It was a Saturday. The high that day was 59 degrees. When I left the house, it was sunny. The animal shelter was open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. I had been “internet dating” Edgar for about a week, and April 16, 2011 at 1:23 p.m., he became mine. Or, as “they” say, Edgar adopted me.
“This place is too dang quiet.” I said to myself in late March that year. I’d moved into my first house in late March and every morning when I got up, the only person to greet me, was me. When I came home, the only person in the house that cared if I fell asleep or spent half the night awake, was me.
I was lonely.
I’d left a home with my parents, a dog (Noah), and a cat (Halee). I was used to someone being there all the time.
This being alone thing was going to be strange.
When I moved, I told myself that I would get a dog. I love dogs. I love their loyalty and their pure and generous spirits. They are unconditionally loving.
I also love cats. I love their personalities. I love their quirks and their mannerisms. I love that cats are often like people. I swear they are tiny humans in feline shapes.
I found Edgar on Petfinder. His photo showed his eyes beautifully. My big man had emerald green eyes, and when he looked at you, it was like he knew everything about you.
“I’m here to adopt Edgar.”
“Would you like to meet him?”
“Okay, but I already know I want him.”
I walked over to his temporary home and looked at him. He was HUGE. He straightened himself and tentatively walked toward me. His kennel card read “not good with children” and that was fine. I didn’t have any.
I needed this big strong boy to want me. To choose me.
Cats choose the people they love. And it would have broken my heart if Edgar hadn’t picked me. But he did!
We were taken to a small room to visit. I picked him up and thought “holy moly dude. You’re used to eating well.”
I put him down and he walked around the room. Then he hissed at me.
I took Edgar to the front desk and proceeded to formally adopt him.
I signed paperwork promising to care for him and provide a good home. This seemed obvious to me, but there are adopters that should never have pets.
We left the shelter around 1:30 pm to start out new lives. I was a cat mommy and Edgar my baby man.
Edgar came out of his shell quickly at home. I introduced him to the house room by room, per my directions. He immediately jumped on the counters and staked out his new digs.
During our first night together, he jumped on the bed and snuggled with me. He was there to care if I slept. All fifteen pounds of him.
As time went on, we became attached at the hip. He woke me up in the morning with head bumps, looking for food and adoration. If I wasn’t fast enough, he’d get behind me and nip at my heels.
He also loved everyone. Any time I had family or one of my friends over, Edgar sauntered out to be greeted and receive love. My big man loved every grown up person he met. Edgar had an entourage and a fan club after 72 hours with me.
A year later, Edgar and I got married.
One of the first things Edgar did to my husband was hiss at him. I think now that might have been Eddy’s initiation process. “If I hiss and you love me, you’re mine.”
I was a little jealous of their relationship at first. When I came home from work and my big fluffy cat man was snuggled with my real man! “Traitor!” But I was happy that Edgar and Paul got along. They needed to love each other too. And they did.
Paul and I added onto our fur-family with the addition of Charlie the dog, Foxy (female cat), Marv (male cat), and Kip (male cat). Edgar hated each of them in turn as they came into his home, but then he got used to them and developed friendships.
Edgar and Foxy were a pair of little sneaks. No one can nap like he did with Marv. And roughhouse antics? Kip and Eddy had it down. Edgar even loved Charlie and head bumped him for love too.
Edgar Van Halen ran our house. He got us up and at it in the morning and ushered us off to bed. He told me when I worked too hard by stretching out across my desk and the papers I was grading. He told me that he knew I was tired by knocking a book out of my hands after 11 pm.
His kennel card said he was five years old. I think that was a gross underestimate. Eddy’s eyes were often cloudy, as if he had cataracts. And he developed diabetes last year.
When Paul and I made the decision to let Edgar cross the rainbow bridge, it gutted us. We had to do what was best for the big man but it was wrenching.
Edgar had so much fluid around his heart that it wasn’t visible on an X-ray.
We lost our big man on December 21, 2015 at roughly 9:30 am.
Before he passed, Edgar got into the bathtub and remained there. On his last full night, I stayed in the bathroom with him, petting him and reminding the big guy that he was loved. But he knew. They always do.
Each cat came in to visit their leader. One by one. But I think it was Kip that Edgar passes his wisdom onto. He’s mimicking Eddy’s traits and has taken on the role of leader. Even though he’s the youngest.
“Your total is $57.50.” I heard on April 16, 2011.
Edgar was worth more. So much more.
No one can get us up like he did. Or tuck us in with such care. No one can open gifts like he could. Or help is brush our teeth. He was a one of a kind love.
We gave him five years of the very best life we could. But he gave us a lesson in life and love. And those cannot be purchased. Even for the discount rate of $57.50.
About a month ago, Paul saw Foxy, Marv, and Kip all lined up by the door. I swear they saw the big guy sauntering outside the sliding glass door. The space in front of the door was his favorite spot in the house. But like this sister and brothers, he was not allowed to venture outside.
I think he strode by, looking in on his family and purring.
“Yep, they’re getting ready for bed. A job well done.”