The cat showed up just before Halloween. I wrote about those early days with her, and how much I enjoyed having her in my apartment. Those feelings increased even more after Christmas, in January, when Kevin moved out.
I would come home from seeing friends and have to brace myself for Kevin not being on the couch when I walked in, smiling, asking me about my day. His absence was still extremely evident, but it was softened by the sight of this weird, furry creature running to greet me at the door, just as happy to see me.
By then, she’d been here weeks past when she was supposed to leave — sometime before Christmas, in theory. Her owners did not reach out, and I did not remind them that I had their cat. The longer it went on the easier it was to convince myself that maybe they’d never come get her, and she could just be mine.
I told myself that if I hadn’t heard from them by March, I’d carefully throw out that suggestion. Sadly, that didn’t work out.
Their response was something like, “I understand you’ve gotten really attached to our cat, but I worry our children may get upset if Mango doesn’t return. Maybe I can come get her next week?”
I feel like the subtext was more like, “Uhhhhhh, what? NO you can’t just keep our cat, you maniac. We’re coming to get her as soon as possible.”
And so, this is my last week with the cat. I will admit, I cried and cried when I saw I had to give her back. I was surprised at how disappointed I felt.
But at the very least, this was a good winter to have her around.
I was never a cat person. We had outdoor cats who were mostly indifferent to us, with the exception of Steve, my brother’s indoor/outdoor cat who lived in our college house for a while. I would love to have a dog in Chicago, but I can’t, because I’m never home, I live in a third-floor walk-up, and I don’t live close enough to a park. But a cat… Last summer I’d tried convincing Kevin to let us foster a cat (and then keep it forever). When the Mango situation presented itself, he agreed. We signed on for a short-term cat.
Now she’s leaving, and I am so much sadder than I would have ever expected to be before I knew her. Once I have my job and apartment situation sorted out, I will most likely get a cat of my own, but there were many ways in which this cat was kind of perfect for me.
Mango has some allergy issues and is congested not all, but most of the time. She is always a little bit snotty and she breathes audibly, and sometimes you have to wipe her nose. This slightly grossed me out for a couple weeks, but you really do get used to it. Also, I feel for her. It’s not her fault. I had all kinds of ear, nose, and throat issues as a kid and most winters I was a walking ball of snot, and it sucked. I get it.
Also, related to those ear, nose, and throat issues, I have hearing aids. I don’t use them at night so this cat can sleep on my pillow snoring/wheezing away and I am unfazed. It used to drive Kevin NUTS but I was fine.
The same can’t be said for those times when she wakes up and decides to start digging fervently into the covers. That gets her tossed out onto the other side of the bedroom door.
Side note: I am pretty sure I can never have a baby, because you won’t believe how irrationally angry I get about being woken up at 3 a.m. by this cat. You can’t just shut your baby outside your room and go back to sleep.
And speaking of irrational — it’s insane for me to be upset that Mango’s owners want their cat back. Of course the kids miss her. I would be a monster to try to keep her away from them. And yet part of me feels like this is super unfair because she was here for a really long time, and I got attached like woah.
I am going to miss her so much.
I will get another cat soon, but only if I can find one that runs to the door when I come home like a dog would, and sleeps right next to me and sits on the seat of one of my dining room chairs when I am writing at the table, just because she likes being in the same room as me. Mango was just the best.
Goodbye, awesome cat. I hope you liked living in my weird apartment for five months. Thanks for being the subject of at least one-third of my Instagram pictures.