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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

To LG (March 10, 2005 - August 20, 2007)

I met him in early April 2005. Our wedding was just a few months away but we were more excited about the kittens.

We must have taken the bus all the way to McCowan and got a ride from there with Miia's mom or brother. Then we drove to the house excitedly.

The mother was out and about, taking a break, so we feasted our eyes on the litter of three.

I noticed Bosh first because he wandered right out of the box on shaky legs and tried to climb the stairs. "I want that one," I said. He was an adventurer, a wanderer, a kindred spirit.

I looked over my shoulder at Miia to make sure that she had registered my selection, and there she was with LG in her arms. She was smiling like a schoolgirl.

"Can we take two?" she grinned, and so it was. There was no point arguing, we had fallen in love with them as fast and hard as we had with each other.

The following Saturday we were back, this time to take them home with us. They were still shaking.

LG short for Lieutenant Governor, hid under the front passenger seat while Bosh explored the dashboard. We stopped at the petstore for kitten food and a kitten owner's manual. The woman in the petstore told Miia that five months was too young to take them from their mother. But the owners had been anxious to get rid of them.

I stuffed Bosh & LG back into their cat carrier and poured through the manual on my way home, sharing interesting tidbits with Miia as she drove.

At the house LG found a hiding spot up under the pullout couch and Bosh explored the living room shakily. We gave them a bowl of kitten food and they paid it no mind. We gave them milk with the same result. We had to put the milk on our fingertips so they'd suck it off. For the first several months they kept looking for nipples in our hair. And still LG could often be found up under the pullout.

But because they were raised more by us than by their feline mother, and because our house was full of housemates and visitors, they quickly became people cats. LG loved nothing more than snuggle-time, and his purr could power a city block.

Bosh used to follow us around in and out of the house, and when we weren't around he visited all the neighbours, including the elementary school. Sometimes he'd be gone for days before we got a call from a neighbour with an uninvited guest. The school principal seemed to think nothing of carrying him home, plopping him into our front door. As Boshie rambled, LG would look around the house for him, missing him.

At six months it was time to get them fixed, vaccinated and otherwise checked up. The vet took Boshie's temperature first. When she put the thermomete up his anus he freaked and yowled and struggled under our four hands. It took forever to get a reading, prolonging his agony.

When she gave the same treatment to LG, his body just froze. His lips curled back over a jagged snarl that said, "I don't like this at all." It was over in seconds.

Their opposite personalities complimented each other like yin an yang; together they presented a unified front. At parties they'd pull up a chair each, across from one another, and no one dared kick them off. Human friends would pull up a piece of hardwood and stroke a fury chin.

The first time they experienced snow it was Bosh who awkwardly led the way while LG following close behind, delicately seeking warm spaces with his paws. He loved to go out for brief morning constitutionals before jumping and clinging to the kitchen window screen when he was ready for breakfast. Every meal was LG's favourite.

Like us they had their disagreements, usually in the form of no-rules wrestling matches. LG may have been the gentle one but he was bigger and just a little stronger, so when push came to claw he often got his way.

They made up more easily than we do, usually in the mornings by grooming one another and snuggling up like a two-headed cat monster. In the evenings LG would sleep with us and Bosh would doze with one eye half-open at the window, making sure the school-grounds were safe.

LG never let us forget love.

When we faught and the argument became heated, he'd find his way in between us, purring and rubbing and snuggling in the moment of greatest possible tension. And we'd laugh. And pet him. And calm down, ease our tones, get to resolving our differences.

Just before we left the country it was Bosh we worried about and LG who peed himself in the car en route to the airport and puked in the plane. They both looked shocked and haggared and pissed off when we retrieved them in Halifax.

We knew we were putting them into the good hands of the cat-loving parents, but there were other worries: coyotes, dogs, endless woods to wander and get lost in, and the semi-highway running by the house. For a wanderer like Bosh, anything could happen, and without the density of a Toronto neighbourhood there weren't so many neighbours to bring him home safe.

As expected, Bosh took to his new home quickly. He shied away from the fast moving cars, but dove into the long grass and watched fish jimping in the lake.

LG, always the more vocal of the two, cried a lot and hid inside. Slowly slowly he adjusted, but it wasn't until several weeks after we left that he dared to cross the road.

By then Bosh was already spending his nights wandering the wild woods and sleeping it off in the daytime.

Eventually LG caught up with his twin, and they hunted and played together by night, groomed each other at dawn, and slept the day away, the two-headed cat monster.

The whole 14 months we were gone, Miia and I missed our cats like a blowing empty nest. We carried pictures of them and cheered each other up with stories of them in our weakest moments. We had to restrict the times when we were allowed to talk about them beacause it was causing too much homesickness. We thrived on every story and picture my parents sent us of them. I think we missed them more than the humans we left behind.

As expected Bosh got to know the few neighbours around. As expected he hurt himself a few times, once quite badly - he needed several stitches in his belly and a conehead to keep him from scratching and biting the wound.

Also as expected, LG avoided such troubles and growled at his coneheaded brother. SOme mornings he fretted and cried until Bosh finally came home.

When we finally saw them just over two weeks ago, we scooped them up. LG cuddled and purred, Bosh jumped away but came back to say hello in a more dignified fashion. They kept their routine of frollicking at night but took to snuggling up to us in the sweet early morning.

On the night of August 29 LG was killed by a car on that stupid fucking semi-highway, where the stupid fucking cars always go too fast. We cried and cried and cried, and sometimes I still cry from him.

Dad put his body in the studio and locked it. Bosh went sniffing all around it, then around the road where his brother was hit. He came home in the morning with none of his usual zip.

We buried LG in the yard the next day, made a nice little gravesite with flowers. We raised a toast to him and left the beercaps on his grave. Beercaps were his favourite toy. He'd send them flying and cahse them for hours, as if they were alive.

He was more than just cat. He was pure, unadulterated love. He was a member of our family. And he was Bosh's other half.

"He was the handsomest cat," I told Miia. "Tied with Bosh, as always."

She cried and said, "I guess they aren't tied anymore."

But really they are still tied. Every time I look at Bosh I'll remember LG. LG will always be a part of Bosh.


Anonymous said...

So sorry for you loss. Sven

benjibopper said...

Thanks Sven, I appreciate that.

Our phone should be working by next week, I'll give you a call then.

Melissa said...

I'm really sorry to hear the bad news. Second time in a year too. My thoughts are with you, and I'm sending out virtual hugs to you, Miia and Bosh.

benjibopper said...

Thanks Melissa, those virtual hugs really help.

Amanda said...

You know, here was a time when I just wouldn't have gotten it. No idea. But that was before I had a little furry one of my own. I can imagine the feeling and it's so heart-tearing. Thanks for writing this, for sharing the story. My thoughts are with you two (three). Wish I could be there.

Hope you're doing well & settling in. Hope to talk one day soon (or at least write a half-decent email to catch up!) Love, Amanda.

benjibopper said...

Hi Amanda. Our phone should be working by the end of today and we'll email the number around, so hopefully we'll talk soon. Thanks for understanding about LG. Your fury little one is an awesome little guy and I fell in love with him too in just one visit, I even forgave him for eating those organic socks.

Sahar said...

I am really sorry to hear about your cat. It was really touching to read your post dedicated to LG.

benjibopper said...

Thanks Sahar, we appreciate that. Miia says she will email you soon.