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C is for Chloe

Chloe: Best Friend For Life.

This is a sad story with a happy ending.

The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was let go of my cat, Dusty. I adopted Dusty when he was so tiny that he could stand in the palm of my hand. I had to feed him kitten formula with an eyedropper. He was my baby, something tiny and small to take care of. He was also the first animal who was really and truly mine, without my parents’ supervision.

Dusty and I went through it all together–the soaring elation and the desperate lows of my twenties. He stood by me as I kicked my jerk boyfriends to the curb (they all seemed to be jerks back then), and he woke me up when my alarm clock didn’t do the job. He would sit up on my lap like a baby, and when anyone dared to say he could stand to lose a few pounds, he would tell them off with a loud meow. That cat understood English, but he would not deign to speak it.

If I ever thought about Dusty’s old age, I pictured a plump grey cat sleeping in a sunbeam, a wise kitty smile upon his face. But such was not to be. When he was only twelve–far too soon to lose him–he got very sick. Countless vets and thousands of dollars in treatment and medication could not save my best friend. And finally, I made the most painful decision of my life. I had to let him go.

Two months later, my boyfriend at the time took me to the Humane Society to pick out a cat for my birthday. He worried that it was too soon, but almost instantly I fell in love with this big grey puffball I named Merlin. Merlin had the face of a Dr. Seuss character. He was quiet and elegant, and would sit in my lap for hours upon hours, purring away.

All was well until a month later, when Merlin stopped eating.

At first I thought that he had to be eating when I was at work–he just wasn’t eating around me. But then he began to lose weight. I called my vet, thinking she would tell me he had a sore tooth or something minor.

Sadly, she told me he had advanced liver disease. She whisked him away to the animal hospital, and the next time I saw him it was to say goodbye.

It was too much. My heart felt like it had shattered into a million pieces. Was I cursed? Was every cat brought into my life doomed to die an untimely death?

In an effort to cheer me up, my vet insisted on showing me a litter of kittens available for adoption. One caught my eye immediately. She was a fluffy white thing, cute as could be, but that wasn’t what swayed me. When all the other kittens went dutifully back into their kennel, she fought to be free, clinging onto the bars like one of those Garfields with the suction cups.

This cat had spirit. This cat was full of life. I fell in love with her at first sight. But still, I was scared. What if something happened to her? I couldn’t take another tragedy.

One of my friends told me his favourite show featured a superhero named Chloe, whose power was bringing people back to life.

My Chloe has done that and more for me.

We’ve formed an unshakable bond that scares me with its strength. If I’m at home, she is always with me, and you can’t give this cat enough cuddles. She is a mischievous, affectionate, fluffy love sponge.

I can’t imagine my life without her. I once told a coworker that I was afraid of how much I love her; if something happens to Chloe, I will just fall apart. And she said something I’ll never forget.

“That’s what pets are for. You’re supposed to love them too much.”

And so it is with me and Chloe. Call me a crazy cat lady, but my animal friends have enriched my life more than any job, adventure, or opportunity ever could.

So C is for Chloe.

She would like that.

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21 Comments

  1. Chrys Fey

    Chloe is adorable!

    RIP Dusty and Merlin!

    Reply
  2. Lisa

    Holli..When I first moved to the city one of the first things I did after moving into my apartment was head to the Humane Society to adopt a kitten. Like your description of Chloe, my kitten was sitting by the bars, staring at me and mewing as I walked from cage to cage…I just couldn’t ignore him… :0( Sid spent the next 5 years with me until I met my now-ex-husband. He was allergic to cats but never told me and sucked it up each time he spent time with me at my place. When we got engaged and decided to move in together he told me that he was really allergic to cats. Because I was in love I had to choose between cat and man. Looking back I should have kept the cat but that is neither here nor there. My brother was able to take Sid so I was able to visit and cuddle as much as I wanted whenever I wanted. I still missed him terribly… Sid lived a long and spoiled life with my brother and his wife. When my husband and I split I vowed to not even consider dating a guy unless he had a cat. I love animals… a lot.
    Needless to say there is a cat in my current life…Squeaks will be 19 years old next month. She was my husband’s but adopted me when we moved in together. He calls her my cat now because she basically ignores him when I am around. I know she doesn’t have a lot of years left in her, so each and every day is special…just like her.

