For my entire life, I have had cats as pets. When I was born, my parents already had Ethel and Lucy. Through my late childhood and teen years, I had two cats, Stocking and Thor. In my adult life, Steve and I have adopted two cats, Napoleon and Abe.
When visiting my folks last weekend, it was pretty evident that Stocking, now sixteen years old, was on his last legs. Once a robust cat with tons of personality, he was very reclusive, light as a feather, and his fur was extremely matted. Given his condition, my parents decided to put him down yesterday, a decision that was likely best for Stocking’s well being.
Though it is sad that Stocking is no longer in our lives, he was the most wonderful childhood pet. I got him for Christmas in the fifth grade and he was a tiny little kitten with long hair and blue eyes. He fit into the pocket of my robe and would sneak into my littlest brother’s room and sleep on his neck at night.
Stocking taught me the most about living with cats, prepping me for life with Thor, Napoleon, and Abe. As many have said, cats are much more your roommate than your best friend. When Stocking was a kitten, I had scratches all over my hands and legs because he was so playful. And as he grew into his plump adult years, I learned how fat and lazy cats could be. Then, as he aged and I encountered him only on brief visits home, I learned about how cats slow down and pee all over your stuff but remain great companions.
Though I have moved on and live with my own frisky young cats now, I wanted to memorialize my childhood pet here, not only to come to terms with his passing but to remember the love pets have brought to my life and to reconcile the conflicted feelings that arise in ourselves as we grow older. Stocking’s passing is a reminder that I am not an eleven-year-old girl with a new kitten. But thanks to him, I will always have felines sleeping and purring in my home.