Monday, September 28, 2015

A Writer's Cat To Remember

A Post By Jonathan

Unfortunately my wife and I had to bid our dear cat, Charlie, a final farewell yesterday, after 14 fun-filled years together, so I wanted to use my blog post to thank him for being such a great companion and writing partner. He really was a special animal, and a huge part of our family-- you will be missed!

While I have many great memories of "Chuck" --like the time he caught himself on fire jumping into a candle, or when he got his collar stuck in his mouth while it was still on him, or the endless stuffed animals, towels and blankets I would find laying around the house after he had "had his way with them"-- the best ones center around the time when I first started writing. My wife and I had just graduated from graduate school (in nothing writing related) and, after a really tough time finding employment, we ended up getting jobs three states away from each other. She ended up living with her parents in Michigan while I lived with Charlie the Cat in Virginia.

Finding my evenings rather free all of a sudden, I decided to take a crack at writing a book. The most I had written up to that point was a term paper or two, so I had quite a lot to learn. I wish I had read some books on writing (or at least knew something about story structure) before sitting down at the computer, but then again, I had all the time in the world. And writing was just a hobby at that point. So I wrote-- and Charlie the Cat was with me every step of the way.

Eventually, the two of us settled into a pretty good routine. I would come home from work, feed him, then head up stairs to the computer. I would write while he purred on my lap, then after that I would take him for about a mile walk around the neighborhood. Yes, Charlie walked on a leash like a dog (sometimes better). I mostly walked him at night so people wouldn't see me walking a cat, but I think he liked the dark better too...

It was great, but it was also really hard at times (my wife and I had only been married for about a year and a half at this point...). I remember one night when I was especially down in the dumps and Charlie jumped right up in my lap, rubbed his cheek up against me, and I suddenly didn't feel so alone. Cats take a lot of crap for being unfeeling creatures at times, but they seem to know exactly how you're feeling-- and exactly when you need them. I don't think it was a coincidence that Ernest Hemingway spent his time writing around all those six-toed cats down in Key West (of course I'd write surrounded by skunks if it meant I could live in Key West...). There's just something about their sleepy manner and that purr, purr, purr that put you in the writing zone.

Anyway, I could go on all day about the greatest feline in the world, but I'll just leave it at this: Thank you, my friend. And thank you, dear reader, for listening. Charlie truly was a writer's cat to remember.

18 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear about his passing, Jonathan, but glad you had him!

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  2. So sorry for your loss! Pets are a huge part of what makes a house a home to me and I'm sure you and your wife will both miss him a ton. Big hugs to you.

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    1. Thanks for the hugs, Brenda. Definitely needed them!

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  3. So sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is hard. He certainly seemed like your muse.

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  4. Jonathan I am so very sorry for your loss. It's been a month since my family had to say a final goodbye to our dog Casey. We had him for 13 years and it's been very difficult to adjust to life without him. Charlie sounds like a wonderful cat and companion and I hope he's up in pet heaven having a blast with my dog, Casey. I'm sure Charlie loved you very much and was thankful for the human he had in this life. And now I'm crying at work... lol. Oh goodness. I wish you well.

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    1. Sorry for making you cry, Tara! Just goes to the show the power the furry ones in our lives have over us, as anyone who has lost a pet knows I like to think that Charlie (and Casey) just ran ahead of us... and that they'll be there waiting when we get there. Appreciate you sharing!

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  5. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss :( I lost my Launchpad last Wednesday, so I especially feel for you.

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    1. Oh, Brianna, so sorry to hear that. I know Launchpad (such a cool name by the way!), Casey and Charlie all together in pet heaven looking down on us.

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  6. oh no!! :( i am so incredibly sorry to hear this. Charlie was so gorgeous and sounded like he had his own special personality. I lost my sweet cat Pudding last August, 2014, and I honestly didn't know how I'd get through it. We grew up together (she was almost 21 years old when she passed) and so many people told me "well, she lived such a long life," but it doesn't help, and despite her age I was in no way prepared for it and I went into complete shock...the heartbreak is still so brutal. We adopted a few days later (I was not on board, but my fam really wanted one) but now it's easy to love Penny b/c she's so different from Pudding. Penny doesn't feel like a replacement like I thought she might. Loving animals is so so hard b/c of the inevitable, but SO rewarding and worth every minute. "Cats take a lot of crap for being unfeeling creatures at times, but they seem to know exactly how you're feeling-- and exactly when you need them." and YES. Thank you. Cats have such a bad reputation, when they're actually super smart and loving. all my best to you and your wife!

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    1. Awww, thanks for sharing, Beth. That had to be so hard. I actually lost my first cat when I was 18 and she was 18, so I definitely know how brutal the heartbreak can be when you're entire childhood is filled with memories of such special creatures. You just wish you could freeze them in time. Here's to the memories!

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  7. So sorry for your loss :-( :-( :-( Cats are family.

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  8. Big hugs, Jonathan. The loss of a pet is so difficult. Charlie sounds amazing, and I'm so happy you were able to have him in your life. My cat is 10 and I've taken to worrying more often about how much longer we will have her with us. I had to go and hug her after reading this post. Then of course I had to feed her to make up for interrupting her 10th nap for the day...

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    1. LOL! Thanks for the note, Carrie. Give her another hug for me... just not during peak nap time;-)

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  9. Aw, sorry to hear about your loss. We've put a couple cats to sleep in my time. The second was only a month or so old, and it was heartbreaking.

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  10. Thanks for sharing, Deborah! Appreciate the support.

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