Just as the sunrise was peaking this morning we said good-bye to our first family pet – Tom, our cat.
When we moved to BFE in the fall of 2006, we had a rodent problem in our garage. But soon, winter arrived and the nasty rodents hibernated … until spring 2007.
“We need to get a cat,” I remember telling Seth.
I’ve never been a cat person. I had only one dog growing up – a Golden Retriever named Jake.
Cats scared me; and they knew it. One time, as a teenager, I spent the night at my girlfriend’s house and her cat slept on my head. And then, a couple of years ago, I spent the night at another friend’s house and her cat also thought my head was its bed.
I’m not drawn to cats. They are drawn to me.
Clearly, I was a “cat person” without knowing it.
When we brought the two cats home, our only child at the time picked their names – Tom and Jerry, after his favorite cartoon characters.
As the years passed by, we realized Tom was really a dog in a cat’s body. Everywhere we went, he was there; and he was an outdoor cat.
Walks in the “Back 40” became our nightly activity. He would collapse at my feet, expecting a rub; and I obliged. I would sit on our picnic table under the apple tree and he climbed up. I would sit and watch the kids ride their bikes on our two-seated bench and he would jump up and literally sit on my legs.
When Seth pulled his truck in the garage, Tom jumped on the hood. The daily game was on – Seth covered the hood with an old blanket and Tom would hide underneath until Seth tapped his fingers, calling him out. Then, Seth would give him treats.
The first time Tom “met” the twins, I threw him – but that’s because he jumped inside the stroller carrying the twins and began sniffing. I freaked out; but looking back, I know he was just getting to know the new family members.
He was our protector. He would sit in the garage or pavement, just watching the kids. Sure, he was the occasional bird and rodent hunter, but for the most part, he was a domestic cat who adored his family.
And that’s what we were to him – his family. He is still part of our family. He is buried underneath the white birch tree in our backyard – in a part of the yard he loved to roam.
In the next few months, we agree to bring two more cats into our home.
And, I was the one who suggested this idea. The woman who never called herself a “cat person” now has a heart for cats.