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks for your comment, Lisa. I’m so glad you were able to find Sid a good home, as hard as it was to give him up. I’ve seen so many animals abandoned at the shelter for that very reason–children being allergic is a big one.

      The Boy is allergic to cats too, and at first I figured we’d just be friends. But he loves them and was willing to adapt. He had a hard time with his allergies at first, but now they rarely bother him. We really got lucky!

      I’m glad you were able to find a new furry friend. They add so much to our lives. Wish they lived as long as we did.

      Reply
  3. Jess * Jessie * Jessy

    Beautiful, Holli. I really enjoyed this post and can identify. My sweetie-pie passed away on Thanksgiving morning seven years ago. Her name was Ramona. 🙂 Sometimes I see her shadow dashing across the floor and wonder if there’s such a thing as ghost cats. I wish!

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      I think there is. I still see Dusty out of the corner of my eye sometimes, and the cats will suddenly look at the stairs as if something was there. They will even track whatever it is they can see.

      Sorry to hear about Ramona. The hardest part about loving animals is letting them go. <3

      Reply
  4. Rhonda Parrish

    Chloe is gorgeous 🙂 I’m glad she came into your life just when you needed her.

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Me too. I completely agree about empty houses. It’s like Garth Brooks’ song “The Dance”…it’s painful, but we wouldn’t have given up the bad times to save ourselves the pain.

      I’ll definitely read your story. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
  5. Charity Bradford

    Awe! What a wise friend too. Pets are for loving too much. Why? Because that’s how they love us. Wholely, (is that a word?) completely without any reservations. I’ve never had cats, but my dogs are like my children. The ones that don’t talk back and don’t grow out of the cuddling stage.

    So glad you’ve got Chloe now!

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Charity. They’re four-legged balls of unconditional love, that’s what they are. My cats are my babies and always will be…but dogs are pretty great too!

      Reply
  6. Christine

    What a lovely post! Also, I have a cat named Chloe too. 🙂

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks for your comment, Christine! Isn’t it a beautiful name? I have another named Sophie–two French girls!

      Reply
  7. melaniegobledvm

    I am a veterinarian and I cry for every pet that is euthanized. I hug those left behind (if they let me). I celebrate the lives that we have shared. I am sorry the losses that you have experienced, but something I have learned is that the right animal (dog, cat, hedgehog, whatever) will come into your life for the right reason. I see so many people that have a line of sick animals, and I firmly believe that those animals are with those people because they need each other. People do what they can, and sometimes it isn’t enough for us, but it is enough for the critters. Take care and God bless.

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Wow, your comment brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for saying that, Melanie. I am going to believe that, because it will help me heal.

      The vet who helped us say goodbye to Dusty left me alone with him for a while afterwards. The poor thing was down to three pounds. I picked him up in my arms and just held him and cried. Poor kitty. It was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do, because he fought for life even in his last moments, but there was no way I was letting him go through that without me.

      Thank you for the work you do, and for your kindness.

      Reply
  8. Steven

    There’s a special bond with animals, something that goes far beyond what science can ascertain.

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      I completely agree, Steven. And, while I love all of my cats, there’s something special about my bond with Chloe. It’s like we came into each other’s lives at the right time.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  9. Corinne

    What a good memory for you..and she was beautiful!

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Hi Corinne,

      Thanks for the kind words, but Chloe is still kicking. Hope to have her around for a long, long time.

      Welcome to my blog!

      Reply
  10. Tui Snider

    What a touching tale! I’m so glad your vet insisted on showing you those kittens, and I love what your coworker says about pets. They sure do know how to open up our hearts, don’t they? 😀

    ~Tui Snider~
    @TuiSnider on Twitter
    My blog: Tui Snider’s Offbeat & Overlooked Travel
    I am also part of the #StoryDam team, a friendly writing community!

    Reply

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