Half of my life. That’s how long I had my cat Mally. Half of my life. She was born a month before my 21st birthday, at around 7PM on June 28th, 1996. I was there when she came into the world. Yesterday, I was there when she left it. For half of my life, there has been a Malkav. Now, there is an empty spot under the chair next to my desk where she used to sleep. Losing a pet is hard enough. Believe me, I know. In the last 18 months, we’ve said goodbye to 3 dogs and two cats. All lived long and happy lives. Tasha was 14.5, almost unheard of for a German Shepherd. Maia joined her a few months later, just a month shy of her 15th birthday. Cooper crossed the rainbow bridge at age 10. Our cat Prue followed him exactly a week later, she was 15. Mally, though, I think I thought she’d live forever.

Mally was the first-born kitten of my first cat, Gypsy. I was young and naive, only 20 when we got Gypsy  I thought since she was in an indoor cat, we could hold off on spaying her. I didn’t think she could possibly sneak out of the window and get pregnant. A few weeks later, I realized I was wrong. Nine weeks after she snuck out, she gave birth to Mally right next to me on the floor of my hallway in Maine, and two other kittens on my bed. I was with my first husband at the time. He named her after a breed of crazy vampires in the Vampire the Masquerade role playing game. She was supposed to be his cat, but she never really took to him. When I left him, Gypsy and Mally came with me.

Mally at age 1, my at age 22.

While Gypsy was more independent (sadly, she died relatively young, at age 8), Mally was always my girl. She slept with me every night, and when I moved to Japan for two years and left her with my mom (I didn’t want to put her through quarantine), she slept on my clothes for a long time. I missed her every minute that I was away, but my mom took good care of her. When I moved back, it didn’t take long for Mally to forgive me.

For half of my life, I’ve had a cat named Malkav

Throughout nearly every major life event of my adulthood, I’ve had a cat named Malkav. My 21st birthday. The day I decided to leave my first husband. The day my mom, brother, and good friend came up to Maine to pack all of my belongings into a U Haul and move me back to PA. She was there when I got the news that one of my dear high school friends had gotten into an accident and died. When I signed my divorce papers and took back my maiden name. When I got a job at a news stand. When I enrolled back into college. When I changed my major to English. When I changed my major to Journalism. When I changed my major to Gen Ed. When I changed my major to Nursing. When I left the nursing program. When I started a blog.

I had a cat named Malkav when I got on a plane to visit my boyfriend in Japan. When I decided to stay for two years. When I got married again. When my husband got out of the Navy and we moved back home. When I struggled for years to conceive. When I finally found out I was pregnant. When I brought home my premature son. When I became a single mom. When I started dating again. When that relationship ended. When I got back together with my husband.

I had a cat named Malkav when my son started walking. When my son finally started talking.  When my son started preschool. When my son started elementary school. When my son started middle school. When I made the decision to take him my son of public school and enroll him in cyber school.

I had a cat named Malkav when I made the decision to let Jacob be an only child. When I had a hysterectomy. When I went through a nightmare recovering from a hysterectomy. When I cried myself to sleep every night because of said nightmare.

I had a cat named Malkav when I lost my grandmother. My grandfather. My cat Tabatha. My cat Sabrina. My cat Piper. My dog Tasha. My dog Maia. My dog Cooper. My cat Prue.

I had a cat named Malkav the day we found out that my aunt had brain cancer. The day we found out it went into remission. The day we found out it came back. The day she lost her fight. The day we said goodbye.

Half of my life. 21 years. I’ve had a cat named Malkav. On the best days and the worst days, on every day in between.

Now, just like that, I don’t.

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