Not long ago, on August 5 of this year, my Manx cat Arwen died. She was the best pet I’ve ever had, and I miss her so much. I keep finding her fur in different places. On tables, on my bed, on this basket she always sat on, all along the back of this chair where she’d visit me after I finished my video games. Seeing her hair all over makes me sad thinking about what I lost, but it also makes me happy. I love to see her fur all over, right where she left it. Evidence of a happy time that has come to an end. But, I’ve already discussed the sad times. Now it’s time to talk about the happy times, the life of Arwen.
I got Arwen about nine years ago at a pet store. She was eight months old (her birthday was 4/24/03), originally named Maria. She had apparently been rather sickly for a while. I have this paper with notes such as “still sneezing” and “red/runny eyes”, the poor thing, but she was all fine by the time I got her. She was a very friendly thing, and so I took her. I considered naming her Eowyn or Arwen from “The Lord of the Rings” (I’m not even a huge fan of the books or movies, but I liked the names), and I went with Arwen, being a bit prettier and easier to say.
And it turned out to be a great decision. Arwen was smart. Friendly. Playful far longer than my older cat, Alex. And what made her most endearing was the fact that she actually cared. It’s hard sometimes to believe she was just a cat. It’s like she was meant to be a human, but instead got stuck in the body of a small cat. She was very much like a person. She’d visit me when I got home, putting herself at risk of having bags set on top of her as she followed at my feet. If you got close to her, she’d get closer, too, and let you give her a little kiss. She’d wait until my video games were done, knowing I’d be distracted, and then once everything was turned off, she’d march right in to see me. She’d visit often throughout the day. She took over her own chair in the living room. She even knew I went to the bathroom before bed every night and would wait in there for me to come in.
And she was smart, as well. You could see it in her eyes. I have trouble explaining just how I knew, but I can at least tell you about her expertise in doors. While she couldn’t open closed doors, she was smart enough to know when to push the door or stick her paw around to the other side and pull. (Alex still doesn’t realize open doors can be moved.) She was great at sliding doors, intruding often in the bathroom in one house I lived (why did they give a bathroom a sliding door anyway!).
And the most amazing thing, I think, about her intelligence was that sometimes she thanked me. She actually appreciated when I did things for her. I set a blanket out for her when she wasn’t feeling well, and she got up even though it was uncomfortable to do so and laid on it and purred, as if to say thank you for trying to help. Once she was trying to pull the blankets away from the back of my bed. She liked to move the top layer, then, lay there with the top blanket bunched around her. But once, she just couldn’t get it. So I moved it back for her, and instead of jumping right up, she looked at it, walked to me first, and then went onto my bed. That was a thank you for sure. And then there were the times when I didn’t see her and would accidentally step on her. She’d start to run, and I’d say I’m sorry, and she’d come right back, as if she understood.
And I loved to come into my room and see her under the blankets. She’d make little caves for herself, and I’d find a lump on the bed, and I’d pet it, and she’d move around under there. Sometimes, I’d stand still nearby and do nothing. She would then start making sounds, and eventually she’d have to come out, as if it drove her crazy wondering what I was doing back there.
And as much as I needed her and enjoyed her company, she also needed me. She needed people. She loved to be around others. Not only would she visit, but sometimes she just wouldn’t leave me alone. She sometimes would just follow me everywhere, and I just couldn’t escape. I couldn’t open the fridge without her sticking her head in, and whenever the closet door was open, she’d always be there to try to sneak in. I just could not get away from her sometimes. Cats are supposed to sleep most of the day, but not her. She was always around.
And when she thought she was alone and couldn’t find me, she’d cry and cry. She was a Manx, and not only did she have a short stump instead of a tail, but she also didn’t meow like other cats. It was almost a trill, usually quiet. But, she could also be noisy and make these loud, mournful sounds when she was sad. I’d be in another room and hear that sound and know she was missing me. And sometimes I’d come home to find items brought to the front door. Or wake up to find things she left by my bedroom door. Sometimes I was home, right in the living room, and she still felt the need to bring things out. Like she was saying, look, I need love. Look at me already. She needed attention. That’s why she greeted me when I came home. She needed the love. She needed someone to be with her. She was actually happy to see me walk through the door. And I was happy to see her.
And of course, she liked to play. Sometimes, I’d simply run across the house, and she’d chase me as fast as she could go. She almost looked like she was skipping sometimes. And when I wasn’t feeling lazy, I’d bring out some toys for her. She loved this thin string and would run all over the place after it. When she starts to slow down, I hide from her, and then when I peek around the corner, she’s there. Sometimes without a toy, I’d hide from her, and she’d come looking for me. I’d hide from her behind the island in the kitchen, and she’d come over, and I’d keep going around in circles. I’d peek around the corner to see her looking around another corner for me. This would go on for some time before we ran into each other. She tried hiding herself, as well, like when she’d hide behind the laundry basket. Or she’d hide behind this one wall, and I’d stick a finger around the corner, and she’d slap it as hard as she could. It hurt, actually, but I kept doing it, and she would hit me many times before getting bored.
She also had many nicknames. She was always called Baby Arwen, long after she stopped being a baby. She was also called Baby Bear, Bear Baby, Chips, Peaches and Cweam, Beans (one of my favorites), Angel May, Princess Angel Butterfly Flower (all one nickname), and one of my grandpas called her P. T. Cruiser because of the way her back end was higher than the front. I’m sure there are more silly names, but I forgot.
She was also quite naughty. She loved harassing Alex, biting him and chasing him and making him cry, but I think she just wanted to play. She had a problem with toilet paper, and I’d find bites in it in the morning. In one place I lived, the toilet paper went on the counter. She’d walk around up there, then, give the paper the biggest whack ever. It would fly across the room and bounce against the wall. I’d put it up again, and she’d keep doing it. You’d just see her arm go back, and she just kept hitting it as hard as she could. She attacked a GameCube controller wire her first day with me (which I quickly put a stop to). She made a much bigger mess with her food than Alex. She left teeth marks in a stuffed cat my mom gave me. She twanged the doorstops and eventually pulled the end off one. And I could tell when she got up on my computer desk.
But, she cared. She was the main animal who ever seemed to really care. She was happy to see me and put effort into visiting me instead of waiting for me to come to her. She licked me when Alex never did. She even licked Alex once after a visit to the vet, I think, and seemed concerned when he was quarantined to the bathroom once when he was sick. She was more than a pet. She was one of the best companions anyone could ever have. She wanted to be a part of your life. You had no choice. Some cats you can almost forget you have them, but not Arwen. She was confident and made herself known. She loved you, and she knew you loved her back, and she was going to visit you because she just knew you’d be happy to see her.
Arwen will be missed dearly. I think Alex notices, too. The day she went away, he led me into the room where Arwen often slept. He still sometimes brings me there and then promptly leaves. It’s odd, and it just seems like he must be trying to say something.
Anyway, special thanks to Carl and Cary for their support. I appreciate your comments from the earlier post very much.
Baby Arwen and the Duck