There's the saying, you're either a cat person or a dog person, but for years I was on the fence. I liked both animals, but being as lazy and as socially active as I was, I chose to side with the low maintenance, independent cat.
So, I saved a stray Burmese- the runt of his litter- from a life living under a barbecue at a friend's house. She already had a plethora of cats and couldn't take on one more.
It was April 1997 and my first order of business after I picked the cat up from the vet was to give him a name as I couldn't continue on calling him by his temporary moniker, Baby April- it was too hard a blow to my manhood.
The cat seemed to take to his new digs quickly- the dark recesses of a basement apartment I lived in at the time- he scurried from one corner to the next and then peed on my couch before running up behind me and batting at my legs and running off.
It was this cyclone-type of behavior that earned him the new title of Taz.
Over the years I began to appreciate his special nature; his need to be around his people; his unending ability to entertain me on my worst days; his complete trust in me, in play, or in seriousness and a personality like no other I'd known in an animal.
This cat was more like a dog then some dogs, always greeting me at the door; always sensing when I needed him near me, or when to leave-when I was having sex. He also liked to bitch me out when I'd left him alone too long.
When GIGC and I moved into our first house, Taz was perhaps the most excited. With all the windows and light, he took to having many a mad-half-hour racing from one end to the other of our new, tiny domicile then laying lazily on the floor in the sun.Yet, his playful nature never seemed to translate well to pictures. He always seemed more pissed-off that we were being such idiots in trying to capture his moments instead of posing for the camera.
The eventual transition to our second house six years later brought even more elation and truly for Taz, it must have seemed a rags-to riches story.
But recently we began to notice he was missing a step. His ability to get dehydrated became a weekly occurrence, then daily.
Our long-time friend, our companion, was having great difficulty living up to his energetic billing. Sure, in human years he was now 68, but still cats can live to be 18+. He still preferred to be around his people, seeking our warmth and comfort, emanating his happiness, yet his coo when touched, diminished and his purr faded away to a barley audible murmur.
Today we put our dear friend to rest, to silence the pain he felt from the cancer he was diagnosed with, to repay the love he has shown us, to reclaim the memory of those special times we had with him as a member of our family.
I guess it's only fitting that the kitten who came into this world as Baby April, leave it in April as well.
Goodbye my friend you will be deeply missed and remembered with love, as you were.
Today, we hurt.
Taz- April,1997- April 29th, 2010