April 26, 2006

Ode to Pug

The sun rose slowly, like a fiery furball coughed up uneasily onto a sky-blue carpet by a giant unseen cat. - Michael McGarel


One year ago today, I lost my best furry friend in the whole wide world. He was my fur child; my fuzzy angel… my “precious”... My Pug. Pug was a Maine Coon Mix. We found his mother as a kitten, hiding under an office building where my husband (then boyfriend) worked. His co-workers planned to exterminate that week, and we wanted to save them. I was able to coax the kittens out for a brief moment with my tricky “mama cat noise”… just long enough to grab one of the fluff-balls. I was moving (fancy that!) during the first few weeks after we caught her, so we let her stay at my husband’s mom’s house for a while. Somehow, she ended up staying there and was not returned to us. Whatever anger I might have had over having my kitten stolen was soon forgotten – once I looked into the eyes of the cat of my dreams: her cutest kitten, Pug. Kevin’s mom gave him to us as a return gift for his mama. Pug had two sisters and one brother. Oliver, the grey and white striped tabby (pretty rare coloring) who was short-haired… and the two black short haired sister-cats. All of them were given away. I have no idea what became of them. After having Pug, his mother ran away from my mother-in-law’s house. We never saw her again.


Pug was the only long-haired kitten from his litter. He curled up in my hands on our way home with him and slept with his belly in the air. He was so cute, that even people who didn’t like cats wanted to pet him. He had big funny paws (like most Maine Coons) that looked too big for him. He liked to talk to you in broken Cat-English, and he loved riding in the car. Pug was our first child. We doted on him. We would pin his furry paw to the pillow until he tired of fighting and fell asleep with us. After doing this a few weeks, he became a teddy bear and slept with me every night for nearly 12 years. He would have turned 12 in October of 2005.


Through the years, Pug gave us smiles. We have fun memories of him climbing the fake Christmas tree his first year and it snapping in half… him dangling from the top with the tree sideways… and climbing into the tree the second year only to bat off every ornament and snatch up all the swirly glitter wands to chew on them inside the tree. He was a good friend, a funny companion… and a mischievous trouble maker. He purred my babies to sleep while I was pregnant with them. He helped me do paperwork and lesson plans (by lying on my papers and chasing my wadded up receipts). He kept me company any time I sat on the floor or napped in the bed (allowing me to use him as an arm muff – my arm neatly between his legs all the way down his belly while he slept).


Pug was always entertaining. He took first place in everyone’s lap when we had visitors (even the dog people loved him). He brought me splendid gifts (geckos, lizards, birds…) and kept the pests down (he ate bugs and spiders!). If you told him to catch the bug, he would look for one and meow until he found it! He only once swatted and scratched the kids (and after being reprimanded, never did it again). He kept us entertained long hours by letting us swing him around in plastic grocery sacks (his idea of course) and squishing himself into tiny boxes so the kids could push him around on the floor. He liked to run and jump on our rocking ottoman so it would rock him. He was a blanket lover. We had a blanket we all fought over because it was Pug’s “magic blanket” and whoever had it would always get a visit from the sleepy kitty. I could roll him up like a taco in a blanket and leave him just a hole to peep out of and he would lie on the bed like that for half a day!


Pug also knew when you were down. He came to check on you if you cried. He followed you around like a puppy. He usually always came when you called him. He was a people cat. He really thought he was one of the family… and we thought he was too. We liked to say he was “high maintenance” because he wanted running water from the sink rather than a water dish, and he was WAY to good for "people food" (unless you gave him a little piece of black olive). He would wait patiently for you to turn the water on for him in the bathroom. He liked to sit with you if you were in the restroom or taking a shower, too. He just liked to be around us all the time.


We were having a pretty rough year last year trying to sell the house while my husband was commuting for eight months over 300 miles to work each week (living in another city for the week, and coming home on weekends). It took eight months to sell the house, and during that time, I allowed the kids to get a kitten of their own while Daddy was gone so much. We got Twitchet in March, and Pug tolerated him OK. Pug was old and slow (my favorite kind of cat), and Twitchet was playful and slept with my kids most of the time. On April 26th, 2005, I got the dreaded phone call from my neighbor across the street. At 7:00am my neighbor called to tell me that my cat was dead in the lady-across-the-street's front yard. Sure enough, it was Pug. He was like a child to me, for almost 12 years... (we got him the year we got married). There have been a river of tears shed since my "Squirrelly-Man" died. Morgan offered to give me her kitty (Twitchet) to make me feel better (isn’t that sweet?). I told her that I was really sad about Pug, but I was really GLAD it wasn’t Kaden or her on the driveway! That all happened right before the Homeschool book fair last year. My friends came by to offer condolences and chocolate the day Pug died.


I was glad I allowed the kids to get Twitchet. Since Twitchet was the children’s cat, Kevin thought he would get me another kitten to help me get over my loss a month later. I grieved for my Pug, still. We picked up a tiny baby girl kitten at the kill-shelter downtown. Soon, we found that she was very sick. We decided to give Twitchet back to his original owner when we discovered how sick our new kitten, Minga was. It took a lot of time, prayers, medicine and money, but we nursed her back to health (she is the kitten we have today).


