The cat died. I probably should have eased you into that more slowly, but I’ve never been known for my tact. It’s okay. She was really old. It wasn’t unexpected. And yet it was, because no matter how much you think you’re ready for it, you never really are.
I’ve written about her, my not so sweet Jojo. For those of you who don’t know, she was awful in the most delightful way. Jojo embodied all the best cat clichés. She was rude, indifferent, only cared for you if it meant you’d feed her. She had a terrifying steely gaze. The dog was absolutely petrified of her. It was great.
We’d had Jojo since she was a tiny kitten. She lived for more than 18 years. She’d survived three moves, one that included a 12 hour car ride. She’d been witness to 2/3 of my marriage. I’d known her longer than one of my children. She was a furry, evil time capsule with claws that could sever all the major arteries and we loved her.
We knew it was coming. She seemed to age pretty rapidly at the end, became thin and frail. When we knew for sure, that was her last full day with us. The next morning everyone, including the vet, agreed the kindest thing we could do was to let her go painlessly and peacefully. I’m proud to say her last meal was bacon. We should all be so lucky.
The first day without her was sad. There were tears. The dog was sullen. The sky was grey, air thick with ache. I took the day off from everything, let the sink pile up, skipped work and school, and cried for too long.
Two days passed and we were notified that Jojo’s ashes were ready to be picked up at the vet. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry, but I did end up blubbering through the whole thing and the poor girl who helped me, I probably owe her a latte for what she witnessed.
I sat in the car for a moment and worked up the courage to open the bag that contained the box that held what was left of her. There we sat for a few moments, Jojo and I, and finally it was real. She was gone, but more importantly she was free and I could finally breathe.
When I got home I sorted through the rest of the contents of the bag that held the box that held what was left of our not so sweet Jojo. After figuring out what could stay and what should go, I got to the bottom of the bag and found a lowly ballpoint pen advertising the pet crematorium. And that was when I finally laughed. At a pen. A really stupid pen.
Because why a pen? I get it. We live in a capitalist society and I guess you have to advertise your business somehow, but a pen? A business card I could see. You could tuck that away and if ever you’re asked for an opinion on local pet funeral businesses you could whip that sucker out and say, “These guys cremated my cat and it all went fairly well.”
A beer koozie? A shot glass? Yes. Yes. Get drunk and cry about your dead pet. A frisbee? Why not? At least it’s fun. A lighter? I mean, that one seems obvious. Any crematorium that hands out lighters emblazoned with the name of their business on them is the only crematorium for me.
But a pen? Do I really need to be reminded my cat is dead every time I jot down a grocery list or note my next gynecologist appointment?
And who needs the name and number of a pet crematorium at their literal fingertips? Isn’t that something you let the vet handle? How many pets are dying naturally at home? And if so, wouldn’t you just bury Fido in the backyard, put up a tree in his honor, and call it day?
Okay, sure there are people who don’t have yards and need to properly dispose of their beloved pet’s body. But what if your pet dies on a Sunday? Or in the middle of the night? What do you do then, stick them in the freezer until you make arrangements? No, really, is that what you do? Jojo was so small she would have gotten lost in there.
Where did you put the cat? I have to take her to the crematorium.
Check under the waffles!
She’s not there!
I swear I put her under the waffles. Did you look under the frozen pizzas? Maybe behind the ice cream?
Oh, there she is! Thanks!
But Ace? Sure his legs are comically short, but he is what the kids call thicc. Our fridge/freezer is a side by side, folks. I’d have to take shelves out, maybe push him all the way to the back, stand him up vertically. I don’t even know what I’d do with the ice maker. I haven’t worked out the logistics, but he’s young. There’s time.
And what about bigger dogs? You’re not fitting a Great Dane in a freezer, not even a chest freezer. You live in an apartment and your Great Dane dies at home on a Sunday afternoon, you’d better hope you know someone who has a walk-in or you’re screwed.
So anyway, the cat died.
But someone gave me this really stupid pen and, finally, I can laugh again.
*Featured image courtesy of Pixabay