I Fall in Love with a Cat

I don’t know whether to call this love, I don’t know if this is love, but this feeling has made me feel so joyful yet so miserable, and for the first time ever, I really do care about something else other than myself, and for that I would call it love, my first true love which I feel deep within myself. This love is unconditional for my first true love isn't a human, it's a he, yes, but he had 4 legs, 2 pointed ears, 2 big eyes, his colour is beigish-yellow, yup he's a cat. His name is Sir Diego Lemony Potato Chips.

He was born on a sunny October 11th 2001, inside a wardrobe, with two other of his siblings, Lola and Liga. His mother was named Liam. There they were, so tiny and vulnerable. Let alone walking; they couldn’t even open their little eyes. Lemon, Liga, and Lola grew up together in my backyard. After school I would go there to play with them, fed them and gave them milk. Lemon and Liga grew up as cheerful happy cats, but not Lola. She's kind of a loner; she's always been an outsider for Lemon and Liga. I don’t know why she didn’t want to get along with her siblings. She was always alone and she wasn’t that active as a kitten. Until one rainy night, when I arrived back home after spending a night in Bandung, I checked my backyard right away to see if they were safe, my backyard was pretty flooded, and they were meowing from on top of a cupboard. I saw Lemon and Liga there, but I didn’t see Lola. Where is she? I looked around, and i saw her lying down, drenched with rain, not moving.  I tried to wake her up but she didn’t give any sign of life. I knew soon that she's not there anymore. She was less than a year old when she died :’( Meanwhile Lemon and Liga were meowing from on top of the cupboard. I took them and tried to calm them down. Those terrified little kittens :'(

I don’t keep cats as pets, I don’t "cage" them inside my house not letting them to go out. I set them free during the day, it’s up to them if they want to hang around outside or they just want to sleep inside the house, and then when it was getting dark usually those cats came back to my house, I fed them and then they slept there. They slept in the sofa but sometimes we would sleep together in my bedroom. And then they would poop in the corner of my room. My mom would get angry and I was the one to clean up their mess. *SIGH*

But one night, while the other cats were home, Lemon wasn’t home yet. I started to worry, and I walked around the neighborhood looking for him. But he was nowhere to be found. The next day me and my sister made this paper with a photo of him, "if anyone see this cat please call this number, and there will be a reward" something like that. After a couple of day waiting, suddenly we heard a familiar "meow" from our kitchen's door. We opened it and there he was! Running exhaustedly towards us, he was so dirty and skinny. Maybe he just had a little adventure and got lost :-(

In 2004, me and my family had to move back to Jakarta. But since Liam kept on giving birth to many more kittens and my dad wasn’t really fond of cats, he only allowed me to bring one cat. And in a hope that the cat wouldn’t give birth anymore, we chose a male cat, and that's Lemon. We left them in a restaurant so that they could still have food to eat. It was very tough leaving the other 6 cats behind, I cried for 2 days, whole day long. I didn’t want to talk to my dad for a week. Me and that family of cats had been through so much together. I woke up early morning to pick those kittens up every time they fell into the gutter. But then what could have I done? I looked at Lemon, and he's the only cat I have left and I didn’t want to lose him either.

So we started a new life back in Jakarta, Lemon had to adapt to the new house, the new neighborhood, and he was not young little kittens anymore. But since he was the only cat in the house, I put more attention to him. I got to know him much better, what food he liked, his hobbies, his love life... He grew up really fast, and he grew up BIG. My friends who saw him were always shocked at how big that cat was, "WOW He's sooo big like a cub! You sure he won’t grow up as a tiger?" and yes, He WAS big compared to other cats.

Lemon, sometimes I saw him not as a cat, but as another human being. But he was in fact very humane. I don’t know why, but I guess it's because he had been living with human beings for so long that he lost his own cat's nature. Such as, cats don’t like vegetables right? And cats don’t eat fruit! But not Lemon, he was very peculiar. He ate durian, in fact, he LOVED it. Every time my mom brought durians home, he would get so excited running around the durian trying to open it. And he always got the part of cleaning up the durian we had left. And oh! He also ate kangkung. Now about his love life, Lemon was such a loyal cat. And being loyal, as a cat, is WEIRD. Cat isn’t supposed to be loyal! They're cats; they don’t stick with one partner for a long period of time. That's why I said Lemon is anomalous, since he kind of had a girlfriend. He used to hang around with this one cat, a female cat, eeeeverywhere. He even brought his girlfriend home; he SHARED his food with her! Isn’t that amazing? He was so not cat-like. That's why sometimes I just couldn’t see him as a cat. He's not a pet, he's like my friend, more than a friend, he's my best friend. Every morning when my mom's door was opened, he would ran to the room and just jumped to my mom's lap and then to my mom's shoulder and he would just sit or lay there, as if telling her to wake up. Even though we couldn’t communicate with proper language, i used to tell him stories i couldn’t tell to anyone. He would just lay down on my bed calmly, listening to my stories. Somehow I understood what he was trying to tell me, and somehow he always understood what I meant.

Then one day, I was back home from school and I didn’t see Lemon. "Maybe he was hanging around outside", I thought. Night came and he wasn’t home yet. Morning came and he didn’t come home at all. The next day, I asked my maid if she saw Lemon by any chance, unfortunately she hadn’t seen him at all. I didn’t see him for the next couple of days. I looked everywhere for him, in my neighborhood, even outside my neighborhood in case he played that far and got lost. Every time I went somewhere I would eye-scan the road, hoping I would see a big beigish-yellow cat, hoping I would see him again and brought him home safe and sound. Some people said they saw him here and there; I kept on looking for him in every cat’s face. But I was searching in vain; Lemon was nowhere to be found. Losing my hope of finding him, I began to accept the fact that he's gone forever.

I thought about him day and night, it's still hard to accept the truth he's not here anymore. He was 6 years old when he went away. It’s pretty old for an age of a cat. I've heard somewhere that if a male cat knew his time is coming soon, he would leave his home and die somewhere far from his home.

It's been 5 years since he's gone, yet at night sometimes I would think about him. Wondering what he's doing... Recalling those moments we had together, and at those times, I would really miss him. 6 years together, Lemon :') I'm sure you are up there in the heaven, safe and sound, resting in peace. But one thing you should always remember, no matter what happen I’m always be with you, always. You are so special to me, how many times have I told you, if you were a man I would marry you, Lemon. (I know this sounds crazy but I do feel that way until now).

Maybe someday I would find my way to you, maybe one day you and I, we will be together for once again. I hope you're listening to me Lemon :) and at that moment, we will stay that way, you will be here forever, never gone away. All my thoughts are with you forever, until the day we'll be back together.

Sir Diego Lemony Potatochips, I miss you.
I love you, always, forever.

Your old-friend,
Utami Sandyarani