There’s an empty space in our household where Griffin used to be.
When we got him his eyes were still blue, and squinty and watery with conjunctivitis. His fur was a mess and he still had tar stuck between his toes despite multiple baths – he had been found stuck in fresh tar on a hot day, presumably abandoned by his family. He grew up to be a beautiful orange lion of a cat, with coppery ears and huge fuzzy white feet.
He answered to Griffin, Griffley-Whiffley-Woopsie-Poo, Bunny, Puppy-Cat, and frequently Doofus. When I spoke to him he always spoke back, usually just a soft quack to acknowledge me. He gave long, surprisingly musical nighttime arias at the base of the stairs ten minutes after we had gone to bed. He carried his toys around the house, squawking loudly at the same time (we could always tell from his tone of voice whether he had a stuffed animal in his mouth). He assigned himself jobs: every morning he led the way to the closet and supervised our showers, and every evening he sat on the kitchen stool and watched us make dinner. Usually watching was all he did, but if the butter dish was left anywhere on the kitchen island he would always go for it (prompting my husband to dub him the Butter Cat). When I came home from work he always came running to the door to greet me. He was a happy cat and held his tail high, like a fuzzy banner.
He never seemed to quite realize how big his butt was. We kept an Ikea silverware box on a shelf just for him to sleep in, even though he always stuck out around the edges. He also had to be retrieved from guitar and bouzouki cases on several occasions.
He was not a particularly well-behaved cat. He often got on the table when he thought we weren’t looking, and he liked to scratch our most expensive rug. He loved to eat flowers, and frequently knocked over vases of lilies in the middle of the night. But he was always sweet-tempered and never held a grudge, even when we had to scrub his chin daily with acne medication or were stuffing pills down his throat.
He didn’t like to be held, but he always wanted to be near. We set up perches for him near the dining table so he could keep an eye on us. He slept on the bed, but always at the far corner, right by the fan. He preferred to be cold, and often acted as a draft stopper in doorways, or sought out cool tile to lay on instead of pillows. But he adored nesting in blankets, or a pile of my scarves, and would spend a great deal of time kneading them into a proper Griffin-shaped configuration. Wherever I went in the house, he was nearby, watching.
Even with two cats still here, the house is very quiet. Nothing will be the same without my Griffin.