This is Quigley, my furry little friend of 15 years. She came into our lives shortly after Dan and I moved in together. I remember the day we picked her out. Here was this small black and white bag of bones with a perfectly pink nose, stretching up as high as her tiny kitten legs would let her, paw reaching out and meowing at me. She was so adorable.
I heard a family talking about her near me at the pet store. The adults were debating if they should get her while their kids were loudly yelling they wanted her. I looked at the children with their dirty, snot dried faces, whining and throwing a fit over her. If this is how they behaved in a store, how much better could the be at home? Visions of them chasing and terrifying her flashed through my mind. Her shivering under a chair while they screeched for her to come out. I just knew they’d name her something stupid like Gloria or Spider Pig. Her life would be horrible with these people. I could not let that happen. Without thinking, I snatched her up.
“We’re getting this one” I told Dan.
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“YES! Let’s go.” I could hear the kids complaining that I was taking her and I whispered to her not to worry, I was saving her from them.
We took her home and the great debate over what to call her began. Names were thrown around and I pitched hard for my idea… “If we name her Quigley, we can call her Q!” Which sounded like an awesome idea at the time.
To this day, she’s never been referred to as Q. Her names do include Quigley, Quigle-bomb, Miss Quigles, Quigley Wiggley, Mrs. Quiglesworth and Quigs.
From the start, her favorite place to sleep at night has always been on my chest or next to my head. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to roll over in the night only to find I had a kitten in my hair. Tugging out from under her, she’d start purring. Readjusting herself, she’d snuggle close. Her little pink nose practically touching my nose, her whiskers tickling my cheeks.
A creature of habit, her and Scout would lay together every morning and watch me get ready for work.
She likes to meow outside the kid’s doors in the morning when they should be getting up for school. I’ve always wondered what she was worried about since cat’s don’t know about being tardy. But there she’d sit, looking up at their doorknobs. I could almost hear her saying “uh, i don’t have opposable thumbs. little help opening the door, folks”.
There’s a million things I could share with you about my silly Quigle-bomb. All the things that make her more than just a cat to me and to our family. I would love to go on and on about the little idiosyncrasies that make up her personality. But it wouldn’t mean the same to you as they do to me.
Somewhere along the line, I really convinced myself that she would outlive us all. Her appearance belying her real age, it was easy to forget she really is 15.5 years old. That is until she started limping last month. We thought maybe she had just hurt herself since she’s constantly falling off things but it kept getting worse and so I took her to the vet.
The truth is… Miss Quigles is sick. Arthritis is causing the limp but the x-ray revealed a large black mass that has invaded her knee and moved in both directions from there. A small, hairline fracture lies above the mass. The prognosis isn’t good. Bone cancer has weakened her leg and her days are numbered. She’ll be with us until her leg completely breaks at the fracture or until she’s in too much pain to carry on.
I know the day is coming soon. I try to not to think about it but her hobbling along on 3 legs is a constant reminder. So I try to tell myself that she’s just a cat. She’s not a person, I can’t be that upset about losing her. My head hears the message but my heart won’t listen. It knows that you can love a pet. That it breaks a little from their loss.
And so we wait, trying to enjoy the time she has left. She still purrs every time I pick her up and I know she’s still happy. There’ll come a day when she won’t be and we’ll have to say goodbye. I’ll miss her so much and her furry little face sleeping next to mine. My sweet, little Quigley.