Now, 5 days after losing Charley, I feel I have got it together enough to sit down and tell you a little bit more about her. Words don't really cut it and I'm sorry this is long, but I hope it's a fitting tribute to the cat I loved so much.
Charley came to us in August 1986. She had been found abandoned along the roadside and we took her in, even though my mother wasn't really a catlover at that time. She was pure black, shorted haired and no more than a few weeks old, but in pretty good shape considering her ordeal.
From day 1 she just captured my heart and she turned into quite a character. She had what we called her "funny half hour" - every day around the same time, she would spring up and run like crazy around the house. Round and around she would go, leaping over furniture, running along the back of chairs, and all for no apparent reason other than making us laugh. She also used to hide behind things and then stick her paw out just as you were passing, to try and trip you up
When I moved country a few years ago, it was tough to leave her, but I knew she was in great hands with my parents and I couldn't bear to cause her any stress - she had lived in the same place her whole life and was quite old already by then. I got to see her quite often and in between visits we used to "talk" on the phone - she was a real chatty cat. Each time I was back home she would climb up to my window in the mornings and meow to get in - my dad said she never did it when I wasn't there...
About 18 months ago she started to show real signs of aging - she lost a lot of weight, her fur lost its gloss and she had kidney problems. I guess even then I started to prepare myself for the worst. Each time I left her I'd say "I love you Charley. Be a good girl" (through my tears).... I saw Charley for the last time a few weeks ago, but as I was leaving I didn't say my usual line, I just said "Bye Charley" - do you think subconsciously I knew that it really was the last goodbye?
In the last 10 days, Charley developed intestinal problems and she had a large lump in her stomach. I lost so much sleep in the days before she died, worrying that the time was coming soon. I talked a lot about it with my dad and tried to think rationally even though my heart was breaking - I even asked him to take a look at some information I found on the net - bless him, he read every word.... I guess my parents had grown to love her like I did.
Charley was put to sleep on the morning of Friday 11th March 2005. She would have been 19 this summer. 19 years seems too short. What I wouldn't give for 1 more day, 1 more hug, just 1...
I thank God for my dad who stayed with her and held her till the end, but it kills me that I wasn't there
I truly hope there is a place called Rainbow Bridge and that you'll be there waiting for me when I come.
I love you Charley. Be a good girl.