Happy solemn Caturday. It makes me so sad to sit here at my desk in Tilly’s room (she really did have her own bedroom, that’s not a joke) without my little monster next to me. I think I underestimated what a force Tilly was in our lives until I got home and felt the hollow emptiness without her here. She was so vocal and so communicative and so responsive to my voice and I talked to her all the time. She always knew where we were and wanted to be there with all of us. She would shuffle from one room to the next to get in on the action or at least watch from the doorway and I keep finding myself listening for that swish swish swish scooting across the floor. For a two-legged cat, Tilly was on the move a lot.
It’s funny that I moved from a studio to a two-bedroom apartment to accommodate my growing cat family (crazy town, I know) only to find that we were all still always in one room together. They just all liked to be wherever Nick and I were and some of my favorite pictures are of all three of them together flipping furry middle fingers at my attempt to give them each their own space.
Ralph and Weaz did not adjust to Tilly well at first and even after two years Weaz was still scared and Ralph was still a bully, but they managed to all live together. From the beginning I felt guilty about adding a stressor to their lives and Tilly definitely stressed them out. Weaz is Ralph’s biological baby and for six years it had just been the three of us. Adding Tilly to the mix kind of shook our sleepy routine like a snow globe, and with her gone now I see it settling back into place for those two. I wouldn’t have done it any other way, but I do see and appreciate the sacrifices Ralph and Weaz made to accommodate Tilly. It’s just so quiet now.
Last night Nick took me shopping for a cat tree. He wanted to do something special for Ralph and Weaz and something that would make me smile. I always said I’d never allow one of those hideous things in my home but life is short so GO NUTS, RALPH AND WEAZ. Seeing them in a cat tree for their first time definitely made us laugh. They love the damn thing.
I’m still so blown away by the response I’ve gotten to Tilly’s death. I received (literally) over 1000 messages from people all over the world who were moved by her story and that makes me so happy. She was a wonderful special little creature and I’m so proud of her.
In her last two nights Tilly slept in bed with us curled into me right at heart level with her little head in my hand all night. She’d never done that before and I will always remember it as her sincerest and final display of trust and love. She came such a long way.
People are asking me if I think I’ll get another cat and the answer (much to everyone’s surprise) has actually always been no. Cats are hard, man. They’re dirty and smelly and expensive and just all around weird and it takes a special kind of lunatic to understand why they’re worth every second of all of that. I am that lunatic. Successfully creating a bond with a cat is unlike anything else, and if you don’t get it you just don’t get it. There are lots of people like that, but I do get it. I love my cats more than anything and wouldn’t trade their filth for the world, but I didn’t go looking for any of them.
Ralph fell into my life without warning, pregnant and abandoned and then along came Weaz. It just happened. And then there was Tilly. I didn’t pick her in the midst of some six-year search for my third cat. Tilly picked me in a strange twist of fate that crossed our paths and I am forever grateful that she found me because I would take her in over and over and over again. It just happened.
So no, I’m not on the hunt for another cat but if you are, I would encourage you to use Petfinder’s advanced search to filter for pets with special needs in your area. I think Tilly’s greatest legacy will be shining a light on the hidden gems that are these special little critters who just need someone to take a chance on them.
You’ll find animals with special quirks ranging from missing eyes to missing limbs to chronic illness and everything in between. I’m not saying that bringing one of them into your home won’t be hard, but I’m saying it will be so worth it. Sweet little Tilly has changed my life forever. I am so grateful to her for giving us a chance.
Thank you for following Tilly’s story, for cheering her on and for sending me your support. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of it. Long live Tilly the two-legged cat.