I haven’t been feeling stellar lately, on an emotional level, so to counter that, I’ve taken to binge-watching Cheers. I figured it would have a few Very Special Episodes, but nothing on the level of, say, my own bleak outlook of the dull gray wasteland that is my existence.
Then I got to the episode where Diane’s cat died.
Honestly, I’ve never really been a fan of Diane. She’s a snob, which bothers me, and maybe her constant need of validation concerning her intelligence hits a little too close to home. I found it hard to sympathize with her. But then she found out her cat died, and she was an emotional wreck. Everyone made fun of her for it, and I became fiercely angry on Diane’s behalf. I connected with her then, because I know what it’s like to love a cat that deeply.
My own cat is eighteen years old, which is ancient for a cat, and it’s starting to show. He has arthritis, which makes his back legs are wobbly, and he can’t properly scratch his head, often relying on a (literal) helping hand. He had hyperthyroid, which has caused an increase in appetite and decrease in weight, and is most likely the cause of his galloping heartbeat. He’s lost none of his personality, however, and is still the chatty little brat he’s always been.
In the episode, Diane confides in Sam that, when she was younger, her cat saved her life, simply by being there. If she was to commit suicide, who would care for her sweet Elizabeth? So she stayed.
Any reason to not kill yourself is a good reason. But that one affected me so much because it was my reason, too. In high school, struggling with a darkness that had yet to be named, I thought of escape. Death seemed easiest. But how could I do that to my cat? He would wonder where I went. Why wasn’t I there to play with or pet him or be a general nuisance? Whose laundry would he sleep on?
This cat has been through all of my important life events: moving across the country to Philadelphia, learning a new religion and school system and culture, gaining friends, starting high school, losing friends, losing hope, graduating high school, being a miserable failure at college, being diagnosed with depression, gaining hope, making new friends, and testing the image-sharing function of every new social media platform. That furry little loser is my best friend, and I am scared every moment of the day that I’m going to lose him. So when Diane sat in Sam’s office and cried over the loss of her best friend, I was struck with the realization that one day, perhaps soon but God willing not for a while yet, that I would know, on an intimate level, that kind of pain.
So much for my bright and breezy sitcom binge.
My cat is eighteen years old, and I am lucky to have spent nearly all of those years with him. I don’t really know how to end this, because an ending is what I fear most. So, to conclude, here are some pictures of him in all his fluffy glory: