This has been particularly difficult for me to talk about. Probably because it's May and I have yet to really let myself grieve. Probably because we've been in Arizona for almost a year and I have yet to really emotionally handle much of anything that's happened over the last year. There is a lot of grief and anger for me to deal with and I've kind of put my energies into dealing with what was in front of me, instead of why it was there or how I felt about it.
But we're talking about Pie.
Pie came to us the summer of 1994, when Richard and I moved back to Houston. We sublet a little apartment for three months while we looked for someplace to live and volunteered with the Homeless Pet Placement League that summer. They brought Earl Grey into our lives. He was 2.5 years old, fluffy and full of awesome. He also adopted a tiny, flighty, homeless kitten...Pie. And I do mean that Earl adopted him. After a good bit of time and a whole lot of coaxing, I was able to get close enough to the kitten to snag him and get him into our apartment, but he didn't let anyone else near him. Just Earl. Earl, who cleaned him and cuddled him and played with him. I'd never seen anything like that before. It was amazing.
Several months later, Earl came down with a bug of some sort. He was still owned by HPPL at the time (though I was fairly certain that we were going to be keeping him at that point), so they took him for a whole week to get him to the vet. Pie freaked. That poor kitten was lost. On the sixth night, he finally approached me, and I sat on the kitchen floor with him for a very long time. After that, he was my baby. It took another year-and-a-half before he let Richard touch him.
Fast forward. We had many cats come into our lives and leave again under various circumstances. Earl had obviously been an outside cat at some point and eventually turned into and indoor/outdoor cat at our house. When we took in a litter of kittens (he was about ten at the time), he started spending more and more time outside and finally took up residence (on his own terms) with a family who lived down the street. I still put food out for him and he'd come over and say hello when I was outside, but he let it be known that he was his own cat thankyouverymuch. Pie became our old man.
When we moved to Arizona last summer, he was showing his age. He'd had a tumor of some sort in his tail for years. We had it checked out and it wasn't cancerous, but he was going to lose his tail if they removed it (which they wanted to do because it had a tendency to swell and then explode like a giant blood blister, which is as disgusting as it sounds), but he was getting more frail and there was a fear that he wouldn't survive the surgery.
I think it's safe to say that pretty much everyone was shocked at how well he'd handled Bug. I mean, Pie was pretty much the center of my home universe and he was kind of used to being king of my heart. He didn't care much for change, and certainly hadn't cared much for the various kittens he'd been exposed to. That Bug latched onto him and they became buddies was somewhat amazing.
Pie was awesome with Bug. Just awesome. Bug could do anything to Pie, and Pie would take it. Body slams, using Pie as a pillow...whatever. It would make my mother cringe to watch, but Pie loved Bug and Bug loved Pie.
When we moved into our own house, Pie got to start spending some time outside. Really, only because he was too old to get over the fence, so we knew he'd have to stay in the yard where we could see him and where he couldn't get into too much trouble. He loved eating the weeds, keeping tabs on what Bug was up to, and acting like he could take on the neighbor's giant, barking dog. It revitalized him.
And then...he got sick. Fast. We woke up one morning and he'd been throwing up. The best I was able to tell, he'd jumped up on the counter and decided to drink the sugar-water that Bug and I had mixed up as hummingbird food. I thought it had just upset his stomach, but he just didn't get better. Even when he stopped throwing up, he just never got his strength back. It wasn't much of a surprise when we came home from Mom's one night and found him.
I miss him so very much.