This year was the first Christmas I’ve spent without my very beloved cat, Hercules.
On September 11 of this year, my cat peacefully passed away in his favorite sunny spot during the afternoon. I, lucky enough, wasn’t at home to find him deceased, but I was an hour away at my friends house in Roxboro, celebrating her birthday. Weirdest part about his death was that I had a dream the night before of mom calling me telling me he was gone.
His absence was weird during the holiday season.
When we first purchased our christmas tree this year, it really hit our family hard; Hercules loved the tree and lounged under it. We always made sure to buy a tree with a tall trunk so there was room for him underneath, but this year, we didn’t. It was odd.
While hanging ornaments with my boyfriend, I reassured him not to hang the glass and breakable ornaments near the bottom because the cat would play with and break them. He gave me a questioning look, and I realized we didn’t have a cat to knock down ornaments.
Throughout the holiday season, when we had family members over; they all noted the absence of Hercules. The cat liked my grandfather and would always snuggle with him. It made my grandfather, someone who doesn’t like to leave his own house, feel at home. This year, though, my grandfather seemed uncomfortable in our home. My seven-year-old cousin even questioned where he was and seemed genuinely sad when we told him he was in kitty heaven.
On Christmas morning, though, my family felt his absence more than ever before. Whenever we opened presents while he was alive, he always laid on the largest boxes and played in the wrapping paper. He made sure to play in the trash bag and scatter the paper everywhere. Plus, he had to run around like a maniac because the sound of crinkling paper freaked him out.
This year, as a tribute to Hercules during the holidays, we purchased a picture frame ornament, placed his picture in it and put it on our tree. I made sure to arrange the ornament near the top and next to a light for everyone to see.
Though I locked him in my play kitchen oven when I was five, threw him down the stairs when I was eight and constantly yelled at him for being too loud and needy at 3:00 am, he was very important to me and my family. Sometimes when I find myself alone at night, I hope that he would climb in bed with me and try to share my pillow, but he won’t ever again.
He was a good friend. He loved to snuggle and play games with a laser pointer. Plus, he was adorable and never hissed. Hercules was smarter than every other cat I’ve ever known. He sat on command and played fetch like a dog. Though he was smart, he did peculiar things, too. He loved to eat carrots and goldfish, and he would always try to steal my sisters yogurt. The cat even enjoyed drinking lemonade.
I love him, even though he was just a household pet. I know my friends and family feel the same way. Rest in peace, Hercules. You’ll always be my favorite cat.