Today my family lost someone quite special. Toby cat came to us over 16 years ago when my mom brought him home from work one day. Now, I can't remember if it was an abandoned litter that a co-worker found (although this is how I remember it) or if the co-worker was giving them away, but that doesn't matter. The tiny tabby kitten came to live with us. For a little while he had no name, and I remember getting vetoed on my silly suggestions of Penguin and Schnurple. We eventually settled on Toby and it fit him perfectly.
He turned into a rough and tumble kind of guy, who was very independent, but also the most loving, cuddly cat I've ever met. He was so effortlessly cool, that Patrick (not necessarily a cat person) has said that the only cat we could ever own would have to be just like Toby. He absolutely loved getting his chin scratched, and I'll always remember how he enjoyed it to the point of drooling. He would nuzzle you like the best of them, and longed for adventures outdoors (of which he sometimes got). On several occasions he brought us his "prized treasures" from said adventures. Once my mom found a snake in her room (a small one, don't worry) and another time he was kind enough to leave me half a mouse on my bed.
But Toby wasn't all hunter. When we lived in MD he befriended a little chipmunk. You may not believe me, but this little guy would wait on our front porch until Toby was let out, and they would play together. Toby would mostly do the chasing, but he never hurt the chipmunk. In fact, one time, my mom (or maybe it was dad?) got in the middle of one of these games of tag, and the chipmunk scurried right up onto her (his?) shoulder and looked down at Toby as if to say "haha! I won!" only to run down the other side and they were off again.
In 16 years, there are so many memories… and with my current baby brain, the details may be a little fuzzy, but they will always be with me. He will always be with me. Toby, and his bright green, gorgeous eyes. Toby, and his softer than soft gray fur. Toby, and his constant meowing by the door to be let out and set free. We didn't like to let him out, especially in NC where we had seen more than one coyote lurking about the property. One night we couldn't be sure if he was in the house, so we even scanned the footage from the security cameras to see if he got out, or was just hiding really well inside. He was (and is) so, SO loved.
I'll never forget how, in my teenage years, I had a mosquito net draped over my bed (I suppose it made me feel exotic), and if it was closed, and determined Mr. Tobe wanted to snuggle with me, he would scale the net until he found a way in. Yes, it was shredded, but no, I didn't care. In more recent years, I will fondly remember how he would nuzzle the camera over and over when Gunnar would FaceTime with him.
It's never easy to say goodbye, but I know you are resting peacefully my sweet Toby cat. My ToTo. I will forever miss your sweet face, and your snuggles. Keep the crew company up there, I'm sure plenty more adventures await you.