A companion is someone you have a special connection with, someone you can talk to about your problems and who will listen. A companion is someone who doesn't judge you but likes you for you. I had one such companion. It wasn't your usual companion though. She wasn't another person. She was my pet cat, Squeaky.
Squeaky had been a part of the family for as long as I could remember. She was with me since I was two and a half years old. At that time in my life, I didn't see Squeaky as anything but another play toy. But as I grew older, I saw that she was much more than a toy. In March of 1991, we moved. The adults in the family were busy packing things up and transporting them to the new house. My grandma was entertaining my sister and me. After the last load
was unpacked, Mom realized that Squeaky wasn't at the new house. My cousins jumped in the car and went back to pick up my very frightened cat. Once she was in the new house, she immediately darted upstairs. She found comfort among my belongings. There she stayed until my aunts and uncles left. When she realized it was only my immediate family left, she began to wander about. She made sure
all of our stuff had made it safely. She seemed to understand that this was to be our new home
and gave her approval.
She wasn't your ordinary cat. Of course she looked like any other cat with her long white fur and patches of brown and black spots. But there was more to Squeaky than her appearance. She had a personality that made her seem almost human. If I ever had a problem and needed someone to talk to, Squeaky seemed to always be there to listen. In high school, it seemed like I was always in disagreement with one of my friends. My emotions would be eating me up inside and I would need to release them. Often at night, I would sit in my room balling my eyes out. The moment I would shed my first tear, Squeaky would enter my room. She would then jump up on the bed to join me. I would talk, and she just listened. She would snuggle against me as if she were reassuring me that everything was going to be all right. Squeaky always seemed to look out for me. Anytime I was ever sick, she would curl up beside me on the couch. She would remain there until she knew I was feeling better. I thought it would be like that forever. She would still be with me when it came time for me to make a life for myself. I always pictured she would be with me every step of the way.
But I found out that it was all wishful thinking.
It was the summer before my junior year in high school. I was in Ohio spending my usual one-week summer vacation at my cousin's house. The week was about coming to a close, and I would be heading back home. The week had been a blast. We had gone to Cedar Point Amusement Park and Six Flags Ohio. The world record roller coaster at Cedar Point was awesome. But I still couldn't wait to get home to see Squeaky. Earlier that week, my mom had called, and I asked how Squeaky was doing. My mom reported that Squeaky wasn't eating and that she was going to take her to the vet. All that ran through my mind was that it was her old age catching up with her. After all, she was sixteen years old. So I wasn't too concerned about her.
When my mom arrived to take my sister and me home, she informed me of the vet's diagnosis. Suddenly, the joy and anticipation of seeing Squeaky was gone. The vet had diagnosed her with feline leukemia and AIDS. Hearing the news of Squeaky's condition felt as if someone had stabbed me in the heart with a knife. I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. My mom tried to reassure me that she would be fine, but I knew better than that. I always expected Squeaky to die naturally. Never in my lifetime did I think I would be faced with the decision I had to make once I returned home.
Once I was at home, a dark cloud seemed to cast over me. I was afraid to go inside and see Squeaky. I feared she would look as if death had already taken her. But I gained the courage and went inside the house. Squeaky was lying at the end of the couch. She definitely looked different. Her white fur appeared to be a grayish-black color. The sight of her brought tears flooding down my face. I couldn't believe all of this had happened to her in the short while I was gone. I felt guilty that she was deathly ill while I had the best time of my life. I felt like I should have been there for her as she was always there for me. As I looked at her, my mom took me off guard with the decision I had to make. I had to choose if this was the quality of life I wanted Squeaky to have, or have the vet put her to sleep forever.
Over the next couple of days, Squeaky seemed to perk up with my presence. She started to eat more and move around. She went everywhere I went in the house. I thought at this point in time she was doing fine and deserved to live her life. But later that week, her movements began to slow. She looked as though every little movement caused her pain. As I looked into Squeaky's eyes, they appeared tired. It was almost as if she was trying to tell me she wanted to go to sleep, but that she would need my help in doing so. As hard as it was for me to accept, I knew what I had to do. On July 6 of 2003, an appointment was made for Squeaky's last trip to the veterinarian.