It was the Spring of 1994 and I was in a tough spot with my girlfriend. I’m not sure if it was my fault or just life that had our relationship at this tipping point but I knew that I needed to express how much I loved this girl. So, I set out to show her like a broke 20 year old college student who doesn’t know any better should.
I started by decorating my room with the words from the Alan Jackson song ‘Wanted’. Next, I bought a 5 carat cubic zirconium tennis bracelet…yep CZ’s that’s how I rolled. As if this scene that was playing out in my parent’s basement couldn’t get any cheesier, I decided I needed one additional prop. I went to a local pet shop and spent the last $30 I had on a black kitten that at the time was just 1 of a million black kittens in the world. The tennis bracelet was placed on the kitten’s neck and I hoped for the best…I ended up getting lucky that night and I’m lucky enough to wake up beside that girl everyday of my life. The kitten was named Muffin and little did I know he would be a part of our lives for nearly 20 years. To say that Muffin was a family pet would be an injustice…he was a dear friend and the greatest wing-man I ever had.
Muffin was with us when we moved into our first apartment together and when we bought our first house. I would walk in the front door after work and call out his name in a high-pitched, drawn out voice…”mmuuufffffffiiiiiiiiinnnn.” He would come running to me only to fall over just a few feet short…rolling on his back and purring in happiness. We had games that we played, one was a petting game. Muffin would head butt my balled up fist in a loving manner with such force that it sounded like 2 football helmets crashing…he would be purring and so happy. The next step to the game was when I would rub my hand down the rest of his body and when I got to his tail he would spin around and hiss at me and bite me. He would then turn around, purr, head butt my fist again…I would pet his tail again, he’d spin around and hiss at me and bite me again and we’d repeat this cycle until one of us lost interest.
Muffin loved paper balls…the sound of a piece of paper being waded up into a ball was heaven to Muffin. He would show up out of nowhere to chase, fetch and bat the ball all over the house. Muffin loved “sun puddles”… all he needed was a ray of sunshine shining thru a window and he was napping in ecstasy.
Muffin was with us when we decided to move to Florida. By this time we had added another 2 cats to our family…Muffin was not so happy about this and neither was I. We drove 15 hours in the car only stopping for kitty breaks. 48 hours after arriving in Florida we were amazed to find out that we were expecting a child. As it turned out, Florida turned to be the perfect retirement destination for Muffin.
Muffin loved Florida, the warm climate was good for his bones and he had all the sun puddles he could handle. But, time is nobody’s friend and the years finally caught up. I eventually stopped yelling his name when I got home because he could no longer hear my voice. He would still curl up and purr beside a paper ball but no longer had the energy to do anything else with it. He’d still head but my hand but didn’t hiss and bite me when I pissed him off by petting his butt. He loved though…he still loved us with all he had left.
I was alone with Muffin today when he passed…the two of us together just like we were in that pet store in 1994. As I was petting him during his last breaths I realized that I got all I ever “wanted” back in my parent’s basement. I replaced the cubic zirconium with a certified diamond and married my soul mate. We have a beautiful son and live less that a mile from the beach…the place we always wanted be. It’s been a long and winding journey and Muffin was there for most of it. He wasn’t 1 of a million kittens, he was 1 in a million. Thanks for being part of the ride my friend…I hope kitty heaven is full of paper balls and sun puddles. Goodbye “mmuuufffffiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnn.”