On Pug’s last day with us, we were laughing at he and Twitchet because Pug was sitting on the seat of our little antique school desk and Twitchet was inside the cubby hole for books under him, playing with his tail. He kept popping Pug gently to get Pug to play, and Pug would continually slap him back into the hole without making a sound (looking as if he was just a put-out grown-up with a pesky kid to deal with). The kids giggled their hearts out because it went on for quite a while. I think Pug actually was growing to be used to the little orange guy. I felt so horrible about his death the day it happened, though – because his last night was a Monday, and I could not find him when I went to go sit down on the couch to watch “24”. I only watched one show a week, and that was it. Pug liked to sit in my lap and let me pet him while I was on the couch. While I was watching the show, I let the kitten get in my lap. Moments later, Pug walked over and tried to get on the couch and saw him… thus walking away indignant. He cried to get outside not long after, and as USUAL, I let him out for his last run around for the night… but I forgot to open the garage door a bit. I felt so guilty that maybe if I had left that door cracked, he could have gotten away from the dog that probably got him (or car). He probably slept under the neighbor’s car that night. I felt pretty responsible that he didn’t make it, and so awful that our last moment together was of him mad at me for letting the kitten sit on the couch with me.

I can only hope that one day, I’ll get to see my lizard-catching, best 4-legged friend when we all get to Zion. I’m sure there can’t be heaven without cats. I know that God created Mr. Pug just for me (and all the other lives he graced). The twelve years we had together were wonderful… and he is a hard act to follow. There will always be a Pug-shaped hole in my heart. I hope that all of you cat lovers out there can have a kitty as wonderful as my man-cat was. He was the sweetest “furry aminal” I’ve ever met. I bet he’s curled up on God’s magic blanket in the sky right now… and has an endless flowing river of running water at his disposal. I hope our paths cross again. Until then, my friend – I love you, and I’ll see you on the other side!


What is a Cat?
Gentle eyes
that see so much,
paws that have
the quiet touch.

Purrs to signal
"all is well"
and show more love
than words can tell.

Graceful movements
touched with pride,
a calming presence
by our side.

A friendship
that will last and grow -
small wonder
why we love them so.

Author Unknown

"After scolding one's cat one looks into its face and is seized by the ugly suspicion that it understood every word. And has filed it for reference."
- Charlotte Gray


Sheri said...

Aww sweet kitty! So sorry for the guilt you feel. By the way, that Pug is HUGE! I had a cat like him once, name K-I-T. So huge, so sweet...

buggymug said...

(((hugs))) What a sweet tribute to your kitty. Makes me wanna go out and squeeze all my baby kitties and their mama!

BTW - want a kitten?? *wink* I have 3 gray striped babies! :)


rich glasgow said...

What a beautiful cat! A really great tribute, Heather. It's so tough to lose such a loved "pet." They are family, afterall. Thanks for posting so many pics...he looks like a large long haired version of my spoiled Little Joe, who you saw at my blog. Take care!

Sprittibee said...

Thanks Sheri, Bug, and Rich. :) I have been wanting to write something in memory of him for a year, but felt like waiting until today. I thought a lot about this last night and wrote most of it before bed. Today I did all the photo blocks. I wish I had some kitten photos... but most of those are in the last few years. Our Minga is part tabby, part calico, and part Maine Coon. She really is a pretty kitty. She's what they call a "Tortie" and has the "Red-head" personality. The vet told us that most Torties are very defiant and rotten... so we're in for a real long haul with her! Her brother looked JUST like Pug, and although I really wanted him, it was just too early to have an "imposter" around the house!

ljc said...

I am sorry about your kitty. We just got one and already I love him so much. Hugs.

Sprittibee said...

Thanks ljc. Glad Oliver is enjoying having a little feline brother! Loved the photos. Thanks for the comments and sweet email.

Lynn said...

The holes that they leave behind are awful. They don't seem to get filled - just overlapped - so you can grow to love another whilst never losing your love for the one no longer with you.

You've expressed your love for Pug very eloquently & it was very moving to read.

I think that you'd still feel guilt, no matter how or in what circumstances he died. It's only natural - because you're still here & he's not. Bet you that he would have (has) forgiven you though.

And maybe sometimes as you think of him, you can close your eyes & imagine again the feel of your arm in it's furry muff & the feel of his fur against your skin... and just know that, someday, he'll be waiting for you again.

Sprittibee said...

Thanks Lynn. Yes, I hope I do get to see Puggie one day again. I try and not beat myself up about it. I sure do miss that cat!

Catnabbit said...

That was a beautiful tribute. It can be painful to lose a beloved member of your family, but there is comfort in the happy memories and knowing that they await us on the other side :)

Sprittibee said...

:) Thanks Catnabbit.

Billi-Jean said...

What a wonderful tribute! :)

How do you feel now that you've done it?

Sprittibee said...

Thanks BillieJean. I had an with your name! I feel much better after posting about Pug. I've been wanting to do it since I first started blogging... and have just gotten knots in my stomach thinking about it... so I thought maybe the time was not right. I started thinking about it in March again, and I feel a little closure now. Thanks for inspiring me to do it. Pug and Squatch are playmates now!

Gretchen Wyco said...

I got a cat that is exactly like yours!!! His name is Sir Frederick Tinkle-Pooh the 3rd. Pooh is the sweetes cat I have ever had (out of 10) and my personal pet. He is 3 years old now and looks just like your Pug. He has the cutest meow that really isn't like any cat i have ever heard. He will follow me around and when I sit down he will jump up on your lap and lay there all day if he could. Was Pug nutered? I got this kitten from my homeschooled friends house. Her orange & White cat had a littler and we don't know exactly who the father is. Well, I can send you a picture of him if you want. My E-mail is Dililaflower@aol.com . Maybe Pooh is some long lost relative of Pug.
-Gretchen W.
P.S. I know how you feel about loosing a very loved animal. I had a pet duck that imprinted on me and he ended up being killed. I'm so sorry for you.



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