When I grew up we spent Christmas Day at my Grandparent’s house. This was back when my Grandparents were still alive, and everyone got along well enough to celebrate holidays together. Today things are very different. I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve seen some of those aunts and uncles. But back when I was 11, which was the Christmas of 1995, my Aunt Suzy decided to get my sister and I kittens, since the year before we had to put our cat, Baby, to sleep on Christmas Eve. (Talk about how miserable that Christmas was!)
Anyhow, my sister named hers Jordan and I named mine George but, because I was 11 and wanted to be cool, we spelled it Jorge.
Jorge was a great cat. Big and fluffy, grey and white. A real lover. He would lick you until he nibbled and it would totally hurt but you couldn’t get mad because he was so sweet. I actually remember this one time his big, fluffy tail caught on fire when it touched the candles on our dining room table. I guess it serves us right for letting cats on the table. He tipped the scale at about 18 lbs and we all made fun of him for it. Big, fat, silly kitty cat.
At 16, when my parents divorced, my dad kept him. My dad, who didn’t want ANY cats, started to really love him. He was hard not to love. I would see him when I’d visit, which started out as a lot, but as life goes… I got busy. College, my first pregnancy, buying a house, second baby, and so on. I would only see Jorge here and there when I’d quickly stop over my dad’s for this or that.
This last year my dad, who just turned 76, would give me the same update on Jorge’s health. He couldn’t jump on the bed anymore. He had a hard time walking down the stairs. They kept his litter box in the living room now so he wouldn’t have to go far. But if you looked at him, right in his big yellowy-green eyes, you saw Jorge. The Jorge we all knew and loved. He was still very much alive but my dad knew it was coming.
I visited a few weeks ago and my dad gave me that same update. When I was there I sat with Jorge, took him outside, let him lick me and was happy to see him looking as lively as he could. He didn’t look sick, just old.
Today I found out he passed away earlier this morning. It’s funny how I haven’t lived with Jorge in 15 years or spent much time with him, and yet I immediately got emotional when I found out. The last pet of my childhood was gone. My home life wasn’t always stable growing up but my cats, especially Jorge, helped make me feel better.
He was nearly twenty years old and lived a wonderful life. I can still remember falling asleep with him on that Christmas night and being so happy I had a kitten to call my own. Rest in peace pretty boy. Thank you for the memories.
I love you.