Link

I love him so

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We found each other on November 30, 2000 when I was just a poor, struggling college kid and he was a stray, palm-sized kitten, cold and frightened, hiding under a shrub. He became my cat and I became his human.

On his sixteenth birthday, November 30, 2016, I had taken him to the vet. He had trouble eating, and well, you know what happened from then on. He was given two to three months. He had until February. He was supposed to be gone by then, but he stuck around much longer. Until two days ago on a late, warm May afternoon.

His vet comforted me by telling me it was because I went above and beyond for him that he defied expectations. But sometimes I wonder if it’s because he just didn’t want to make his human cry.

It’s a struggle to put into words how hard this was and how hard it will be going forward. So I will just just leave these here, pictures, words and my favorite song for Link, and then cry a little more.

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The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

The lumpy turns 15 today

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(This picture was meant to be a cheesy, 80’s style portrait shot, but nooooo… I had my sister, the graphic designer, put it together for me and she made it actually look decent and acceptable, if not ever-so slightly and uncomfortably cheesy. Anyway, now for the story…)

It was a freezing cold, November night, 15 years ago (long before global warming). My sisters and I had just arrived home to our ratty, old apartment in the slightly ghetto area next to the university. With a chemistry exam looming over the next day to mark my first ever midterm exam of my freshman year college, I had a lot on my mind. Studying, for one thing (ha!).

It was quiet as we walked upstairs to our doorway. The notorious neighborhood cat, code named Fluffy, wasn’t around to greet us. She was a squat, long-haired tabby with a high-pitched chirp, and a fidgety, practically bipolar attitude.  One minute she was the most affectionate, little thing ever, the next, she was running away from you as if her very life depended on it. We figured she was probably staying warm and comfy indoors. But just as we were about to unlock our front door, we heard the familiar chirping meow going on and on as if she was in distress. Strange, but we didn’t see her on our way upstairs. Normally, she would run straight to us the moment she saw us coming, but she was nowhere in sight. Unless of course, she was hurt and couldn’t run to us, hence the distressed meowing. We ran downstairs, looking for her, but by the time we came down, the meowing had stopped. We looked around the nearby shrubs and underneath the parked cars, but she was nowhere to be found. What if she was hurt? What if she was ran over and left for dead? Or, as I had theorized back then, What if someone stuck a large rock on top of her tail and now she couldn’t move? (It was a very late night, ok?!)

Anyway, my sisters and I were quite worried at that point, but as I said earlier, the meowing had stopped the moment we came downstairs so we couldn’t exactly pinpoint where it came from. When finally we gave up and walked back upstairs, the chirping and the meowing started again. This went on for a while, us going up and down the stairs to look for the source, the meowing stopping and then going off once we leave.

We finally narrowed it down to a tiny shrub. It was too small to fit Fluffy and besides, we had already given up the idea that the noise came from a hurt Fluffy by that point. I pulled back a handful of shrubbery when all of a sudden, a tiny, little kitten face popped up. It hissed at me… I didn’t care. It was so damn cute. A small ball of silver fur that fit in the palm of my hand. I grabbed it instantly, hid it under my jacket and took it upstairs. It was shaking so violently from the cold and terrified to death… And it also had a caterpillar stuck up on its backside.

I took care of the caterpillar (that’s how I found out he was a boy) and left him to sleep on my sister’s bed while my sister and I drove to the nearest grocery store that happened to still be open at that ungodly hour and brought back home a carton of cat milk and a feeding bottle.

He remained nameless for a day or two. There were so many names we came up with for such a cute kitten like him, but none of them seemed to fit. I tried to think of something that I love, something that stuck to me since childhood and will probably stay with me for the rest of my life. Yes, I used to be a gamer and yes, the Legend of Zelda was my favorite and still is. Hence the name Link. And he’s been with me ever since. We never knew where he came from, if he was a lost kitten or if his mom left him there. We waited for signs for a lost cat, but it never came. So we kept him.

He grew up to become  a squat, long-haired tabby with a high-pitched chirp, and a fidgety, but also practically bipolar attitude, VERY similar to Fluffy. Which made me wonder…

Anyway, happy 15th birthday to my lumpy, diabetic, old fart of a cat, Link. He still remains today a sweet, affectionate and somewhat needy cat. Almost like a dog, actually.  Love him to death.

Oh and in case you’re wondering, yes I did flunk that chemistry exam the next day.