Saturday, June 8, 2013

My Best Friend

Eight and a half years ago, I adopted my best friend... my favorite little companion... my best decision ever... my Fish.  I am heartbroken as I write this because he is no longer with me.  I type freely on this laptop keyboard without him climbing on top of it and sitting in front of the screen demanding the attention that he deserves and I hate it.

Fish did not like the show "Supernatural" but he did love me so he put up with it.

I rescued him from a horrible state-run facility in the city when he was a kitten.  I remember every detail of that day, the bars on the windows, the gloomy weather.  I remember seeing him sitting in his cage, with dogs barking all around, so tiny and scared.  And I remember falling in love with him in an instant.  I filled out the adoption paperwork that day.  A few days later, I was able to pick him up from the vet where he was neutered and vaccinated to take him home.  When the vet brought him out to me, she remarked that she had never seen such a handsome little guy, all fluffy gray fur with perfect white lining around his eyes and a white puff at the tip of his tail.  I agreed happily.  She said that he was handsome enough to be a cat model.  He was adorable enough to be on the cover of a cat magazine or at least on those Cuddly Cuties folders that little girls get for school.  I laughed and agreed again.  Well I never got him into modeling and so to make up for it, I'm going to share some pictures and memories with all of you instead.

Fish liked to take up as much room on the bed as kittenly possible.  This was a trend that never stopped.  And he deserved every inch of space he wanted.

My tiny baby.  This was before he started growing his massive bones.
 When I adopted my little babers, I didn't have a name picked out yet.  A friend of mine at work, Scott, suggested Fish.  See, the landlord of the apartment I was renting with two of my sorority sisters didn't allow any pets, except for fish.  I went ahead and got the kitten anyway b/c we all agreed we needed some furry love in our lives.  And then, by naming him Fish, if the landlords ever asked if we got any pets, I could answer "Fish" and not be lying.  Unfortunately our trickery was uncovered a week or two after getting the little guy when the landlord stopped by unexpectedly to check batteries in the fire detectors.  I put Fish in my closet and asked him politely but frantically to be quiet while he was there.  I guess Fish didn't understand plain English (I don't hold it against him) because he started scratching at the door and meowing.  Luckily, the guy took one look at Fish's adorable mug and agreed to let me keep him as long as I didn't tell his wife.

One of my sorority sisters got me this turtle raft (the turtle was DZ's mascot) and Fish LOVED it.  He loved it to death when his claws poked many holes into the poor turtle's back.  But it was too funny walking into the room and seeing him jumping around on it or taking a nap.

The fur around Fish's mouth was white.  My sister and I used to joke that he ate a lot of powdered sugar donuts to keep it that way.  She would tell me, in the deep voice we gave to him, that he had several boxes delivered that day.

This is one of my favorite pics.  Such a personality.

He helped me with laundry.

Fish was definitely a playful guy as a kitten.  In that first apartment, we had a long hallway with wooden floors.  He'd start at one end of the hallway, sprint down it and slide into the wall at the other end.  His toy of choice was sparkly balls, though any balled up piece of paper would do in a pinch.  I'd throw them down the steps or into another room and he'd chase after them and bring them back.  It was not uncommon for him to put them in his water dish either.  I thought it was very responsible of him to clean his toys.  I appreciated it less though when he would put it in his water, take it out of his water and leave it in my bed.

His favorite possession of all time though (besides my heart) was his pole toy.  It was a pole with two cords dangling off of it and at the end of each cord was a sparkly ball with a reindeer on it.  Technically, this toy was given to my family's cat Puck for Christmas one year but Fish sort of commandeered it.  Puck was kind enough to let him have it without a fight.  Fish would pick up one of the sparkly balls in his mouth and drag that pole around behind him.  He'd meow and drag it up and down the steps, through the different rooms of my house, onto my bed, etc.  That toy was like his safety blanket.  Eventually one ball fell off and the other had to be sewn on several times.  He had that pole toy until the very end and it is now one of my favorite possessions.

Fish walked through the handle of this bag and it got caught around his stomach.  When he realized he was stuck, he tore through the apartment like his tail was on fire.  I think his biggest aggravation was at being laughed at when Cassie and I untangled him.  No one laughs at Fish (in Fish's opinion).

This was his bag swing.  He climbed inside and when Cassie picked it up by the handles, he popped his head out.  She swung him back and forth and he seemed to enjoy it.  I actually have a video of this that I just watched and, as with many things Fish did, I laughed hysterically.

As a kitten, Fish was a narrow size 5...
As an adult, he was more like a size 9, wide...

But I tell you what... if every box of Puma shoes actually had this guy inside, I bet they'd sell a lot more shoes.
One time, when I was living at my parents' house, I looked out on the porch and saw a gray cat.  I thought it was Fish and freaked b/c he was an indoor cat and wasn't allowed outdoors.  I went outside to get him and the cat tore down the sidewalk and up the street.  I ran inside frantically, calling to my sister Emily to get flashlights.  My dad woke up and asked what was wrong.  I explained that Fish had run away so he put his shoes on and was going to get in the car to drive around and look for him.  I was crying, Emily was freaking out.  I turned around and looked up the steps (inside the house) and Fish was standing right there, staring at me.  You could tell he was wondering what all the fuss was about.  I started laughing, I was so relieved.  Turns out, the neighbors had a gray outdoors cat.  I'd see him from time to time and always laugh at the memory.

I love this face.

Fish supported my veganism by playing with this catnip carrot.  He loved this carrot.
In the picture above, you might be thinking, "Wow, that is one portly cat.".  But you would be wrong.  He was not fat or chubby.  He was big-boned.  He had a large frame.  And really fluffy fur.  And sometimes the combination of those things made him seem fat.  But he wasn't.

But he did love treats.  Man, oh man, did he love treats.  Anytime I went in the kitchen, he'd trot along beside me, or ahead of me, and he'd stare at the drawer I kept his treats in until he had a pile of them to enjoy.  And it was impossible to deny the little guy his treats when he looked up at you with his big green eyes.  Even my boyfriend, who was never a "cat person" gave in to him and would get the treats out within minutes of being at my place.  Fish had everyone wrapped around his massive paw.  He was that fantastic.

Fish LOVED being under the Christmas tree when I plugged the lights in.  It has been one of my favorite parts of the holiday for years.

And so that's a little glimpse at my little guy.  Just a few of the memories we've had over the past eight and a half years.  It's hard to imagine not having him around.  Every time I walk into my apartment, I want to see him there, waiting for me at the door like he did every single day, without fail.  And I know I won't and that's not fair.  But at least I got to have him for the short time I did.  And I hope that he knows I loved him every single second that he was here.  Every. Single. Second.

There was no better feeling that having him curl up on my chest when I was laying down.  He'd purr and his eyes would close and I'd know that he was content.  And so I was content.  He will always be my Babers, my Bommers, my Fisherman, my Fishcakes, my buddy and piece of my heart.  I'll never replace him and I'll never forget him.  I love you Fish.

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