Dear Edward

The one where we remember your flufflyness

Note: I wrote this to and about Ed five days after he passed. There has only been a small amount of editing to make more sense sharing this15 months later. Memories have also been added.

Hey buddy. I meant to share this a long time ago. You’re a cat so you have no idea about pictures or blog posts or what humans do when their fluffy loved ones pass one. You don’t need words and pictures shared about you because you were happy and loved and lived your best cat life. This is going live on the anniversary of the day after you moved into The Hobbit Hole with us. It’s very poetic for a writer, but mostly it’s just healing.

You weren’t the kitten we were supposed to bring home.

Alphonse always was.

Ant’s mom sent him a picture of the splotched black and white face long before he was ours. And then, around the time we were going to visit you and future-Alphonse and the rest of the litter—my mother-in-law posted a photo of you on Facebook. I showed your face to Ant and asked, “What about this guy?”

I promise you we only set out to come home with one kitten.

But we spent a Sunday afternoon in July 2016 with the entire litter, you and your brother and three sisters. While Brother and the girls hung out in the bedroom and stayed close together, I watched you wander to the doorway and start to explore the world beyond what you knew.

Brother bonded with Ant while I fell in love with your fuzzy face. Thankfully, our landlady at the time was just as Team Cat as my husband is and he reached out and asked if we could bring home two kittens. (One of the very few times I’ve seen my husband throw all logic out the window. He really loves cats.)

And I’m so glad we did.

We brought you guys home just five nights later. We’d spent that Friday evening in Folsom out to dinner with family and then headed to Antelope to pick you both up. An early anniversary present to ourselves.

At this first home in Meadow Vista, you and Brother lived in the bathroom for a bit. Moochy was decidedly unhappy about all of it. (Spoiler alert, you win her over eventually.)

We dubbed you guys Edward and Alphonse after the Elric brothers in Full-Metal Alchemist. (The other names I’d been considering were Fred and George or Merry and Pippin.)

It was so cool watching you guys explore noises and this new space as your home. For awhile, your tiny kitten selves worked in Moochy’s favor—she would just jump in windows, on the dresser, or on the couch because you two couldn’t jump yet. I have quite a few pictures of you specifically, Ed, sitting at the bottom of a piece of furniture just staring up at her.

We celebrated you first birthday in that home.

We quickly learned you weren’t a lap cat, that your kneading was very sloppy, and your purring was LOUD. You went through a phase where you’d sleep on my pillow at night and anytime I woke up you’d instantly start purring and touch your wet nose and/or your paw to my face. It was both precious and annoying. When you did want to sit with a human, it was very spontaneous and didn’t last long. But I loved your independence and curiosity.

The first Meadow Vista home’s front door was actually a sliding glass door. You and Alphonse would sit at that window and watch us pull up. You would stand on your back feet and swipe at the glass and then both of you would race to meet us as we entered through the bedroom door.

In August of 2017, Ant and I were served a 60-day notice by our new landlady. We knew it would be hard to find a place that would take pets, let alone three of them. In our searching, we found that two cats were doable (and non-negotiable for us). So then it became a question of, “What do we do with the third?” And “Who?”

In the end, I think Dad offered for him and mom to take one. I said over and over how temporary it would be. It was only you, fluff-butt, because of your personality. So easy-going, less dependent than Moochy and Brother.

We got one last family of five photo when Mom and Dad came to help us pack. And then just a few days later, on a Sunday after church, we loaded you up in the cat carrier and made the journey through the canyon to Shingle Springs. I cried the entire drive and so did you. Gosh, that day was so hard.

September 2017. Our last family-of-five photo for the foreseeable future ❤

Then Ant and I moved to Rocklin and we figured out life as a family of four in a second-story apartment. I told myself that this was our last rental and that we would get you back as soon as we had a house.

The next May we drove to Mom and Dad’s to celebrate your second birthday. Totally worth it.

Every time we visited Mom and Dad, you always acted like you remembered us—meowing when we talked to you, greeting us at the door or soon after we’d walked in. Once you laid in our basket of laundry—which you and Alphonse did regularly at the first Meadow Vista house, upon us bringing warm folded laundry home from Thrifty’s.

And then in the summer of 2018, we made the decision to move back up the hill to Meadow Vista due to the Rocklin apartment rent increasing.

The two-bedroom apartment I’d had my heart set on, didn’t work out. Thank God for Ant, he pivoted so well, and we were set to move into our friends’ rental unit.

One Sunday morning, in the in-between of living in Rocklin and moving back to Meadow Vista, I asked Ant if our friends would consider letting us add our third cat to the place. Way back when I was nannying, when Ant and I were first married, I saw an Animal Planet show about introducing cats to each other—through a glass door so they can see each other. Ant jumped at the idea. We each asked them at church that same morning and . . .

Yes! They agreed to it.

