I lost a friend. His name was Izzy. Izzy was a different kind of cat. He was extremely social. And curious. And very much into attention. Okay, those last two are most cats. But combined, it made him an animal who participated in everything we did, almost like a dog. So when we learned that he was terminally ill, we were suddenly presented with the prospect that someone we had talked to, sat with, played with and petted for 12 years would no longer be part of our lives.
I always knew that Izzy was really my best buddy. Sometimes I think I spent more time with him than I did Matt. I work at home so while Matt was off at work, Izzy and I hung out. We woke up together, we had breakfast together. He always shared my chair at the kitchen table. It was the most convenient way for him to get hugged and petted. Sometimes he sat next to me while I did yoga. If I was exercising, he would come to check things out. If I was laying on the floor, he came over and gave me a nudge. He came to see me in the afternoon when I was working. He liked to sit on my desk and lay over my computer. He sat on my lap every night while we watched the news. He sat on my lap when we watched movies. He liked to spoon with me when I was napping. Sometimes he just could not get close enough to me, particularly if I had been away. He was just always there.
Izzy was a big cat–18 pounds at his heaviest, about 16 inches tall and 32 inches long. He was just huge. He was an alpha male and walked with a big cat swagger. His tail was always up. He had a big loud purr. I used to tell him he had the biggest purr ever. It really was impressive. Sometimes it sounded like an organ playing three levels of music. He was incredibly strong, with big paws, and a grip that was kind of scary.
He really knew how to live and he lived large. I’d tell people Izzy was my role model. He could relax with the best of them. Sleep was his thing. He slept wherever whenever. Sleeping on his back, big belly up, legs splayed. That was Izzy. He had no worries. I made this hilarious video of him enjoying the fire in the drawing room. (We call it “the drawing room” because, well, why not have a drawing room? What is a drawing room anyway? I am not sure, but we decided to have one. I think this would be called the more formal “living room” in other homes, as opposed to the family room, which we also have.)
But more than anything, if we were there, he was there. We were eating, he was with us. We were watching a movie or tv, he was with us. We were sleeping, he was with us. He just liked being around people. Anyone who came in was greeted at the door and promptly asked for a pet or attention of any kind.
We had a whole back story for him. He spoke with a British accent, ala Winston Churchill. As you can see from the picture, he had a mustache and when we adopted him that was his name. I changed it to Izzy and we decided that Mustache was his spy name. We talked to him all the time. Or I should say I talked to him and Matt answered in his voice.
After the vet told me he was dying, I was stunned for a bit and then I just cried. A lot. It did not seem possible. He was so big and strong. Matt used to say a little bigger and he could eat us. But we could see he was going quickly. It was maddening trying to figure out when he should be put to sleep. The vet said, wait until he stops eating. The vet who was going to euthanize him advised we check his life score. Is he still participating, eating, doing what he likes? He certainly tried to the very end to be with us. He would hide but he kept coming out when he heard us. He came for dinner, he sat with us while we watched tv.
We have three floors and his favorite thing was to charge up the stairs. One day, he tried to charge and realized he did not have the energy or the ability to go fast. He seemed to not understand why his strength had gone. We encouraged him to take his time. Then he could barely make the steps anymore. He sat on my lap for a movie one last time. Finally, he stopped eating and we called the vet.
We learned he had liver cancer on June 1. On July 1, it was time to say goodbye. In between we cried a lot. And hugged and petted him and just tried to make him as happy as possible. Most of the time I cried and cried and cried. I still cry. I am trying not to cry while I write this. But that is a lost cause. I am crying. I lost my best friend. Truly. They say in Washington, if you want a friend, get a dog. I had a cat named Izzy. There will never be another.