From time to time, maybe once per week, I remember something about Tiger or Sylvester. These were the brother cats whom Grace and I raised from kittens, and whom we considered like our sons for twenty years. Sylvester passed away after 19 years in October 2011, and Tiger at 20 years in June 2012.
I think that they lived the longest and lovingest lives possible. Their loss has continually crept back up on me. In quiet times, in the evening, or in the middle of the night, the tears just come.
They were constant sources of comfort and reassurance. They were the little ones who needed me to take care of them. They were the heartbeats of our home which kept on beating when we were out for the day. They were the someones who always welcomed us home, and kept our home from feeling empty or lonely.
I'm absolutely a cat person, and I find that there's something solid, immediate and uncomplicated about the love of a dear pet. I'm almost of a mind to say that "pet" doesn't capture the relationship properly - companion is a much more accurate label for the relationship. Tiger and Sylvester were each other's closest companions, and each of them was also an incredible companion to me and my wife.
I have often thought that I'd like to raise two more cats someday. Siblings, so that they can remain their own little tribal family. Nothing will replace our two boys, and maybe because of that, I might not have a cat again, but then again, considering how much happiness being a cat parent brought me, maybe one day I will.