Because we moved in early December, we unpacked, decorated for the holidays, celebrated Christmas, we decided to put it off bringing you home until the New Year. And then work got busy, so I kept putting it off in January. And then one week, Ant decided that he would just go get you. I was job coaching that Saturday, so I couldn’t go. Ant sent me a picture of you in the cat carrier and the words, “Well that was easy” because all he did was unzip it and you just jumped in. You were there when I got home.

That day happened to be February 23, 2019. (Four years ago yesterday.)

I hung out with you that next day in the bedroom, just to keep you company, so happy that you were back with us, but we didn’t keep you separated for long. It was shorter than either of us expected: Alphonse was trying to play with you through the glass, we opened the door maybe a week later to test the waters, but he instantly changed his mind. It was soon after that that we were able to open the door again and all three of you were able to live amongst each other.

You all pretty much fell back into your old routine. Alphonse played with you, and Moochy’s fond disdain for you resurfaced. Your obsession with her remained. You still encouraged her play. You were good for her. And you and Alphonse treated each other like brothers—sleeping near or on top of each other, licking each other, chasing each other around at night when someone was being too annoying.

You had changed in good ways. You were more social and your curiosity had increased even more. You laid near or on us more often. Fuzzy blankets were your jam. You didn’t lay on my pillow or touch my face near as much as you used—though, you did that plenty to Mom. But your kneading was still sloppy and your purring still so loud. And your love when you were happy was intense. Also, you still loved paper balls and the sound of paper crinkling.

You quickly (re?)established that you were the foodie. Moochy eats out of desperation (potentially the stray mentality). Alphonse, I imagine, eats because he’s hungry. But you, Edward-head, you ate because you loved food.

You would start meowing at Early o’clock A.M. to announce your hunger. On the weekends you let us sleep in a bit, but if we made eye contact with you, you’d start purring and lope up the bed to our heads and purr and knead until we were up. Sloppy and loud ❤

At this time, I was the first to rise in the mornings and I used to feed you right upon waking so that you wouldn’t bother Ant. I was later informed that you never did this with him and that I had created a feeding habit of Early Morning. Oops. So, we set a 7am feeding time. Which you adjusted to, but you would still occasionally start announcing your hunger around 6:30am.

You picked up the habit of responding to the question “Are you hungry?” But we learned eventually that it wasn’t always you saying, “Yes, yes, feed me!” We think you came to recognize the sound of the words and would just respond with your happy meow. You also responded to, “Hi Ed!” in a certain tone. You’d roll over on your back and let us rub your belly.

That was new. When you lived with Mom and Dad, you were comfortable with Dad holding you in his arms on your back. You didn’t keep that trait, but your default relaxing position on the floor was to lay on your back. We think you learned it from Buster, Mom and Dad’s dog.

All three of you developed a routine of sitting by the door to greet us when we arrived home. Sniffing us was always your prefrred method of saying hello again. You didn’t want pets first; you wanted to sniff our hands and learn where we’d been first.

Wiping poop out of your butt hairs and dealing with knots because of your long fur wasn’t fun (Ant and I decided we’d never get a long-haired cat again), but I’d try to never complain about it again if it would bring you back.

You got into the habit of hanging out with Ant when he started working from home. At nighttime, when Ant was reading, you’d settle on the footrest of the reclined couch. (You taught Moochy and Alphonse this. Good job, buddy!)

In the beginning of covid, when our Sundays looked like livestreamed church in pajamas and we could fit in a game of Trains before it started, I watched you follow the sunshine around the living room floor. It was oddly perfect timing as a popular cat meme came out around the same time:

The cats are on day 3,721 of their stay at home quarantine. They have some lessons for us amateurs. Lessons like: Nap early, nap often. Seek out sunbeams. Eat on a regular schedule. Keep yourself clean. And most importantly, it’s ok to run up and down the apartment screaming when it all gets too much. Just take a nap afterwards.

– Meme seen on Facebook on 3/21/2020

Your patience with Azzie and Sawyer stayed. You loved when our landlord friend and his brother were working on The Hobbit Hole; you’d sit there and watch them for hours. You were a lot people’s favorite cat of the three for this reason. Also, your ridiculously fluffy tail.

I started moving one of the dining table chairs closer to the window for you so that you could watch the birds and see outside better. I promised you wider window sills in our next home.

This past summer, we bought a cat water fountain to satisfy Alphonse’s love for dripping water. I thought that if I took the regular water bowl away, you and Moochy would use it right away. The next morning, I put a water bowl back out and you drank for like a solid 30 seconds, satisfying your thirst. Haha whoops. I know better now. Eventually, you and Moochy did learn to use the fountain and we eliminated the bowl completely.

After last year’s annual vet visit in July, Ant and I noticed increased wheezing on your part, but chalked it up to hairballs you couldn’t quite hack up.

And then that last Monday (11/22/2021), the wheezing increased and…you just seemed off. You seemed uncomfortable and Ant said he didn’t remember you eating and you stayed in the bedroom for most of the day.

