Farewell Myboyfriend

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. – Albert Schweitzer

Myboyfriend just taken a couple weeks ago

Anyone who has known me for more than two seconds knows about my love of cats. I am told when I was two years old if I would see a cat I would bounce in my stroller and say, “Mine!” Like my love of television, the color red, and Sherlock Holmes I can’t think of myself without thinking of my love of cats.

Snowball and me in 1984 (I was 3 or 4)

Ever since that fated day when a neighbor handed me a white cat (much to my parents chagrin) I’ve owned cats. They were all outdoor cats, due to the fact that we lived in parsonages (i.e. homes that belonged to the church not us). That white cat was Snowball, but due to our lack of funds and her propensity to find mates, she quickly became Momma Cat. Her offspring dot my childhood and she moved with us several times. She lasted until I hit jr. high when one day she disappeared and never returned. Momma Cat is immortalized by the time I brought her to church as a kid because my dad had said to bring your friends to church. She also is the cat that would let tiny five year old me carry her by her neck without scratching or hissing. I always remember whenever I’d lay on the grass she’d start licking my hair and grooming me. She became my mom’s hero when she killed a rat and left it at the back door (okay, not for the last part, but for the first part).

At one point when I was in high school a stray calico cat, who was feral and kind of mean, came around. She gave birth to a set of kittens that were crazy unique (including a bob-tail manx cat we named Spot, a black cat named Henry, a fluffy orange cat named Ginger, and a orange stripped tabby cat I named Watson). Watson fast became one of the best cats I had ever owned. We were inseparable whenever I was outside. He shadowed me like a faithful dog. At the time I was home schooled, my parents had converted half the garage into a room and Watson could go in with me. He’d lay on my lap most of the day (sometimes on my textbook) perfectly content to wait until I had finished my schoolwork. I was heartbroken when we had to leave him after I graduated and we had to move.

Tigger 2005

Our next cat wasn’t actually mine, he was my sister’s because I was away at college and (sadly) couldn’t sneak a cat in like Tara and Willow do in Buffy. Tigger, who was 20lbs when we got him and so loving it made your heart melt, was also the first indoor cat (though my sister used to take him outside on a leash every so often). Tigger would sit on my face while I slept and then have this, “oh sorry, did I wake you? Feed me” look on his face when I finally pushed him off. Tigger would cross his front legs as he sat, giving him the appearance of royalty. When they lived in Iowa you’d often hear him coming down the stairs because it would be THUMP THUMP THUMP. Tigger’s best moment was when I flew him and Myboyfriend from Chicago to California. We had to take both cats out of their bags when we went through TSA. When Tigger came out the TSA workers all stopped and had to ogle him. “That’s a big cat!” One exclaimed. “What does he do?” Another one asked. “Not much!” My dad exclaimed.

Tigger and Myboyfriend 2005

Five years was a long time for me to be without a cat. Four years of college in a dorm room and one year in an apartment with two roommates left me desperate for my own cat. I often talked about it with my co-worker, Sandra, who had a pet sitting business (and cats of her own). So when I needed to get my own place I told her I was in the market for a cat. I still remember the day she walked into work and announced, “I have the perfect cat for you!” Shortly afterwards I was sitting in the living room of people I didn’t know, falling hopelessly in love. His name was Machu Picchu, a gorgeous (and large) black cat.

The couple that I had come to visit had rescued his mother from the streets who, as most strays are, was pregnant. Machu, his brothers and sisters, were all well cared for and all of his siblings had found homes — mainly because the couple had tried to keep Machu, but they couldn’t due to the husband’s allergies. Even though it was six years ago, I remember every minute of that visit. They had said I could take either Machu’s mother or Machu, but I knew deep down Machu was my cat. At the time he was one year, he played fetch (you threw a soft kitty ball and he’d bring it back.. well, true to cat form he’d only bring it *almost* to you). Both Machu and his mother were extremely vocal. I took it as a plus (and it was) because I’d be living alone for the first time. Shortly afterwards I brought him home to my first apartment, a tiny studio. I promptly renamed him (mostly because I didn’t really like pets named after places — I mistakenly thought they had told me it was an island and for years would say it was, wasn’t until later I found out it was a temple). Instead, I named him Myboyfriend. Gleefully I told friends and family that I was moving in to my new apartment with ‘Myboyfriend.’ It was a joke that I took pleasure in whenever I met someone new. One of my favorite moments was about three years ago when I heard that my coworkers had been whispering when I was out of earshot, “who is Tabitha’s boyfriend? She talks about him all the time!”

