My cat died this week and I’m fairly certain there is a hole in my heart that will never be healed. I think I had forgotten how much you could love an animal until he came into my life. Maybe it’s because I had been wanting a kitten for five years before my husband finally agreed to let another animal in the house after the last psycho kitty we had. Or maybe it’s because all of the girls at our vet’s office got all googly-eyed when he came in because he was just so handsome and lovable. Whatever it was about that cat, he was one in a million and it’s hard to sit on the couch writing this without him in between my knees.
From the minute Brody came into our house, he ruled it. He jumped up to drink water out of my fountain, so I filled it with purified water and disinfected it every week knowing that would be where he chose to hydrate. I even bought him a fancy pet fountain to put by his food dish, which he half-heartedly drank from when he was too lazy to walk in the other room. He wanted to go outside, so we bought him a harness and tent. He was able to explore most of our backyard, dragging me behind him through pine trees and rose bushes tethered by a little green leash. The kids in the neighborhood came over to watch him roll around on a blanket in his tent and soak in the sunshine while he watched his favorite human play lacrosse with her dad. If we didn’t take him outside often enough, he let us know he was displeased by running into the garage and hiding under one of our cars for an hour while we tried to coax him out with treats. He knew what he wanted and did not like to be told no.
Brody was such a spoiled boy that he had his own pet and carried it around like a baby. I had been gifted a stuffed cat that made an angry face when you squeezed it’s head by my husband. I had been asking for a pet for so long that it was actually a joke and he bought me this stuffed animal as a birthday gift a year before Brody came to us. Sometime when he was still a kitten, he decided Fido was his pet and took him away from me. He carried that thing around the house late at night after everyone went to sleep roaring like a lion with an antelope. Sometimes we would catch him rolling around with it on the floor, alternating between fighting it and licking it’s face. After a year of this, I convinced my husband that he was asking for a brother and we got him a real live cat of his own, but he never really let go of his pet Fido. His little brother even found the behavior strange and ran away when Brody brought Fido out to play at night.
Five days after we took Brody into our home I brought him to the vet for the first time and learned he had a heart defect that would probably be the thing that would kill him at some point. He was the most expensive free cat ever, getting his own kitty cardiologist. Our vet was almost unable to neuter him due to the risk of sedation, but they were able to perform the surgery in a matter of minutes and bring him back when his heart started failing mid-snip. He was given a beta blocker for his heart twice a day mixed in with gravy like a little old man in a nursing home. Up until the the day he died, I could tell time by when he started to get needy and demanding, meowing for his medicine at 8pm every night.
The two times we went on vacation my parents had to pet-sit, giving him his meds twice a day and keeping his fountain full of filtered water. It was like handing over Little Lord Fauntleroy each time we left. I may as well have taken him over to their house in a carriage. They loved him like we did though and he even snuggled with my Dad a few times while we were gone. He sat next to Grandma on the couch and cuddled up in her chair at the lake like they belonged to him just as much as we did.
A few months before Brody died he had gone to the vet for a check up and it was discovered that he had a growth under his jaw. It felt like bone, but they could not tell without an x-ray which they couldn’t get without sedating him. They also had a hard time drawing blood from him and we had to wait a week and try again due to his increased heart rate. He had his nails trimmed a few weeks before he died, so at least the girls at the vet got to see him before he left us all. From the time the lump under his chin appeared he started to look like an old cat. His eyes were getting more soulful and his energy was not the same as it had been. He had moments where it looked like he saw something in the room that nobody else could see and I kept wondering if he was seeing little angel kittens coming for him. He just started up and down a wall or pounced on nothing in a corner. At one point my husband thought he was injured because he limped around like his back leg wasn’t working, but then shook it off and pranced away when I examined it. I had begin to wonder if he had some kind of brain cancer or neurological problem. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get any answers without tests that he couldn’t have without sedation.
The night before Brody died he stretched himself out on top of me from right under my chin to below my knees. He never lounged on me this way, only my daughter, and he did this at 3 am. He woke me up out of a dead sleep as he stretched out and snuggled into me and I pet him until I fell back asleep. I don’t know if this was him saying goodbye or if it was just one of the many little strange things he did that made him so mythical, but I’m holding onto that feeling for as long as I can.
Brody Logan – 8/1/2020 – 6/4/2023
*Brody was named after Brody Dalle from the Distillers, and this song will always remind me of my favorite little boy.