Tuesday, August 31, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, my cat Darrel died. He was 13 years old. We have a bunch of cats at our house and Darrel was my favorite.

Here's why:

  • He was the most dog-like cat I know. When I would go out, he would wait at the front door for me to come home. Mrs. BigKat said that he really missed me when I left. When I went on business trips, it would drive him crazy.
  • He was smart, but he used his brains for evil. If he was a person, I think he would've been Lex Luthor. Okay, maybe he wasn't really evil, but he did like to do funny things just to bother people.
Here's an example: A long while ago, I had a roommate, Lisa. When she left for school/work in the morning, she would close the door to her room. Sometimes, Darrel would quickly run in and hide in before she had a chance to shut the door. Then she'd have to spend the next 10 minutes searching for him. One time, she was running really late and didn't have time to catch Darrel. She asked me if I could go in there and find him for her, so I said sure. Right after she drove away, I looked over and saw Darrel slowly walking out of her room. I think he just loved getting a reaction out of her. But she left and the game was over, so he went to go find something else to do.
  • He loved to get into places where he wasn't supposed to go. Okay, maybe this wasn't always good, but it made for some funny memories. Here's a picture of when Darrel got into one of the cupboards. Mrs. BigKat was cleaning out the kitchen. She left one cupboards open that was pretty high up. Darrel saw his chance so he got in (I'm not exactly sure how he did it. He must've got onto the stove and then took a superleap into the cupboard. I guess he just wanted to know what was in there). It kind of surprised her.

Here's a picture of Darrel when he got on top of the refrigerator. Again, I'm not sure how he got up there. One time, Mrs. BigKat and I were sleeping and we heard this huge CRASH downstairs. Now some people might think that maybe there's a robber, or that maybe the noise came from outside. But Mrs. BigKat and I both thought the same thing...Darrel...
It turns out we were right. He had gotten on top of the refrigerator and knocked off this huge glass bowl.

  • He loved being on top of my head. When I met him at the animal shelter, the first thing he did was climb on my head. He loved being up there. I used to wear a hooded sweatshirt when I worked at home. When he was little, he would go inside the hood behind my back and lie down in there while I worked. Or sometimes, he would just go on the top of my chair. When he got larger, he couldn't really fit on the top of my head very well, so he would often just try to climb up me and sit on my neck or back.
  • He had very soft fur. I mean really soft. It's much different than any of our other cats. I think one of the reasons I enjoyed petting him so much was because of how neat his fur felt.
  • He would do things to drive me crazy. Here's one of my favorite Darrel stories. When he was little, I used to get into work really early. I'd get in at around 4am, which meant that I had to get up around 3am. I tried to get to sleep as early as I could, but it wasn't always easy. You see, Darrel had this thing where he wanted to stick his nose up into my nose and ears. Now, he didn't do this all the time, only when I wanted to sleep! So I had to try and sleep with my covers pulled over my head and tucked under my body. But Darrel would still try and shove himself himself under the covers so that he could get at my face. If I accidentally had the covers too close to my face, he would just try and bite my nose through the covers. Eventually, I'd have to stick my head out so that I could breathe and he would immediately go attack my face. This would go on for hours, with me pleading with him to leave me alone, and him happily purring away. One time, I got smart and brought a squirt gun with me to bed. It worked for a little while. I'd squirt him and he would run away. But then he got smart. Once, he let me squirt him and just stood there and took it. I squirted and squirted until I ran out of water. When I had no more water, he continued with trying to stick his nose in my ear.
  • He was a big huge cat (I think 16 pounds at his heaviest) and acted like a tough cat. But he never hurt anyone. In fact, you could totally manhandle him and he would never fight back. Our children have grabbed him and picked him up in all sorts of undignified ways, and he never once got angry at them. Sometimes if I grabbed him for too long, he would start huffing and puffing at me (something I've never seen any other cat do), but I always thought it was cute so it would make me grab him for longer. I think he was just pretending to be angry, but was really happy with all the attention. Here's a picture of him with a baseball cap on his head. He probably wasn't very happy with the hat on his head, but he let me do stuff like that to him and wouldn't complain (too much).
  • We loved being around each other. With our other cats (and probably cats in general), it seems like they come to get petted when they feel like it, and then walk away when they're done. Darrel liked being with me pretty much all the time. He'd hang out with me all day while I worked. He would sometimes sit at my feet (recently, he had a new trick where he'd lie down behind my office chair. It was sneaky because it would trap me in my desk. I couldn't stand up without moving my chair. He knew I couldn't move it backwards because I would smash him. But when I'd try to nudge him out of the way, he'd just lie there, ignoring me). When I'd come home tired from basketball and collapse on the floor, he'd rush over and lie down with me (and try to stick his nose in my armpits, which I didn't like so much). The night he died, was was sleeping in my work chair. He never did that. I'm guessing that he knew he was going to die and laid down in a place where I sit most of the time. Maybe he went there because he knew I would find him. Or maybe he just wanted to be in a place that he associated with me. It makes me happy to think that he was thinking about me during his last moments.

I miss Darrel. I told Mrs. BigKat that I don't want any more pets after our cats all die. But if I saw a cat that was exactly like Darrel, I'm pretty sure I would buy him again. The other cats seem like they are trying to make things easier for me. A couple of them have suddenly turned a little Darrel-like. Alice has recently been waiting around for me when I leave the house and will often follow me around when I'm at home. Bill has been sitting at my feet while I work, and today wanted to sit on my lap just like Darrel used to do (it wasn't the same though because Bill kept wanting to bite my fingers when my hands would get near him. Plus he farted a bunch and made it stink).
I'm not sure what happens to animals when they die. There's not really anything mentioned about it in the Bible that I've read. If I had to take an honest guess, I would say that God made animals different than he made people, so there's probably not a cat heaven like some people would like to think. But who know. Either way, I feel blessed to have been able to spend 13 years with the best cat the world has ever known, my friend Darrel.

1 comment:

Tara said...

I'm so so sorry to hear about Darrel. :( Your post made me cry. I'm not a cat lover by any means (severe cat allergy) but just reading your post, I could tell I could like your cat, as weird as that sounds. :)

I'm firmly convinced pets will be in Heaven. Jesus will come back riding a white horse - that's in Revelations so horses are there, and God's eye is on the sparrow, not one forgotten by God (Luke 12:6). In Genesis, He created everything in creation, including the animals, and it was GOOD. So why wouldn't all the animals, including all of our beloved pets, be in Heaven and on the New Earth when we get there? :) As you can see, I thought about this a lot when Goldie died last year. (There are even books written about pets in Heaven, with Scripture - on Amazon, I never bought any, but it was interesting to see that they were available.) I remain firmly convinced.

Again, great post about Darrel and I'm so sorry. He clearly shared a great love for you, based on where he laid down for his last moments here on earth.