I got home from a meeting yesterday morning and found Truffle lying on her side just outside our bedroom. I thought she was asleep at first, but she seemed awfully still so I nuzzled a toe against her head. When she didn’t respond, panic set in immediately.

I reached down and squeezed a front paw really hard, hoping she would wake up and scream, but part of my mind already knew she was gone. I picked her up and shook her, carrying her to the bed so I could put my ear to her chest to listen for breathing or a heartbeat. Nothing.

I looked at her face. One eye was open, pupil wide and unseeing, the other was a slit. Her mouth was open and her tongue was hanging out. Despair set in. I was in shock. I was devastated. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t believe it.

I grabbed my phone and texted, “call me emergency” to Kathy. I knew she was at an all-day training session with Keller Williams. When she called, I struggled to get the words out, knowing she would be devastated too.

I brought her home on December 18, 2008. She was supposed to be spayed at the Maui Humane Society and come home with us later, but she caught a cold and they didn’t want her to infect the rest of the population, so they called and asked me to bring her home early, and bring her back to be spayed at a later date.

She loved being picked up and cuddled, and would sneeze in my face. We bonded almost immediately, in a much deeper way than I ever expected I could bond with an animal.

Over the next 11 years, she became my constant attachment. Whenever I was home, if she was awake, she was with me. Kathy was her usual feeder, and she would start pestering her starting at around 3:00 PM for her 5:00 PM feeding, but other than that, she was mine.

She could be annoying in the way she scratched my leg to get my attention. She didn’t know her claws hurt. She would be picked up when she was good and ready. If she wasn’t ready and I picked her up, she would insist on being let down, so she could go through her routine of scratching at me to get my attention. So weird.

But when she finally allowed herself to be picked up, she wanted to be cuddled. She loved licking my nose, and would bring a paw up to turn my head so she could do that. When I got tired of it, I turned my head to offer my chin, and she was happy about that too.

She was my work buddy. Or at least she became that over time, when I learned to work despite her distractions. I learned to let her climb up on me, slump in my chair so she could mostly lay on my chest, against my left arm, then I twisted that arm over so I could type. This is the hardest thing. She was my constant companion in my home office.

When I really needed to concentrate, I closed my door and shut her out. She hated that. I did that yesterday morning, and now I wish I didn’t. Thinking back on it as I was staring at her lifeless form, I realized I hadn’t seen her since I got out of bed yesterday, at around 4:00 AM. I don’t even know if she ever ventured downstairs, but if she did, it would have allowed me to see her, and hold her, one last time, or maybe even notice something was wrong and save her.

I went to the gym, came back, showered and was down at my desk around 8:00. It didn’t occur to me that I hadn’t seen her at all. Some part of my brain figured she was probably under the bed or something. I got ready for my 10:00 AM meeting around 9:15 and went up to the kitchen to grab my travel mug and some coffee.

I should have checked on her. I don’t even know if I looked in the direction of the bedroom on the way back downstairs. I have no recollection of seeing her lying on the floor. She might have been, even then. It kills me. If she was there, and I’d thought to look over, I might have been able to help. But now I’ll never know if I simply walked by while she lay there dying. I hope not.

We buried her in the shade of our mango tree, along with the ashes of Widgit and Moosh, which had been sitting in boxes on a shelf for years. She was the sweetest, most loving kitty Kathy and I ever had.

I miss her terribly. There’s a hole in my heart and a piece of me is missing. I knew this day would come, and I dreaded it. Every time she came up and lay on me, I made a point of telling her she was my baby and I loved her, like it was the last time I would see her. I’m glad I did.

Goodbye, Truffley. You will always be my baby. I love you.

Things we will remember about Truff:

  • She had an obsession with stinky feet.
  • She loved to lick aloe off us.
  • She saw it as her job to capture, torture, and kill geckos.
  • She had no idea her claws were actually sharp.
  • She was always convinced she wouldn’t be fed and would start panicking about two hours before feeding time. (What happened to you at the Humane Society, baby?)
  • She always slept between us, usually attached to Peter’s leg but often cuddled between us by the pillows.
  • She was the “printer girl”. Whenever we would print anything, she would come running, watch intently and often attack the pages.
  • She love laundry basket games. Clean laundry was the best but empty laundry basket was her play space.
  • She loved to pull her scratching pole around the hallway. It was often a tripping hazard.
  • Flowers were always “For her”. Birthdays, anniversaries, or flowers from the garden…she would be totally obsessed with them for a few hours, sometimes days!
  • When Peter locked her out, she would lay outside the door and put her paws under it.
  • Sometimes when Peter would leave, she would “MREOW” in moanful tone. She was so attached to him.
  • Almost every morning, she would be excited and run in the bathroom with Kathy. After the scratch on the butt, she would jump on the counter, expect kisses and a sink full of water. Then she would go back to bed and sleep on Kathy’s pillow.
  • Blue can (ocean whitefish) was her favorite.
  • Fort games – as a kitten, Truff worked her way into, yes inside, every piece of furniture. Now most our furnishings don’t have the under-siding because there were too many holes. As she got older, her love of forts was seen as she dug under the covers, loved to help making the bed and hiding under Peter’s clothes.
  • Another variation of the fort game was the newspaper game. “Mom – I need to be under the paper you are trying to read”. Oh yea Truffle – we don’t see you.
  • Truffle was the only kitty I knew who was totally black but had white whiskers! She had a few that were black but most were white.
  • The other day, the cupboard where we keep our kitchen towels was open. Truffle liked to crawl in there and dig them all out. I guess it was just another fort.