Yesterday, August 16, we said goodbye to Piper, a.k.a. the #fakecat.
She was my constant companion for 17 years. I got her as a stupid 20-year-old university student who had no business getting a cat on her tight budget. (People used to joke she ate better food than I did and there were times when that was probably true. Good quality food was cheaper than vet bills.) But someone in my apartment building had a cat who had kittens and two were unclaimed. I fell for the little fluffball at first sight. She was the best free thing I ever got.
Between my student years and working from home for over a decade, we had a lot of togetherness. I was her person. Lee, who invaded her world and moved in when she was 9, was a close second. (He would say she tolerated him well enough but he didn't see her face when she heard him put his keys in the door when he got home from work.)
She was cat with strong opinions about everything. She did not like people wearing shoes in her house. She loved cheese and for a long time we though that was the love of her life until she discovered roast chicken. She liked fuzzy blankets and capes and stealing the couch pillows. She occasionally tolerated Kit-Cat's visits but really only after Cat gave "us" that fuzzy cape.
She was a traveller. We lived in Montreal (she's a Montrealer) and Toronto before settling in Ottawa. She summered in PEI and had long weekends on Lake Champlain in Vermont. (She did not like the lake. The lake was scary.) She travelled by planes (terrifying), trains (tolerated), subways, transit buses, and automobiles.
The house we bought in Ottawa was her favourite. There were lots of windows to watch birds and heating vents to lie on. We bought her a bed that we were certain she wouldn't use and it and the back of the couch became her two favourite places to watch the world go by. Between naps, of course.
Her all-time favourite thing was the heated floor we installed in the master bathroom. Over the last few weeks she spent more time hiding in there, away from us. It was sad, but I'm glad she had a place that made her feel safe and that the heated floor provided comfort. It was where she spent her last hours in the house.
I had no idea what a gift I was getting when I picked up that ball of fluff 17 years ago.
Piper, thank you for growing up with me. We learned a lot together. Thank you for letting me be your person and for adopting Lee when I decided I wanted to keep him. Thank you for the love, cuddles, and headbutts.
You were loved. I hope you knew how much.