I remember when we picked him out. He lay there, stretched out in the kennel. Every time we'd pass, he'd reach his paw out and pat us. So sweet and insistent. Determined.
Less than six months old, he'd already been turned in to the pound twice. Abandoned. Adopted. Discarded.
He became a part of our lives. Goofy. Pushy. Hungry. Always hovering near or checking in on the food bowl. He grew so fast that, at one point, we had to take him to the vet because his harness had dug in before we'd realized it.
That cat was a walking, talking learning curve.
While he was everyone's cat, he was, truly, my familiar. He spent his time near me, on me, biting me. He liked to sleep on my head, on my back, between my knees. He liked to sleep between me and the edge of the bed, the door to the room.
He was skittish. Easily spooked. My own Courage the Cowardly Dog, he did his level best to stand between me and the things that go bump in the night. He liked to climb into our bedroom window when the crazy shit went down in the 'hood.
SweetPea was not a fan of this particular trait. The blinds would not always close properly after his wide ass, leaving SweetPea to discover herself bare assed to the world through gaping holes in the blinds.
He ruled Gomi. All puffed up with one paw in the air, Gomi would dodge and dart. If she got too close, she got it on the nose.
He loved to go outside. He'd race out the front door at any opportunity, only to skitter the 15 feet to the driveway and cower under a vehicle.
I fucking loved that cat.
We stopped free feeding the cats. Instead, putting down a serving for each one. We found and fortified all the ways he was sneaking meals.
We brought home a dog that would not be intimidated by him. A loud, angry, cat hating dog.
I don't think we realized it was happening, but my sweet, skittish cat became unwilling to traverse the dog's territory to get to the kitchen where meals were served. In fairness, our cats tend to operate in secret, when the house is quiet, so you just believe everything is normal.
Even when he started losing weight. Wasn't that what putting him on a diet was for? He lost weight, but never became alarmingly thin.
Maybe I should have known something was wrong.
I should have known something was wrong.
In the end, I failed him.
All he wanted was to love me, protect me, eat my hair.
And I failed him.
I should have protected him. I should have known. I should have taken better care of him. I should have been more observant.
And, yes. Sometimes I feel like I should never have brought that dog home.
But I can't take it back. Any of it.
I failed him.
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