WARNING: If you are easily upset by sad animal stories, you may want to skip reading this post.
In 1968, when I was eight, we acquired a cat. My parents weren’t cat lovers, but my two parakeets (Maurice and Herr Vogel) had recently died (their cage sat on top of a heat register and the cage had overheated) and I was paralyzed with grief. My father (recently identified by me as a low-level narcissist and enabler), in one of his infrequent moments of compassion, decided to bring home a kitten to cheer me up.
My dad named her Trivia, because she was so small. Trivia was a brown and black female tabby, with huge, beautiful green eyes. I fell in love with her and soon recovered from my grief over my lost birds.
Trivia grew up to be friendly and playful, and always slept curled up next to me at night. Unfortunately, I have no photos of her anymore (since my MN-mother told me she threw away all the family photos because I asked for them), but here is a photo of another cat that looks a lot like Trivia:
At first Trivia was an indoor cat, but when she was about a year old, she started sneaking outside and there was no keeping her confined to the house once she got a whiff of the great outdoors. At first I was worried she might not come back or something might happen to her, but my fears were unfounded. Trivia always came home before it got dark or when she got hungry. She was never very far, and even came when you called her name.
Next door was a large gray tabby tomcat named Snoopy. He was about three times Trivia’s size and looked intimidating, but soon they became close friends. The cats would snooze together on the neighbor’s porch, and sometimes you could find the two of them on top of my father’s big yellow Pontiac, grooming each other or just sleeping. Every morning, Snoopy actually came to the back screen door and meowed loudly and pitifully until we let Trivia out. I really think he was in love with her. He was certainly an attentive and devoted lover, and very handsome to boot.
One beautiful summer evening Trivia didn’t come home. We called and called her, but she wouldn’t come. This just was so unlike her. My father and I looked all over the backyard, and then the neighborhood. Some of the neighborhood kids even joined the search, but Trivia was nowhere to be found.
She never came home that night, or the next. Snoopy was nowhere to be found either.
The next morning dawned bright and sunny. My mother found Snoopy meowing at the backdoor again, and thought he was calling for Trivia to come out. She shooed him away, but Snoopy stood steadfast. She called me downstairs to take Snoopy back to his house. When Snoopy saw me, he mewed sadly and I knew something was wrong. He turned and walked slowly back to his house next door. Something told me I should follow him.
There was an overgrown hedge of boxwoods that ran along the far side of the neighbor’s home. That’s where Snoopy went, and I followed him there. I was overtaken with a feeling of impending doom. Snoopy stopped in front of the most overgrown thicket of hedge, and looked up at me. I looked down into the patch of weeds on the ground, and saw a patch of brown tabby fur. It was Snoopy’s best friend, Trivia.
I leaned down to get a closer look, then leapt up and ran home sobbing. We came back with a blanket and wrapped her up in it, and drove her to the animal hospital. The examination found that she had been fatally hit by a car but hadn’t died immediately. She suffered massive internal bleeding but somehow managed to make her way to the hedges next to Snoopy’s house to die there. I realized that the reason we hadn’t seen Snoopy for almost two days was because he had been with Trivia, keeping vigil over her in the hedges.
Snoopy was never the same after that. In fact, we never saw him much anymore, and when we did, he didn’t look the same. He lost weight and a year later died of natural causes. I truly believe animals can feel love the way humans can, and poor Snoopy died of a broken heart.