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Goodbye Tala – Go Find Simba

I said goodbye to Tala a few hours ago. I am so incredibly lucky. I got Tala when she was 6 weeks old, when my aunt’s cat had kittens. I then got 19 incredible years with her. 19! I realize how lucky I am to have had such a long time with her, but it does make the loss harder in some ways; she has been with me for half of my life – nearly my entire adult life.

She and I took our big, brave, exciting road trip in 2004 moving to Colorado together, she had the center console and passenger side in that big yellow Penske truck. She was present for almost all of my relationships, and provided comfort for me when they ended. She was here when her sweet brother Simba came into our lives and was still here when he left it 15 years later. She outlived all of her siblings by many years, despite being the runt of her litter, and through it all never lost her sass.

Named after my dear friend, Wolf, Tala wasn’t much bigger than a large hamster when I brought her home and she remained tiny throughout her life. In her “chunky era”, she topped the scales at 8 pounds. Tala never could quite meow, something just wasn’t right with her vocal cords, so she would squeak at me – which gave her one of her nicknames, “Squeaks”. She was also sometimes known as “Little Lady” or “Little Miss” – small in stature, a giant in attitude and personality.

Being allergic to cats, I was 19 years old working at Target stocking the pharmacy department when I noticed that the allergy medication Claritin finally had a generic version! At last, something I could afford! I decided right then and there that I was going to get a cat. Tala ended up being that cat. I seemed to get more allergic as I got older, so I leveled up to two Zyrtec a day and long bamboo backscratchers all over my home, strategically placed so that I could give her (and Simba) a scratch behind the ears without having to run and wash my hands.

What a ride. What a sidekick. What a beautiful experience. What luck.

I have to give some very special thanks to Dr. Erica Rambus/Elysian Fields: In-Home Euthanasia for making this final experience a beautiful one. I did not know such a thing was an option when Simba passed, and I wish I had. Dr. Rambus took something so painful and distressing and guided it to being a peaceful, meaningful, and ultimately beautiful experience. Thank you, Dr. Rambus.

One of the last things Dr. Rambus said to Tala as she helped her on her journey was, “Go find Simba.” and that’s how I will leave this. Thank you Tala – go find Simba.

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