Charles the Magic Cat
Originally published on 7-26-12
Monday morning I woke up heartbroken because Sunday afternoon I found Charles lying under a car and he had passed away from a snake bite. The left side of my face was buried in my pillow and I had been awake no more than two or three minutes before tears started rolling down my cheeks and soaking my pillow. I had gone to bed crying and woke up crying. It’s like my body said, “that’s enough for today, take these 6 hours of rest and use them wisely, and we’ll pick up where we left off in the morning.”
Charles was my 3 year old cat. I claimed him, but he was really everyone’s cat. If you were open to receiving love from a 10 pound rescue cat with a teeny nub for a tail, he’d pour it on.
Charles came to my brother Carlos and me a few years ago at our home on Maple Street. He nudged his way into our home and our hearts. The Hernandez clan was a rock solid dog family; no cat had ever been able to woo us into keeping it, but Charles worked his magic. He gradually progressed from eating whatever deli meat we left out to, getting all fixed up at the vet (on our first trip to the vet I walked him in on a leash, oopsie--I had only had a dog up until then!) to getting his own Christmas stocking, and the clincher was that when Beau and I moved from McAllen to Austin—Charles made the trip with us. We were a little family.
He was from McAllen but had a South Austin personality. Charles was relaxed, friendly and loving, but never lost his edge (one time he brought me a mangled rabbit and left it on my front door as a gift.) He made friends with everyone, including dogs and squirrels and the most cynical of cat critics. Sometimes he’d even join Beau and me at the dog park. And even sometimes, as my neighbor confessed, if Charles was in a particularly charming mood, he could convince you that his diet lacked fried fish sticks. Slick.
Like a lot of our pets that come from loving homes, he lived the best of lives; some may even say he lived the perfect life. He was taken care of in every way and was also allowed all the freedom that he desired. Isn’t that a nice sentiment, to be loved how you need and to be allowed the freedom to stretch your wings? Sounds like my dream situation. Charles’ routine was to greet me when I got home, eat dinner, shuffle out the front door, explore his little area of the world, come home in time for breakfast, get a good 10 hours of sleep in his bed and start fresh.
Charles is gone now, but each time I see reminders of him, I smile and thank the universe that it loaned me Charles and his spirit for a time, however short. As an ode to my last entry, it takes time, but the joy does supersede the hurt.
My little Charles was golden. Let’s take a page from Charles and: learn to make friends wherever we go, live exactly the way we want, and never lose our edge.