It’s been a month and a half since Willow passed. Some days I feel it more than others.
Sometimes I’ll talk to my cat, Rusty, but stop myself as I start to call her Willow. Sometimes I call Rusty the nicknames I used to call Willow, and I feel guilty for not having more imaginative ones reserved just for her. One day I was in my work’s copy room, and a bulldog grinned back at me from an advertisement on a cardboard box. I had to look away.
A long time ago a friend recommended the book The Art of Racing in the Rain to me. After Willow passed, I had the impulse to buy it. It’s been sitting on my shelf. Every time I go to read it, I close the cover and put it back down as I feel the tears threatening to flood my eyes. Her ashes still sit in a box near me, unscattered.
I guess I’m trying to say, I miss her.
But in her absence, Rusty and I have been getting reacquainted. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a cat-only residence.
Back to 2006, I think.
Even then, Rusty was the third cat addition to our family, after Kitty Kat (who came from Okinawa) and Pete.
But Rusty has always been special to me, partially because she adopted me. My ex- husband took a job in Louisiana for a few months in 2004, and Rusty started hanging out on my porch while he was away. After two or three nights of her looking so cute, peering in my porch door, I said, “You’re coming with me, lady.”
That night, she left on top of my head like a turban.
The next day I took her to the vet to get checked out. She’s been part of my family ever since.
She’s never been completely easy around Willow, with good reason. Sometimes Willow would be Ok around her. And sometimes, Willow would go after and try to bite Rusty. There were a few times that I was very thankful that Rusty didn’t get hurt. Because she could have been.
So Rusty took to staying up high and limiting her movements around the various apartments I’ve lived.
Now that she doesn’t have to worry about her safety, she’s been more lovey. She can be found in more areas of the apartment. She plays more. I’ve recently found her under the new chest of drawers I purchased. She goes on the couch sometimes. Now she sits in my lap sometimes: something she was rarely willing to do in the past.
Willow could get jealous.
Rusty’s energy is much more subtle than Willow’s was. I miss my pup, and I already find myself thinking about adopting another dog. But I’m going slow. I’m getting reacclimated to the quiet, sometimes weird, devious love given by feline companions.