We fell into a happy life. He wasn’t as cuddly as Tigger and he hated being picked up, but he rolled against my feet and followed me around the small apartment. And talked. A lot. He loved trying to sleep in my small fridge and, when that didn’t work, I’d find him curled up in the sink. His one bad habit was running out the door at any chance he got. Sometimes I didn’t even see him do it and would get a call from the front desk, “do you have a black cat? He’s wandering the hallways crying.” One of my favorite stories (though at the time it was embarrassing) was when he streaked out of my apartment on Passover Night one year. The neighbor across the hall, being Jewish, had her door open for Elijah. I chased after him red-faced and caught him in their apartment. “I’m so sorry,” I said. “We had the door open for Elijah,” the neighbor said. “I know,” I said. “Sorry, it’s not him.”

Myboyfriend 2007

When we moved with my sister and Tigger to a one bedroom, Myboyfriend was happy that the kitchen had cabinets that didn’t quite touch the ceiling. He spent many hours observing the world from his perch in the exact center where he could see the entire apartment. When my sister ran out on me without a word, I curled up on my couch and cried. It was the first time he ever willingly snuggled with me. He climbed up on my back and rested there as I cried. Later he did it again when my human boyfriend at the time broke up with me.

This is what MBF did to every miniblind I've owned...

Myboyfriend had a distinct personality. Apparently he abhorred glasses of drink that he personally didn’t like. He’d dip a paw in them, taste it, and if it didn’t meet with his approval he’d topple it over. I learned to drink out of plastic with lids. He loved being sprayed with water, which tickled me to no end when people asked why I didn’t use it as a deterrent.

Myboyfriend and Jack with the Sunnydale Sign (artwork by Kayla)

Myboyfriend was there when I first discovered Firefly, Buffy and the wonders of Joss Whedon. He made his way into many of my podcasts with his loud insistence of being the center of attention. As I entered the social media world so did Myboyfriend (though he wasn’t that great at updating his info). When Dr. Horrible hosted a contest for applications into the Evil League of Evil, Myboyfriend seemed likely to join. His name is even in the credits of applicants on the DVD. The wonderful folks over at Beatnik Turtle even wrote him his own theme song. You can listen to the full song here: http://thesongoftheday.com/index.cgi?_d=101308

When we moved to California and back in with my parents, he had to adopt the name “Boyfriend” for everyone but me to call him. When I discovered a fun game (thanks to my BFF Kim) called (fluff)Friends where you have virtual pets, I immediately “adopted” the only cat character at the time and named him Myboyfriend 2.0. Later, when they released a black chat, Myboyfriend’s virtual self was even more true to life (I literally squeed when I heard I could have a black cat). Later, Jack joined and the adventures of Myboyfriend and Jack were legendary, both in the application and on the fantastic forums. After typing his name so much the users started calling him MBF, and it stuck. It was there I met Mindy, who I asked to draw books I based off of Myboyfriend and Jack. Other artists also drew beautiful pictures of MBF and Jack. These are just a small group of them:

Since Myboyfriend as a name was confusing enough for adults, I put his original name, Machu when I wrote my first Machu and Jack book. The book was extremely popular with kids and I was able to speak at several schools and tell them all about the real life Machu and Jack back home. I even did two Skype video calls with classes in New York state and Machu and Jack made special appearances on screen (with roars of delight from the kids when they did). The first book, “Jack the Kitten is Very Brave,”  was inspired by my cats fascination with me taking a bath. They’d sit by the tub and paw at the water, but never made the full transition into the water. The second book, “Machu the Cat is Very Hungry,” was inspired by Myboyfriend’s veracious appetite. Every time I’d walk anywhere near where I kept his food he’d run like it was meal time (even if he just ate). If no food came I heard about it in piercing meows.

