I had an affectionate nickname for Marley:
(Or would that be Number Three? I dunno, I never really thought about how it would be spelled out.)
See, we have three cats. And my nickname for Marley represented his position in the order of how much I liked them.
(Oh, it’s totally okay. I’m only a stepparent to these cats. I’m allowed to play favorites.)
Really, though, it wasn’t so much that I disliked Marley. It was the fact that he was always skeptical and mistrustful of my mere presence. Like, every once in a while, he’d let me pet him … for a minute or two. But even then, he’d never take his eyes off my hands. I guess he needed to make sure I wasn’t hiding a weapon or secretly plotting to choke him or something?
And to be clear, not once in the 4.5 years that we knew each other did I ever do anything to warrant his mistrust. I wouldn’t even make any sudden movements around him, because I knew that would freak him the fuck out.
He really was just a crotchety cat. At least he would allow Melissa to pet him and scratch his belly. But even then, he was finicky about it. Sometimes, he’d roll over on his back and clearly enjoy the scratching. Other times, he would just hiss at her.
Okay, so he wasn’t just crotchety. He was moody and fickle, too. He was kind of like the grumpy emo teenager of cats. One minute, he’d love you (well, Melissa — he only ever tolerated me, even on his best days), and the next minute he’d be snapping at you for looking at him the wrong way.
Such was life with Marley. We lived together for three years, and he never fully accepted my presence. Oh, and don’t even get me started on how he would act if strangers were around. Melissa was pretty much the only person he ever really showed affection for.
And even then, he still had his boundaries. After we lost him, we took him to the vet to be … uh, laid to rest. Melissa wrapped him in a towel and cradled him in her arms the entire ride there. And that’s when we both realized that this was the first time Melissa had ever been able to hold Marley in her arms.
That’s the kind of cat Marley was. Crotchety, moody, fickle, grumpy, emo … I’ve got an entire thesaurus of negative terms to describe his personality. That’s why he came to be known simply as #3. No name needed. Just … #3.
And here I am, incredibly bummed out that #3 is gone.
Ironic, isn’t it?
PS: I left the title of this post intentionally vague. Was I referring to the death of a stupid pet? Or that pet deaths are stupid? You decide …