The worst thing about love is that it grows without notice. You know it’s there, entrapping and entwining all the cavities of your heart, but you never know the full extent of the damage until it’s too late. It’s rooted. It’s inside the walls. And then it is pulled out at such excrutiating force that all you can do is sob and sob and there is no way to fix or fill the void left behind.
Last night, Leah and I went to see Funny People (to cheer ourselves up with a (funny) movie about death) and one of the songs in the movie was Warren Zevon’s Keep Me In Your Heart. I think it’s the perfect song for this post, if you’d like something to listen to while you read.
If you’ve been following my Twitter account for the last little while you’ll know that JD has been a topic of much conversation. From the problems with him starting to urinate in our house again and, this past week, when he disappeared and our attempts to find him. I think I can now say, with relatively dry eyes, that JD was killed by a car on Friday night. A nice young man saw it happen and contacted us on Sunday morning after seeing one of our posters. We retrieved his body that morning and took JD to the Humane Society for cremation immediately after. He was five years old. Those are the details.
I was surprised to see just how many times I have written about JD on this blog. We adopted JD November 5, 2006 when he was two years old. September 2, 2006 we were married. What on earth were we thinking? Two months into marriage and we need a cat? We went into the pet store (housing Humane Society cats) and thought we would just look. You can’t just look at animals in cages. Or at least I can’t. And JD was a charmer. Out of the 10-20 cats in the room, JD is the only one that even bothered to look at us. He was playful. He was vocal. He was a con-artist. If you ever adopt an animal and there is one that is receptive to you—unless you want trouble—move to the next cage. Get an animal that will ignore you. It’s the least you could do for yourself. JD was so smart. I’d be tempted to say that he adopted us. But I think it would be more accurate to say he owned us.
There are plenty of opinionated cats in this world and you’ve heard all the stories, but JD was dominant, kingly. I can remember taking Stormy to the vet and she was terrified. She hid in my arms and shook. JD, on the other hand, sprawled out on the examining table, proudly displaying his girth and looking at everyone with a serene indignation. And that is how he lived his life—he owned it.
JD was not always an easy cat to live with. I still have the scars to show it (and I hope I don’t ever lose them). I don’t know what he went through, if anything, the first two years of his life, but he was not a soft animal at first. However, we gave him time and space and slowly he came around to us. He never became the lap cap that I had hoped, but we learned to appreciate the affection he would give us. And he came around. He always wanted to be close enough to be near, but not close enough to wrap him up beside you in blankets and smother him with kisses (which we did anyway).
JD loved being outside. At least, he loved being outside without a leash. That experiment did not work at all. I remember trying to drag him. Recently, he took up eating worms. Or eating half of the worm and then leaving half of it on the cement to bake in the afternoon heat. He even caught multiple birds (poor little sparrows) and a mouse and left them at the back door for me. And I appreciated the sentiment. I am really happy that he got to experience that freedom, and torn by it because it obviously brought about a much earlier departure from us than I would have hoped.
Ultimately, we made the choice to let JD be a cat. I can honestly say I never thought this would happen. He was so smart. Too smart. But I realize now how naive that was. I have almost been hit by cars so many times. Actually, one time I was hit by a car (but that’s a whole other story). How could I think that JD would be so much better equiped? And no one needs to tell me it was my responsibility to protect my cat and friend. But I hope the argument can be made that I also had the responsibility of encouraging JD to live, explore and—simply—be a cat. I know that there would be those who would insist that in a world of increased speed that we need to protect the wild ones. And I agree, but at what cost? Cage them so no danger can ever find them? All of this rhetoric does not really fit in here. I just hope he knows how much we loved him and that we tried to do the right thing.
We had a lot of good times with him. JD was my boy and I am really going to miss him.