Writing this post is hard and I almost didn’t do it because I can feel the tears coming for what feels like the millionth time as I do it. I’m tired of crying and feeling this horrible mixture of sadness and numbness, however my boy deserves a tribute and I am going to do the best I can.
Please indulge me as I tell you about Chachi.
We got Chachi and his sister less than two weeks after our cat Fatty died. We weren’t trying to replace our former feline friend, but we discovered he had actually been keeping mice away. Who knew? We, unfortunately, found out when all of the sudden we had a *lot* of mice in our apartment and previously we hadn’t had any. As you know from this particular trip report, I love animals. Well, most of them (looking at you, lions!). But I draw the line at mice in the house. No, thank you. Stay out of my home.
After Fatty died, a few days later I looked into the kitchen and a mouse was drinking water out of our dog Scootch’s water bowl. I did a double take. It was like he was at a spa enjoying cucumber water. This mouse was *relaxed* and clearly not put off by dog scent or shrieking women…because once I saw it I let out a loud yell and told my dog, who was laying next to me at the time to, “OMG GET IT! IT’S DRINKING YOUR WATER!!”. The dog raised his head, looked at the mouse getting hydrated from his own bowl, possibly gave a little sigh, and put his head back down again. I guess he didn’t like mice either.
The next step was to call an exterminator. I remember him telling me, “You need to get a cat.”. I said, “We had one! It just died a week ago.” His response was, “When the cat’s away the mice will play!”. Up until that point I had thought that was just a silly rhyme. I’m telling you right now, guys – it’s an actual cautionary tale that just *happens* to rhyme.
Thus we needed a cat because I refused to live with mice if I could help it.
We ended up going to this house that fostered, I think, 400 cats; as soon as you walked in the door you knew exactly what was happening in there. They were hoarding cats. Just kidding. But it stunk to high heaven. We were there for a particular cat who was in the same litter as a cat our friends had gotten who got along with dogs. We ended up getting him and his sister.
Chachi’s original name was Stache. I have no idea why – he didn’t have a mustache. Through the years his name evolved. Stache to Stachey. Stachey to Stachey Muchachi. Muchachi to Chachi. Now that I write that out it makes a little bit of sense that even at the very end he didn’t know his own name; he would come when I called his sister. “How do you not know your name after all these years?”, I’d ask him. Maybe he was just nosey and wanted to be kept in the loop.
He was a big, lovable doofus of a guy who loved to talk. I could have full blown conversations with him. I remember one of our friends saying he’d follow her into the bathroom and tell her all our secrets. He was friendly to strangers; definitely not a ‘guard’ cat or skitterish to newcombers. He welcomed everyone at the door and if you sat at the table you just had to accept he might try to jump in your lap.
When I would walk indoors for exercise he would go on ‘walks’ with me back and forth from living room to bedroom, getting rewarded with pets at each end point. I would cheer him on and he would trot along, proud of himself. You don’t have to be a dog to go for a walk!
He was odd in that he didn’t care for people food and was fully content with dry cat food. He did love treats, though, but even those were crunchy.
When Sal would change the litter, he would tell Chachi, “I’m stealing your poops!”. Like clockwork he would go directly into the box and dirty it immediately. God forbid there was a clean litter box in the house!
He loved his Dad dearly. He slept by his feet almost every night before he got sick, and if I got up before Sal he’d move up to near his shoulder. I can’t count the number of times I’d look over and he was either rubbing against his Dad’s hand, laying next to his arm, walking across him, or even settling down for a little bit to lay on his chest. Towards the end he would lay there longer and longer. And the amount of times he would just stare at him. He just adored him.
He had a very loud motor. He didn’t just purr. He PURRED, and it was because he was a happy boy. You could hear the purring sometimes from a distance and not for any particular reason except that he was happy and I guess that is the absolute best reason there is.
Sometimes he would let me dance with him in my arms. He would rub against my head and snuff my ear, tickling it. He would sometimes give me back tickles, too, if I sat on the edge of the bed. He’d go from side to side occasionally getting on his hind legs to make sure to get the shoulders. Yes, please!
He hated going to the vet. He was mostly a healthy cat except he would get allergies or cat acne a couple times a year. As soon as he heard Sal get the pet carrier out he would run and try to hide, but he really wasn’t that great at hiding. He’d often end up in a corner where it was easy to get him. The last few years he wouldn’t run as much, but he added a pathetic howling sort of meow after a few seconds, giving up, like, “Aw, man! No!”.
When we got home in early December Sal took him to the vet as we noticed he had lost weight when we were on vacation. I don’t want to write much about his illness because it’s too fresh and that’s not how I want to remember him. Our big boy that we had called tubby ended up skin and bones and unable to walk steadily or jump without falling. He would barely eat and lost weight shockingly rapidly. We tried several things and saw that nothing was working and knew it was time to say goodbye. I looked to see if there were doctors that would come into the house to let the cat die at home, instead of at the vet, especially since he hated going so much.
So a vet came and did all the things that would have happened in the office. I couldn’t watch him get the shots, but Sal was there the whole time. Chachi went peacefully, somehow purring very softly at the end. Maybe happy to not be stressed or in pain any longer.. Maybe to tell us goodbye and he loved us, too.
Chachi was such a good boy and our home feels empty without him. I miss him rubbing against my legs and telling me about his day whenever I’d go to the bathroom. I miss him getting right in front of my feet, almost tripping me, because he wanted to be wherever we were going; we were a family.
I miss him.
I’m sorry I haven’t continued my trip report; I’ve found it impossible to write about a happy time when I’m feeling so…opposite. I will get back to it though, I promise. I just need a little time.