People can often be divided into two groups: Cat People and Non Cat People. I am firmly on the side of Cat People. I’ve loved cats all my life and have been blessed with having the best cats (excluding SZ’s awesome horde, of course) in the whole world.
I’ve believed that what have set my cats apart from the rest, is that even Non Cat People like them. They’ve all had “personality plus”, whether it was their general demeanor, their playfulness, or their exquisite feline dignity. Non cat people have often said to me, “You know, I don’t generally like cats, but your cats are cool”. And, being the cat lover I am, I believe them.
Especially when it came to Hobbes.
When Hobbes Met MaryC
It was in my second year of teaching Kindergarten when one fine spring day, an adorable young cat (not a kitten, but not that far off from the kitten age) waltzed into the open door of my classroom. Immediately, my students shrieked with delight, “Can we keep it?!!”, as though all I needed was a cat-sized habitrail and we had a brand new classroom pet (our hamster, Gizmo had passed that January). “No,we can’t keep a cat in the classroom!” and I picked the long haired kitty up and proceeded to shove him out the first story window. I returned to my language arts lesson when–you guessed it–the cat came back, it wouldn’t stay away. I picked it up, and it hugged me. Literally. Both paws on my shoulders, holding me close and purring loudly. Suddenly, I had a cat.
I didn’t want a cat. My beloved “Kitty”(yeah, yeah, I know. Blame my mom. She trained my cat to come to “Kitty”. I had picked an elvish name from LOTR, good geek that I was…) had died that last december of old age, and I swore no other cat would ever take her place in my heart. But, there was this cat, hugging me and purring. And refusing to go away. And so, I had a new cat.
Hobbes and Maryc
This cat was all mine. No mom to name it something goofy, so I was determined to choose a cool name. Unfortunately, the cat was determined to ignore any name I chose. Even when I tried to bribe it with treats. I would call it by my latest chosen name (I think I tried Val Jean at one point, having seen the B’way musical that winter), but he wouldn’t have it. It wasn’t until one night, while I was reading a Xmas gift from my brother–a Calvin and Hobbes collection, that I thought, “Hobbes is a good name for a cat”. So I looked over at where he was dozing and said, “Hobbes?”, and he looked right at me. “So you’re name is Hobbes?”, he padded over to me and jumped in my lap. He not only chose his owner, he chose his own damn name. How very “Hobbes” of him.
Hobbes was everything you could want in a cat: dignified, playful and almost obscenely affectionate. He was the best friend I could ever ask for. What’s more, he was willing to share me. First with my boyfriend, and then (almost 4 years later) with a new little kitten (who also decided I was her owner) we named Riley.
March 21, 2007
On Wednesday, March 21, I took Hobbes to our vet, who verified my recent fears for Hobbes: he had lymphoma. It had spread to his heart and his liver. There was no treatment that would cure him.
They brought my boy into the room. Scott and I took turns holding him, saying good-by. Scott thanked him for sharing me for the past 10 years, and I told him how much I loved him and how I’d never forget how he came into my life, and as I whispered and stroked him, he gently, softly, and lovingly went to rest.
In his later years, Hobbes was our “punk”(always getting up on the couch and clawing the bejeebers out of it), our “Mr. Stinky”(whom Riley always covered for) and our “Poopsmith” (his droppings became legend). But no matter what nickname we came up for him, he was always, and will forever be, Hobbes–The best and coolest cat a human could ever hope for.