One day in October 2005 I was minding my own business when my co-worker Jessica turned to me and said, “My cat Jasmine is miserable. My new husband’s dogs chase her around and eat her food. She hides in closets all day. She needs to live with a single woman and you just moved into your own place. I’m bringing her to your house on Saturday.”
“Okay,” I said.
So you see, neither Jasmine nor I had any choice in the matter.
The day Jasmine arrived, she immediately walked out of her carrier and spent the next hour sniffing every inch of the house. And I mean every inch. I stretched out on the floor in the living room waiting for her. Once she’d assured herself that there was not—and had never been—a dog in my house, she climbed on my back and began purring.
During our twelve years together, we had an arrangement. I never made her wear little hats or sweaters, kept cardboard boxes and bags on the floor at all times, and only pet her on the head. In return, she never once bit me or scratched me, and she spent every night sleeping on the pillow beside me.
As far as arranged marriages go, it was a ringing endorsement.
For an indoor cat, she had her share of mishaps. She fell out my second story window and broke her leg. One day I came home and found her head split open. That took stitches and staples and neither the vet nor I ever figured out how she managed it.
Once, many years ago, I babysat my aunt’s cat, Puffin. Jasmine didn’t mind at first, but Puffin did. Puffin was constantly jumping on Jasmine, trying to fight and wrestle her. This was when Jasmine’s broken leg was in a cast, but Jasmine kept shaking her off, refusing to fight. Until the night I was sitting in bed reading and Puffin curled up on my lap. For the only time, I saw Jasmine hiss and growl as she attacked Puffin and sent that little puff ball running.
I got it. She was an only child, and so was I. We don’t share.
The end was not a surprise, and yet it was. Over Thanksgiving weekend, Jasmine let me know it was time, and on a sunny Saturday morning I took her to the vet.
Any of you who have made that final journey and decision, well. I don’t have to tell you how I felt. That trip is the invoice due for the love of a pet. Not sweeping up litter or cleaning up hairballs, or buying sixteen different flavors of treats until you find one they will deign to eat.
Jasmine loved and was loved. She was healthy and lived to be an old lady, and died peacefully surrounded by those who loved her most.
None of us can hope for more.