Albert, a Cat

One of my oldest friends texted me this afternoon.

Had to put poor Albert down today. She had a mass in her lungs.

Albert. Oh, Albert.

Albert, chilling on the carpet

Albert was my friends’ cat. Sort of. Or she’d become their cat. If you’ve ever owned a cat, you know how that goes.

Albert — and yes, Albert was a girl — belonged to someone else. Then the original owner died, and Albert, already an old cat at that point, had to fend for herself. My friends saw a cat in need, and they began feeding Albert. Albert found a new home and people who cared about Albert — a little girl, two adults, and, when I dropped by, a big goofy person who gave Albert exhausting belly rubs and ear scratches and back rubs.

Oh, Albert seemed to say, you know how a cat likes to be petted!

Albert was a cat with a normal sized head and a very large body. There was lots of size to Albert, and Albert, as I said, was old and she found it difficult to roll over on her belly, but when she did for me she found herself in a state of bliss.

We had a way of saying “Albert” — more like “OWW-bert.” Albert, of course, couldn’t hear this; she appeared to be (mostly) deaf. Or, being a cat, she just didn’t care, but no, I think deafness is the more likely explanation.

Sometimes when I visited my friends and spent the night, I’d feed Albert in the morning. She’d be sitting at the back door, staring inside, waiting for someone. I never knew where her food was kept, so I’d take a handful of food from the indoor cat Belle’s dish, then sit on the bench outside the door while she ate and rub her back while I drank a mug of coffee.

I liked Albert very much.

Even if I did laugh when this cat, whose speed was slow at the best of times, had to kick it into a higher gear and run across my friends’ yard when she was attacked by a blue jay. I can’t imagine anything Albert could have done to warrant the blue jay’s ire; Albert was so large and slow even a slug wouldn’t have felt threatened by Albert.

I didn’t see Albert for a long time due to the pandemic. I worried in those long months that the clock would run out on Albert, but she kept kicking. She became an indoor cat, which at her age was best for her, and her white fur underneath became soft and white. I was happy to see her in July and again at New Years. The picture above is from New Years; all the things I’d seen Albert over the last five-ish years, and I’d never taken a picture of her.

She sat next to me and stared at me when my friends and I played board games at New Years. What aren’t you petting me? Her thoughts were clear.

She got a good last belly rub before I left.

My friends' daughter's birthday cake when she turned six, with "I Love Cats" written on the icing

Albert was a good kitty. Albert had good humans who loved her and took care of her. Albert had a long and full life.

Albert had good innings, as Lord Merton would say on Downton Abbey.

I’m going to miss you buddy. It won’t be the same without you when I visit next.

OWW-bert.


A sign of spring — the lawn crew showed up today to mow the complex for the first time this year.

The lawn crew, setting up in the parking lot outside of my apartment

Honestly, I think they made more of a mess than the lawn already was, and there’s nothing more exciting that a couple of old guys shouting at each other.

During summer, they’ll come two or three times a week.

No wonder I can’t breathe through my nose half the year. :-/

Clouds over Yoe, late afternoon

Published by Allyn Gibson

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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