Tuesday, September 6, 2022

My Beloved Cat Malcolm

This week has not been easy for me. It was late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, September 4 2022, that my cat Malcolm died. I miss him terribly and I have been crying on and off the past few days.

It was on a hot day in early August many years ago when my brother and I were sitting on the porch that a kitten came running up to us, going, "Meow." He couldn't have been much more than three months old. We gave him some food and water, and while he was a bit standoffish at first, he quickly warmed to us. After failing to find any humans who would claim him, we adopted the kitten and named him "Malcolm Reynolds," after the character on  the TV series Firefly. Our other cats accepted Malcolm with no problem and it was not long before he became part of the family. Malcolm also quickly became my cat.

Malcolm may have been the most loving cat I ever had. He was certainly attached to me. He would sit on me when I was working on the computer or watching television. He would sleep with me in my bed at night. He loved being petted. He was also our only cat who loved being hugged. Malcolm would always come running if he saw either my sister or me with his comb, as he loved being groomed.

Malcolm was also very sensitive to my moods and would always come to me if I was feeling sad or if I was sick. If I had the flu and I was having chills, he would curl up beside me to keep me warm. When my dearest Vanessa Marquez died, he would not leave my side, cuddling with me even as I was crying nonstop. I am not sure how, but Malcolm seemed to realize who Vanessa was and how important she was to me. She spoke to him on the phone once and afterwards he would pay attention if I was watching one of her movies or TV shows. Somehow he connected her voice to her appearance. When after her death I set up an ofrenda for Vanessa for Día de Muertos, he would jump on the ofrenda, somehow without disturbing anything, and kiss her picture.

Malcolm's behaviour with regards to Vanessa was a bit odd, as he was generally scared of other people. It took him a long time before he would let my niece and my grandniece pet him. If someone strange to him, such as our plumber, entered the house, he would run and hide under my bed until they were gone. Particularly when he was young, Malcolm could be neurotic. He was still a kitten when for some odd reason he developed a phobia of my tennis shoes. I had to sprinkle them with cat nip before he would go near them. Malcolm absolutely hated loud noises, and he would hide for a time after the garbage truck picked up our trash. He loathed the 4th of July and would spend much of the day hiding in my room.

While Malcolm could be neurotic, he was not a coward by any means. He would gladly chase other cats and even small dogs from our yard, He wasn't afraid of wild animals either. Malcolm was also intelligent. He understood what the words "food," "treat," and "comb" all meant. He recognised the names of the other cats, as well as the members of the family. We had to start hiding his treats because he figured out how to open the bag without ripping it open. Among the many words Malcolm knew was "chicken," probably because it was his favourite food. He loved chicken so much he would actually try to steal it from us any time we had it for dinner.

As I said earlier, Malcolm was very attached to me. He would spend a good part of his day sitting on me and slept with me at night. He would miss me if I was gone for an extended period of time. He was always there waiting for me when I arrived home. As I mentioned earlier, he was always there to comfort me if I was sick or if I was sad. Malcolm was a great companion and I have no doubt that he loved me as much as I loved him.

The past few days have been hard on me. I keep expecting him to be somewhere around the house. Every time I go into my bedroom I expect to see him on my bed. Right now I want nothing more than to be able to hold him again and tell him that he is my "baby." There are some people who might think, "He was only a cat," but I can guarantee no one who has ever had a pet will say that. Pets, regardless of their species, become part of our families. In fact, I daresay many people love their pets more than some of their biological relatives. They love us unconditionally. They don't care if we are good looking or if we have money. All they ask is that we love them in return, take care of them, and treat them well. Malcolm was certainly part of our family. I loved him more than I do most human beings and he certainly loved me back. In fact, in the past ten years there is only one individual I have mourned more than Malcolm, and that was Vanessa. Malcolm saw me through some of my darkest days. He was always there for me. I know that I will miss him for the rest of my life.