Yesterday, I had to say goodbye to one of my best friends. Mabel the cat has been my beloved constant companion for the past 15 or 16 years. Yesterday, I held her on my lap as a kindly vet injected her with the drugs that would end her life.
There is no love between my landlord and me, but when I moved into this apartment and asked if it would be okay if I got a cat, she said it would be fine, as long as I took one of her sisters's cat's kittens. I didn't see photos—Millie just described the litter and I said I'd take the girl cat. The runt. She was, Millie said, gray with stripes. She apparently looked just like her mother, though I'd never seen her mother, so who knows.
When Millie dropped her off, she was teenier and cuter than described. I immediately named her Mabel, after this Goldfinger song. The line that convinced me; "Mabel, she's the bomb."
And she really was the bomb. She was a teeny cat with a huge personality. She was kind, empathetic . . . she always knew when I was sad and would come running to hang out on my shoulder, purring loudly. She would sleep with me often, stretching right up against me, again, purring loudly. Her purrs worked better than valium.
I love the top photo of her. Whenever she felt I should be brushing her, she'd hop up on the chair like this and wait for me to get the hint.
When Spyro and I argued, she would always take my side, standing by me, barking her little "meep" sound at him. She loved butter, Fancy Feast, me, Spyro, and Whitney Houston songs. If I ever wondered where she might be hiding, all I had to do was belt out "The Greatest Love of All" and she'd come running. I could never figure out if trying to climb inside my mouth when I was singing meant that she loved my voice or wanted it to stop. And yes, I would make up retarded little Mabel lyrics to the song too. My love for Mabes was completely queer and over the top. In fact, I'm sitting here, listening to that song and crying.
Her preferred resting spot was on my right shoulder. I have permanent scars from her claws, making sure I wouldn't drop her. It was never the left shoulder either. Always the right. Then she'd rub her cheek against mine and purr. Sometimes I'd brush her while she laid there, other times she'd just hang out there while I worked. I can't believe I'll never hold her again.
I never doubted Mabel's love for me and I truly hope, even though I held her and petted her while I let a doctor end her life, that she never doubted mine for her.