The other day I was thinking about Schmitty. Schmitty was our 15-year-old cat who got cancer and died in a very short amount of time. Schmitty was chubby, loyal, beautiful and probably one of the sweetest creatures alive. We used to say that if there’s such thing as an 8-fold path, he was most certainly at the finish line. When he was put to sleep on April 21st, 2007, he entered nirvana—enlightenment. He would have left this tangible world forever.
I used to brag about Schmitty. You see, he was directly responsible for turing at least three people into cat people. In fact, they liked him so much, they too adopted cats. The surprising thing about these three people is that they didn’t particularly like cats before they met Schmitty. I took great pride in knowing that cats were adopted directly because of Schmitty. (I still take great pride in that.)
Schmitty was always spreading compassion.
We had to say goodbye to Schmitty. But we still think about him all the time. He comes to me in dreams sometimes, which is always bittersweet because I wake up aching to see him again—like, actually aching. But it’s nice to see him at all.
We miss him. That’s about all I can really say about that because if I continue writing about him, I’ll cry and I don’t want to cry this afternoon.
We adopted Murray a month or so after we said goodbye to Schmitty. We got Murray because I needed to laugh. And Murray is a hoot. I don’t have to convince you of that. If you’re reading this, chances are you already know and love Murray—goofy as he may be.
Well, Murray and Em get along wonderfully. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more baby-friendly pet. When Murray plays with Em, he’s surprisingly gentle, like he knows he needs to be. And they actually play together. Murray makes Em laugh almost as much as he makes us laugh, which is pretty remarkable if you ask me.
I swear if I were a less cynical person, I’d guess he’s doing this intentionally.
Their relationship brings me some bittersweetness as well. You see, watching Em with Murray is great, but there are times where I just wish he had a brother. There are times where I think, “Oh, this boy is entirely too friendly and outgoing to spend all of his time playing with a cat!” And I feel a little sad for him and then I take him for a walk and show him the colorful arrangement of drunk and dying men our neighborhood park has to offer. (Again, sad.)
About two months ago I started to realize that Emory simply couldn’t be an only child. I was surprised by the change of heart. All along, I have said one child, just one. But I think I was even more surprised when I realized who brought the change to light.
A cat. Another freaking cat!
And so I have to spell it out for myself. I simply have to write it down for the sake of history.
Schmitty was responsible for convincing a difficult crowd that cats make awesome pets. At least three people adopted a feline because of him. He passed and we “replaced” him with a fuzzy feller named Murray.
Murray is responsible for showing us—a couple determined to have only one child—that we simply cannot stop at only one. We simply have to give our son a sibling someday.
I guess what I’m saying is perhaps this is what Schmitty wanted all along.
But I have to admit, I’m having a little trouble figuring out a way to tell Em’s eventual sibling that he or she was brought into the world because of a cat.