Goodbye, Pippi

(not in the mood to edit this I am sorry all you grammar nazis)

I tell myself: please be happy. Please stop crying every time you think of him. I can’t. I haven’t. But I know I will.

Pippi is in a special place in my heart. I have become attached to him. He was attached to me. I remember the times when I get too busy with work, he’d come up to me to say hey, and then interrupt me by sitting on my keyboard. During my prayers without fail he would sit on my lap.

When he started wanting to be alone that was when I knew something was not right. He was diagnosed with feline leukemia virus. I sought help from an alternative medicine vet when the conventional vet did nothing to him. And he was better. He really was better. He started sitting with me again, calling me, and everything. I was so happy. His blood count was better. He wanted to go outside and play with friends. He went beyond the fence to explore, but I shouted “PIPPI, COME BACK!” and he did. He listened to me. He was my cat.

That day I bought three bags of new cat litter for him. I opened up one bag, filled his potty and he used it immediately. His tail still responded when called. His eyes were wide, doe-eyed innocence. For some reason I was very tired that night. I fed him his herbal medicine for blood and a Vitamin B pill for his appetite. He hasn’t been eating, so I tried to force him some tuna. He refused.

He smelled of pee. Did he pee on me? I thought of his mother who died of an unknown illness peeing on me literally moments before she died. I had tried to reach her from under my bed, and she peed on me. I brought her to the toilet to wash us and she collapsed and passed. As I crawled under the bed to pull him out, thinking about his mother, I told myself not to allow Pippi under the bed anymore. That was when I smelled pee on him.

It’s okay, I thought. I will wash myself up later. I carried him to the living room on the sofa to chat. It was as if I had known that that was the last time I would ever get to talk to him alive. I told him about how he was my adventurous cat, having travelled with me to Melaka. I told him about his first birthday where I baked him a cat cake and he was happy to receive his present. I said I was sorry I was busy packing for Indonesia on his second birthday that all I made was a hat out of a Fancy Feast packaging and only gave him Fancy Feast. I asked if he remembered being on Buzzfeed as the fancy cat. I told him about how he wouldn’t let me walk alone and would always choose to accompany me. I told him about how he was my healthy cat, and he will fight the virus because he’s a strong boy.

Pippi used to like listening to me tell him stuff. He was not a PDA cat so nobody had seen him cuddle with me, but he did. Just anywhere as long as I’m near, he’d be comfortable. I would feel happy too knowing we complete each other.

After sitting still listening to me talk he got up to run to the dry kitchen where he liked to sit when he was healthy. I replenished his water and food, placed it where he would be able to see. I put his potty that was in the room in the toilet.

That night, aware of the pee on my clothes, I didn’t bring Pippi up to me to sleep. Myself told me that this was what happened with his mother: the one night I had allowed her to sleep alone, the next day she was gone. But I told myself that’s just being superstitious. I walked up the stairs and Pippi watched me. I looked at him. He looked at me. I said good bye. That was the last time.

I woke up at around 5 AM with my brother telling me, “Pippi’s gone.” I was not shocked, as if I had prepared for this. He was in the kitchen next to the fridge, where he used to sit when he watched me cook. I called him, he did not respond. His eyes were opened, his tongue was out. Pippi was dead.

I felt his body. It was still warm. I know Pippi loves me, so he did not want to leave with me watching him take his last breath. I used to make a joke about how he was the only Islam cat in the house because he prayed, and it gave me comfort knowing that he died in Ramadan on a Friday. It goes to show that even good Islamic cats die on a holy day in a holy month, I laugh at my inside joke.

It turned out everyone had their last moments with Pippi.  Everyone had somehow known that that would be their last time with Pippi, though he did not show signs of suffering like our other cats did. He died in good shape. Or should I say, he passed away peacefully.

There is now a void in my life. Pippi was a good place. Whenever I felt inadequate, not good enough, there was always Pippi. What we had for each other was pure and unconditional. I don’t believe I can have the same mutual relationship with anybody else, where everyone has hidden messages and motives. He was my child. I was a real mother. I took care of him. Bathed him. Fed him. Taught him manners. I was no different from a human mother of a two-year-old. Pippi is my baby.

I don’t want to adopt another cat because of my lack of ability to love less. When I love, I make sure that I love fully. I give my whole heart. But yes, I understand that when I commit wholly to someone else other than Allah, Allah will take him from me. Allah is reminding me that there is nothing but Allah.

I understand.

I used to swallow my tears to hide them, but for now I will continue crying over the loss of my earthly soulmate.

18 October 2012 – 26 June 2015