RIP, Gadget, Best Cat I Ever Knew

Posted: Aug. 13, 2019, 1:44 p.m.
Maybe to other people he was "just a cat," but to me he was much more.

This is going to be a long one. It's not possible to do justice to how I'm feeling about saying goodbye to my old friend and 10-year family member, Gadget, the best cat I ever knew.

For one thing, I'm feeling conflicted about the way in which we did it. I'm against euthanasia in principle for people or pets. The body just shuts itself down and dies when it's ready. I feel like it was the wrong thing to do, and I hope Gadget will forgive me. I know he will, but I wish I had been stronger and put my foot down and said no to my wife and let Gadget die the natural death at home that I think he wanted.

Oh well. What's done is done.

He was a special cat, having found his way to me at a low point in my life, lifting me out of it. He and I had a spiritual connection. He was my guardian angel; I really believe that. I didn't plan on getting a cat. I didn't want a cat, but he charmed his way into my life. I was all alone, broke, unemployed and saw little point in getting out of bed in the morning. If I wasn't up by 7:00 sharp, he would nuzzle me with his wet, pink little nose (never could figure out how he got the timing so precisely correct) demanding food.

When I fed him, he was so joyful! He would jump around and paw at my thigh as I prepared the food -- the cheapest, crappiest cat food money could buy -- and he would eat it up gratefully and hungrily.

He really lifted me out of a dark time and kept me on track. He was always keeping me on track.

If I came home after a few too many, he would greet me at the door, glad I was home safe but casting looks of disapproval, aloof as he padded off to the bedroom. When I was on the computer -- and I swear this is true -- if I was screwing around watching YouTube videos or something, he would harass me, walking across the keyboard, meowing loudly. If I was coding or otherwise being productive, he would position himself so that his chin was on my left wrist (leaving the right open for coffee) watching intently as the characters danced across the screen. How that cat loved to code! He would sit there for hours like that, checking my work, seemingly aware of every break point and debug statement.

I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. You weren't there. Only Gadget and I were.

We shared a lot of private moments, so many... had so many little customs and rituals. But he was also very sociable and gracious, which is unusual for a cat. He loved everyone I loved, and I think everyone who ever met him liked him.

I'll miss his voice too. He was a great talker with a large vocabulary of different meows containing different meanings: I'm hungry., Stop doing that!, Isn't this nice? Oh yes, I agree. or No, that doesn't sound quite right to me.

I know he will find his way back to me someday, but I'm sure going to miss him in the meantime. I wrote a little poem which I read to him last night when I had some alone time with him. He enjoyed it a lot. I hope someone else does too. Here it is:

Ode to Gadget, the Best Cat I Ever Knew

Thank you, Gadget

For guiding me through many a rough spot

For coming into my life when I needed you most

For nuzzling me with your cool, pink little nose,

gently demanding to be fed at 7:00 on the dot

during that period when I desperately needed help waking up

For your impeccable timing

For your silly sense of humor

For being such a brilliant conversationalist

For the immense happiness you inspired

just by being soooo cute and silly

For the bright light you shone into a dark world

my little lighthouse on the treacherous shore of life

For your unique ability to gracefully show your distaste

when I did something that displeased you

without being judgmental or accusatory

For the many hours of play we enjoyed together --

(Who knew a guy and his cat could have so much fun with

a piece of cork on a string!)

For your endlessly entertaining acrobatics

For never scratching what you weren't supposed to scratch,

never peeing or pooping where you weren't supposed to

never... really... doing anything bad, let alone evil,

the occasional game of hide-and-seek notwithstanding

For stretching out under the covers just before our bedtime on cold nights

so we would slide into a warm bed

For standing guard over us in the astral realm as we slept

For greeting us warmly each morning and joining us for breakfast

For seeing us off to work and welcoming us home each day

from the front windowsill, craning your neck to see if it was us coming up the sidewalk or just a neighbor

For comforting us when we were sick or injured

For giving us more love and delight than we could have ever

hoped to ask for,

asking only canned food and a clean litter box in return

For your wordless wisdom

For always fulfilling your life's mission as a loyal friend and companion to me,

right up until the very end

For showing me what really matters, what makes a good person

For, quite literally, being the most noble creature I've ever

had the pleasure of knowing

(I celebrate you far more than I do any TV "celebrity.")

For being such a good cat.

Mere words fail.  My gratitude is deeper than the ocean.

Pardon my ineloquence.  (I know you'll pardon it because that's the distinguished gentlecat you are.)

THANK YOU, old buddy

For everything

After you've had your rest, please come back to me.

I'm going to miss you terribly in the meantime.

Godspeed, old friend.