And then, the next morning (one week before I was going to come home and be one your human co-workers), you didn’t ask for food or try to eat. Ant called Meadow Vista Vet right at 8am when they opened and they were able to fit you in that morning.

I worked in Grass Valley that morning. I sent texts to our people asking for prayers and tried to focus on work. About an hour later, Ant sent an update: you had fluid in your lungs, so Dr. Joe was working on draining that while getting you oxygen.

I headed back down to Auburn around 11am and finally caved, calling Ant the last few minutes of the drive. He hadn’t heard anything, but the vet’s office had assured him they would call. He didn’t sound too worried, so I tried not to either and set my mind to my 12:30 meeting.

I made a pit stop at the Auburn office to fill my water before heading back out, when Ant’s name popped up on my phone. My heart sank, but I hoped for the best.

I could hear it in Ant’s voice. He relayed that about thirty seconds after we hung up, the vet called. He gave me the info Dr. Joe had shared with him and then finally said what I’d been dreading to hear: that you had passed while they were trying to help you.

Oh buddy, I’m so sorry.

I sat outside the office building, crying into the phone. Poor Ant, he hated giving me the news over the phone but felt he had to. We were both crying. Ant did eventually bring up that we needed to decide what we wanted to do with you—cremate you or pick up your body to bury you.

And then I had to figure out what to do next. I went back into my office and cried to my co-workers who encouraged me to head home. I updated my 12:30 meeting on the change of plans, cancelled my 2:30 meeting, while Ant talked to our landlord friend about burying you on the property. I headed home.

It was the weirdest day. I made it home with lots of daylight hours still left. (I’d been working late the last few weeks and arriving home when it was already dark.) We talked about you and the day a lot.

Your death has been hard on Ant, buddy. He’s never had a pet die “too early” and he’d spent so much of the past two years with you.

We decided to bury you here. We dug a grave—which neither one of us has ever had to do before. A very weird rite-of-passage that I don’t recommend.

We picked you up and asked for the vet to call us later.

I carried you out to the back-forty and cried some more and just kept apologizing to you over and over and over again. We decided against looking at your cute fuzzy face one last time, not wanting this to be the last thing we remembered.

Those days immediately following were so weird. You popped up in so many memories on social media. We looked at as many photos of you as we could find. Ant kept looking in the living room for you on Wednesday while he worked. The first time I crinkled paper, no one perked up or ran over to investigate the noise. I moved the chair to the window before leaving for work and almost cried over that small act. I think we fed Mooch and Alphonse late almost every day that first week because they don’t meow for it at 7am.

I planted some of the Black Hills flower seeds on your grave. I’m not sure it worked (we’re really bad at watering plants), but I may try again, forming a flower bed out of the dirt and trying to get it to stay on your grave.

I’m sorry we didn’t get you those wider window sills, buddy. But I’m so glad we had you for as long as we did. I’m so thankful you remembered us while you were living at Mom and Dad’s. I’m so glad you settled back into life with us here at The Hobbit Hole.

I’ll miss your presence and fluffiness and how happy you were.

You were the happiest of the three. Your huge, fluffy tail always up and curled over your back as you walked around the house.

We love you fluff butt. Thank you for everything. Moochy, Alphonse, Ant, and I are better for having you in our lives.

Edward-head. Evard. Fluffy butt or Fluff butt. Bubby. Buggy. Erfurt (his German name). Fluffball. Swiffercat. Muffin. Namesake of Edward Elric from Full-Metal Alchemist. The inspiration of my current dungeons and dragons character, a miniature tabaxi (dwabaxi). We love you forever.

Edward, 5/27/2016-11/23/2021.

11/16/2021. The last photo I have you. We thought you were ridiculous, but I’m so thankful I snapped the picture.

Losing a beloved pet is hard. I’m so thankful we still have Moochy and Alphonse in our lives. (And all the dogs and cats that our friends and family share with us.) A year and three months later we’re all doing well. Looking at these pictures yesterday and today has been so precious. Thanks for the memories buddy.

Is there a pet you want to acknowledge today? I’d love to hear about them 🙂

Writing Notes:

2/22/22 // 4:37pm-5:08pm (29 mins). Car ride to Monica’s. Word total: 721. Skillet’s Dominion album and Audrey Assad’s Peace album.

2/23/22 // 10:40am-12:26. Miley Cyrus’s Plastic Hearts album. Words total: 2,847.

6/21/22 // 11:21am-11:50am. Writing Desk. Reading draft out loud. Had Ant read it to see how it flowed. Will add pictures later. WORDS: 2,907.

6/21/22 // 8:03pm-9:07pm. finding and sending pics of Ed to email. Decided to schedule this post for a different day and not tomorrow.

2/23/23 // 10am-. Reread it and started adding photos.

2/24/23 // 11:13am-noon-ish, after updating the link in bio, etc.. Added more pictures. Word total: 3,104

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