 

It was only last week I noticed he was sick. He wasn’t talking, not eating much, barely caused any mischief and had taken to crawling into my lap (something he’d never done for more than five minutes before). The vet said liver disease and Myboyfriend crawled back into his cat carrier (something he’d never do in a million years when he was well). The prognosis was grim and the procedures many (and expensive).  True to his movement to his carrier I brought him home and attempted to make him comfortable. Feeding him medicine and water for a couple days. He seemed free of pain most of the time, only very tired. Then yesterday his conditioned worsened and he could barely stand. I stayed with him as his breathing lessened  and last night he died while I was holding his paw. I’ve been inconsolable ever since. I still can’t really believe he’s gone.

A toast, to Myboyfriend

Six years is not enough time to be with a cat I’ve fallen so hard for. Farewell, my love. Thanks for being awesome.

Myboyfriend drawn by the fantastic Nutty (Nuchtchas)

 

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9 Comments

  1. Posted February 15, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    and I’m crying again. I don’t know how you were able to put all of this in words (I know I still haven’t been able to write something about Candy passing) in such a short time since his passing, but I’m very glad you did. I loved reading not just about MBF but all the other cats, seeing pictures of Tigger reminded me how much I liked him too. MBF is a one of a kind friend and was very special. Love you, him, and Jack.

  2. Tabz
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    It took most of the day and a lot of breaks in between. I just knew I had to celebrate him while the words were tumbling around with my tears.

  3. Okelay
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Oh my god i am so sorry. I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet. Ive heard you talk about myboyfriend a million times and he really did seem an awesome cat
    Im sorry for your loss, really.
    Me and my cats send you hugs.

  4. lisa
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    i’ve laughed. i’ve cried. and i’m still pretty teary. i’m gonna miss mbf and he wasn’t even my cat. he was such a part of our many escapades on fluff and with fluffwarts. my heart goes out to you and i pray that the hurting gets less in time. *hugs*

  5. Posted February 15, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    *hugs* I’m so sorry for your loss, Tabz.

  6. mom
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Well, written farewell! Praying that the Lord will comfort your heart!

  7. Hjayne
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    What a beautifully written tribute, I am in tears. I am the woman, along with my partner, that fostered his mom and the kittens until their forever homes could be found. Thank you for giving him a safe, happy,and loving home. Though it has been 6 years since we last saw him I can remember his personality-he was a character! I also remember how perfectly you both fit the moment you met; I knew he would have a wonderful life with you and clearly he did. We have kept up with his mom and siblings and even sent out the notice about the book to the woman that adopted his mom -she wrote about it on her FB page :). I gave a copy of the book to my partner for valentines, he was thrilled to see that MB was doing so well and was clearly in the right home. I am so sorry for your loss and hope that the pain of your loss is soothed by the many happy loving memories you have of your time together. <3

  8. Sunshine
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry for your loss. Sandra sent me this link on Facebook. My cats, Sophie and Devi, are Macchu’s sisters. I’m amazed by the fact that his eyes are the same color as the girls. They also abhor being picked up, even though I force it on them for my selfish pleasure. Devi has the same habit of knocking vessels of water over as well, but only after she’s sampled it. I’ve told them that one of their kin passed, and while they seemed indifferent, they both went to nap together. They don’t usually sleep together but I believe they are now so they can collectively dream of their brother and the fun times they had with Macchu when they were kittens.

    My condolences. I know your heart hurts and I wish there was something other than time to soothe it. But the love, and the stories, they are still there. xoxoxo

  9. Colleen Lovell
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Such wonderful memories you have and such pain of loss. May you gather strength in your memories of such a lovely animal, and weave them into the secret places of your heart. Sending thoughts your way today .. cry a little, but smile at the fun you have shared too.

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