Sixteen years ago, I was not really much of an animal lover. I had my hands full raising my daughter as a single dad and making a living – a lot like most folks these days I suppose. Then one day my girlfriend and my daughter decided that they wanted to get a cream color Persian kitty. I was a bit ambivalent about the whole thing, but I acquiesced. On the way home that Friday night, we stopped at a pet store and got the carrier, a scratching post the size of compact auto, and numerous cat toys – all before they even began their sojourn to the wilds of Sacramento to find this one of a kind kitty. The two of them drove off in the noon day sun, and I stayed home and watched a ball game (baseball I think) – a good compromise I thought. I was not particularly excited about the whole thing but I accepted the inevitable.
Early evening they returned with a tiny little kitty that was a mixture of browns and black and I suppose a little tan or cream color. This was not what I expected. This was not a cream color kitty I was expecting. In fact, at first I frowned and said – “What’s this – this is not a cream colored kitty?” But then it happened. She looked up at me and I could swear this was not an animal I was looking at – but a human – an old soul. She was a magnificent specimen. Perfect face. A sweet little kitty with big eyes, bushy fur, but a much more balanced looking face than the sort of “squashed” faces you see on many Persians. My girlfriend the caterer named this tortoise colored Persian – Tiramisu. Appropriate. Same colors as that great Italian dessert.
I am not really a great story teller and certainly I cannot tell you the joy she brought to our family, but I do remember that I had one request that I whispered under my breath during those first days after she arrived: “I hope she never grows up! She’s just so perfect as she is!; I hope she doesn’t turn into one of those nasty old big cats that I hadn’t much use for”, I thought to myself – and after almost 16 years she never got over six pounds and most of that was her magnificent coat.
My big hearted girlfriend decided when Tiramisu was about 8 years old she needed a companion. So she rescued this funny looking Himalayan that had been so matted that the groomer was forced to shave his whole body except his large black and gray head. When we looked at his little skinny body with that big head and those beautiful bulbous eyes, I naturally thought of ET – and from that day on he was no longer Mr. Tibbs, the abused neglected cat, he was ET, the most loved cat in Marin County.
In Tira’s (short for Tiramisu) last years, we found a benign growth in her neck and our Vet successfully operated and she seemed to be back to normal. But eventually, like all of our best friends with fur, she succumbed to the ravages of time. She was a noble cat – Tiramisu. Unlike many cats and people for that matter, she was stoic – she never complained no matter what the situation – even when she was being groomed and bounced around like a rag doll, she never made a sound. I can’t even remember her even giving off one Meow (though I’m sure she did from time to time). She did hiss a bit when she was groomed, but hardly any other sound – though I know she could have made some nasty ones if she wanted. But that was not who she was. She was an angel kitty from the day she entered my life until the day she passed away.
That was a tough year for me. My mother passed away at the grand age of 96 and though I had been psychologically preparing for her passing for years – it was still one of the most painful things any human can go through – prepared or not – and certainly I’m not sure if I have totally let go. But how I’ve changed in the sixteen years that Tiramisu was a part of my life – only a few months after my mother’s passing – I lost another member of my family. At first I felt almost a bit guilty for feeling as bad about the loss of my cat as my mother, but I realized that they were both family and they were both irreplaceable. I will miss them both. I look forward to seeing them both in heaven. I know they have both made me a better person and I know they’re both in heaven looking down and waiting for me to join them. Sometimes I wonder why we humans can’t love everyone the same, but I just don’t think it’s possible. But I do know now that loving a few people really well while we’re here is probably good enough for our imperfect souls, and I know now that humans are not the only angels in heaven – there’s at least one angel kitty there too!

— Alan from Fairfax, CA