In 2021, I lost my best friend. His name was Moe and he was the best cat a boy could ask for. I first met Moe at the Aylmer Humane Society in 2001. It was my fifth birthday and my parents were taking the crazy plunge of getting their young child a pet. I picked out a six-month-old black cat with a white belly, who loved to be held. On the ride back from the Humane Society, Moe was in a cardboard box with some air holes. Being the bold and inquisitive five-year-old that I was, I stuck my finger in the holes and he bit me, drawing blood. That was my first real interaction with an animal that would become a lifelong friend.
Moe was a big cat, more long than bulky, more slender than thick. He was a mutt to borrow a term from the dog world. He wasn’t of one breed or another, he was just a cat. His fur was a very deep black except for the glowing white belly. He kept his fur in great condition, and it always felt soft like a newly washed blanket. He had haunting orange eyes that reflected the light at night, letting him be seen when he wanted to be.
We grew up in the country, and that meant Moe was able to run freely to his heart’s content. The whole town was his hunting ground. I would be walking home from a friend’s house on the other side of town and Moe would appear out of the bushes on the side of the bike path and join us. Other times we would be playing baseball, and he would appear out of the conservation area to lie on the bleachers and watch us play.
He was also an efficient and deadly hunter. My father and I were once woken up in the middle of the night by loud screeching that sounded like a catfight. By the time we made it out to the backyard, I was panicking that I was going to find my pal dead or injured. However, Moe stood over a dead raccoon that was at least twice his size. While we only saw him hunt raccoons that one time, he was an accomplished predator of birds, rabbits, and mice, which he loved to present to us at the back door. He would proudly stand over the animal as he waited for us to let him with excitement, ready to feed us this tasty treat. I would always take the greatest care to make sure he left the room before I threw out the carcass, as I didn’t want to upset him or diminish the hard work that went into feeding his human family.
We grew up together, and when I eventually moved out of my childhood home, Moe came with me. Throughout his long and illustrious life, Moe was always in great health. He went to the vet every year and the results always came back great, until they didn’t. In the last few years of his life, Moe developed kidney disease and because of it he eventually went blind. It didn’t seem to slow him down at all, except that I wouldn’t let him outside without supervision anymore. He would walk beside me out on the street, and we would go to the park and the beach, where he became a bit of a celebrity to the local kids. We would get to the park and the kids would come out and sit in a circle around him, giving him love until they got bored. Moe loved it.
As the disease progressed, Moe slowed down more and more until I had to make the hardest decision of my life. On Nov. 18, 2021, it was pouring rain outside. It’s funny how when you experience trauma or grief you remember those days in such clarity. So as it poured down all over me, I had my mum pick me up because there was no way I could drive while I was crying so much. Just like the first trip home 21 years earlier, my mum drove us to the vet for the last time. He went peacefully in my arms, ending the longest friendship either of us had ever known.