July 06, 2009
I remember the day I met Elwood. Hubby moved in to our townhouse while I was at work. I was dreading coming home because I was not excited about living with cats. Cats? Yuck. I opened the door from our garage and before I could turn on the light I heard it. "Row-row." (You had to know Elwood to appreciate his unique meow. It still makes me smile when I think about it). I turned on the light. There was the orangest, fluffiest furball I had ever seen. His pushed in persian face made it look like he was scowling, but his eyese were wide and curious... as though he was saying "what are you doing in my house???"
Elwood and I quickly developed an understanding. I understood if I had food it was my job to offer him a taste. If I was on the couch I understood I needed to move over if he wanted to sit there, too. I understood if he wanted to sleep on my feet I was not to complain. He understood I would do all of these things for him. For someone so reluctant to become a cat owner, I was certainly a sucker.
It was hard to be mad at Elwood, even when he was being disobedient. One time we had a chocolate brownie on the counter and one of the cats chewed through the wrapper. We couldn't prove it was Elwood... at least not right away. Later in the day I picked him up and panicked, showing Hubby the blood on Elwood's paw. How in the world had he cut himself? Was he hurt? It was chocolate... he was busted.
Elwood loved to play. He would do back flips as he chased string. He would snort when he ran around the house. Wad up a piece of paper and he could play for hours. A paper sack? Heaven to Elwood.
When we brought our daughters home from the hospital, all our cats were skeptical. We had four cats, did we really need to ruin the dynamics with four babies? Elwood was the first to warm to the girls. He would sniff their heads, check out their room, sleep in their infant carriers... yet he always knew their beds were off limits. When a relative's cat batted Sue-Sue on the head, Elwood came running and gave that cat a good bat on the head, too. When the girls would come home from preschool, Elwood was always by the door waiting for Roo to pet him and give him a big hug.
Even when he became sick, Elwood was a source of entertainment. On the night I brought him home from a tooth extraction, he spied a rabbit outside and took off through an open door, drugged up and running through the dark. Fortunately he was doped up enough that he didn't get far.
Putting Elwood out of his misery was the humane thing to do, but painful nonetheless. He wasn't going to bounce back this time... but it has been a hard few days. At three-and-a-half years old, the girls don't really understand what happened. They know Elwood's not coming home, but they don't understand why. I tried to put it in simple terms: Elwood was too sick for the doctor to help him. He's not coming home, but we can look at pictures and tell stories about him. They still ask where he is, but their questions are starting to diminish.
Elwood was more than a cat... he was part of our family and he will be missed.