heart set on a small chihuahua – but I knew the second I saw that little cat feebly struggling in that girl’s clutching hands that he was what I wanted. There was a sort of shared pain between us, I understood it even if I couldn’t and can’t articulate it. Orphans together, I knew he had to come home with us and I forced it to happen.
We brought him home to find that he was sick. He had bad incontinence, and had completely soiled the little cardboard carrying box he’d come home in, so that we had to destroy it. He took a trip to the vet, and slowly he improved. Put on weight quickly, romped around the house chasing our other cats. He loved Puck instantly, and wanted to emulate Aurora every chance he got. He cooed and started. Neither my wife nor her mother could handle him with complete impunity – he’d scratch and bite out of kittenish energy – but I could. I would pick him up and he would quiet in my arms instantly.
I haven’t loved an animal as unreservedly as I have Sasquatch. I love Aurora, but she’s unabashedly my wife’s cat. And Puck, for all that she often desperately licks my beard in a burning need for love, is just her own unique creature, a cat who decides if and when she’ll love you at any particular moment. Sasquatch just somehow got into my heart, perhaps by nestling into my legs when he decides to sleep in the bed with us, perhaps with the hugely wide-eyed stare he greets the world with, perhaps by his constant inability to do anything but nearly get himself killed by escaping the house, eating what he shouldn’t, or climb what he shouldn’t climb. This is a cat who has had nothing but risk in his life.
Sasquatch is currently very ill. People have been very generous, and I wanted to take a moment and explain why I felt I could ask for what I did for him when I’d never ask it for myself. I love him, you see. But it’s more than loving him – anyone can love their pet. In the year I’ve had Sasquatch, he’s managed to make me remember who I was over two decades ago – he’s done for me what previously only my wife has managed to do, and made me understand that I do love. I’ve loved Puck, and Aurora, but it was Sasquatch who made me admit it to myself, that I did love them, that I could love them. That I could love small, ultimately helpless little bundles of life in the face of how ridiculous it might be.
I couldn’t leave him there. I had to bring him home. And now, if I get the chance to bring him home again, it will be because you all helped us.
I’ll be awake all night, waiting to hear one way or another. Thank you for helping us.
I love him. He’s a small orange cat who likes to sleep on me, and he’s kept me up nights since I got him. I can only hope he’ll get to do so again.