I can’t believe it’s been a year.
A year ago today I had to do something I’d never done before in my life. I made the decision that it was time to say goodby to my sweet, beloved, painfully shy, carb-addicted, soulful, chunky monkey Petie (aka Petie Bear, Petie Pita Pants, Petie Pantaloon…).
I’ve been writing and rewriting this post for the last hour through the tears. Tears I shed for months leading up to the day I had to say goodbye to him, but were frighteningly absent on that day and the days to follow.
I have some thoughts on saying goodbye to a furry family member. What it was like for me having to make that decision for the first time in my life, but I don’t want to go there today. That will be a post for another time.
Today I want to share some of the things that made Petie who he was. The things I miss about him. Apologies for any typos and I know there’s much I will wish I had included, but it’s late and I want to have something posted to honor him. So I’m hoping “something is better than nothing” will apply in this instance.
How I could carry him like a toddler (guess I can’t complain about the toddler locks then – read on for context)
“If you don’t hear from me, Petie has killed and eaten me. That,or the neighbors have.”* Just this evening my cat sitter Jordana, who had a very special bond with Petie, sent me this text. Apparently it’s a text I sent her back in December of 2014.
Petie was a food addict and the reason that, as a single woman without 2-legged children, I have toddler locks on my refrigerator and cabinets (over the course of a few evenings he managed to break the seal on my refrigerator looking for the cat food I thought I’d so cleverly hidden there – don’t worry, he was NOT starving as is hopefully obviously in the photos!).
I’ll never forget the day I caught him atop of the refrigerator (how he catapulted his 20lb frame up there I’ll never know), the door of the cabinet above the stove open. Mind you, the door opened towards him, yet he’d managed to squeeze under it and had proceeded to start knocking down cans of cat food and cat treats. The moment he realized he was busted he leapt, flying into the air, landing and scampering away!
One of my amazing Facebook followers found the photo I had posted of this exact moment! See! Proof!
*As an aside, at the time I had horrible neighbors, I won’t go into it, but to give the text a bit more context….
The funny, high-pitched “broken” meow that came out of his robust pear-shaped body. (Turn up the volume and play the clip below).
Loving time. While he wasn’t the most affectionate cat – unless food was involved he would literally “call me” to my bedroom for “loving time. It’s not as lurid as it sounds – I promise! Petie would meow to get my attention then make his way to the stairs. He’d go up them, turning around every so often to make sure I was following him. Once in my bedroom, he’d jump up on my bed. That was my cue to let the petting begin.
That pink nose. I called it his “mood” nose as it varied in hue, though I’m not quite sure why. Often it would be injured and I’d wonder if I should get it insured – just in case!
Multi-color jelly beans (toe pads). Especially those lovely pink ones. I’ll have to find a photo.
How he hid in my closet and drawers…everywhere. I once walked all the way to work before realizing I had a one-inch trim of Petie fur running around the hem of my dress.
Home hither poses.
How his resemblance to a rabbit made me return to vegetarianism (okay, in truth a Pescatarian who really wants to go vegan). He was essentially two floppy ears and a fluffy tail away from being a bunny. And It made me think about how arbitrary it is how we determine which sentient beings we turn into commodities to kill and eat and which we turn into members of our family. If you’re interested in learning more, read “A Hare-Raising Tail” and “Feline Mignon” (you’ll see Petie as a lamb and a rabbit!)
Fu manchu whiskers.
His soulful human and distinctly non-feline expressions. In fact he inspired a post I wrote many moons ago about how he was a suave man caught inside a chubby cat’s body. Those eyes. They were so expressive (expressing everything from fear to distain). He often seemed to be gazing off into the distance perhaps lost in his thoughts (that or nothing was going on up there and I’d prefer to think it was the former).
His soulful eyes looked like those of a being who had seen a lot. I often wondered if he’d witnessed something terribly sad, or suffered before he was rescued and came into my life. Or perhaps he was a human who’d seen a lot and had been reincarnated as a feline.
How my sister used him as reference when shipping packages. She said determine if a package at work was more or less than 20lbs based on how heavy it felt compared to Petie. In fairness, he was only 20lbs at his peak.
The way he hid his head in the crook of my arm. Usually when I picked him up from out of a hiding spot so he could meet a friend who wanted to see him.
That fluffy belly. His long belly fur was silky soft, and smelled like linens from the Four Seasons or a similar high-end hotel. I never got to pet it and smell that sweet belly as much as I wanted to. To this day I mourn that I did not think to ask the vet to shave some of it for me to keep.
How he filed himself away. He never sat on the shelves in my front room- none of the cats did – until I put the word CAT up next to it. Then Petie decided it was okay to sit there. But he was the only one. They haven’t been touched in a year.
I could go on, but it’s getting late. I’m worried I’m forgetting things and I don’t want to forget. I don’t want him to slip away from me… Thank you for loving him. Feel free to post any memories you have of him in the comment section.
I leave you with some of the first photos and video of him that exist. My sweet baby Petie. How I miss you so. xo
Forgive the terrible dorm-motif of my apartment back in 2006, but I had to share this very rare footage of Kip loving on (or maybe marking?) a relatively small Petie. My apologies for the poor video quality – technology has advance quite a bit in the interim!
For more Petie photos, search the hashtag #petiebear on Instagram.