I had a driving lesson with Bammy in the empty K-Mart parking lot the night you were found. "Reasons" by Earth, Wind & Fire was playing. Bammy had me get out of the truck to check out my awesome job at parallel parking, and that is when we heard kittens.|
Bruiser and Turbo didn't put up a fight, but you weren't sure. You hissed at me quite a few times. I don't know why I was so scared to pick you up; you were only about the size of a little potato (that's where you got that nickname). There was no question, the three of you were coming home with us. It didn't take long for you three to melt our hearts. Kendal chose Bruiser, Billy claimed Turbo, and you were all mine.
You were named after the Fresno Grizzlies left fielder, Tony Torcato. He was my crush at the time, which obviously influenced my choice in naming you. I think it's safe to say that there probably aren't other cats in the world named Torcato.
It didn't take much time for us to bond. Every night I would place you at the foot of my bed and turn off the light. As soon as I was comfy, you would walk up to my face, purr, and fall asleep. You would sit on the couch with me and wait outside of the bathroom while I showered. We were always together.
One morning, I did notice that something was wrong. Mom took you to the vet's while I was at school. Blood tests showed something was wrong with your liver. You had to stay the night, hooked up to an IV. I visited you the next day and you howled when I left. My heart broke. You came home within a few days with medicine to help, not cure. Every time you had to go back to the vet, he would always say how amazing it was that you were even still alive.
Once you were feeling normal, you transformed into one interesting character. Climbing trees was not your thing. You would run, jump about three feet up, and hang on the trunk for a couple of seconds before letting go. Your nails got caught on everything. Stalking and pouncing was not a very graceful act. You weren't very catlike at all and definitely different from your siblings. Your legs were bowed out a little, but you walked with this happy little bounce, tail high. And you loved your water bowl! You would lay down with it between your two front paws and head in the bowl. Life was always interesting with you in it.
We had nearly four years together at home before I moved into an apartment with Adam. You stayed put in the only home that you had ever known. You were safe there and still had people to love you. I kept a picture of you on my nightstand so you never felt far away, even though I still lived very close. We went over often to visit and I always greeted you first. We added two chinchillas, Asimo and Moto, to help with the empty feeling I had of not having you around. But, you were still my number one. Even after adding Dodger, Johnny, and Daisy. I never did feel like everything was in order. I always felt like I was missing something. I was missing you.
Even though you weren't one that cared much for grooming, you really started to let your coat go. You were shaved down and misted with "sugar cookie" spray. After that, Mom took you in on a regular basis for your "shampoo and shine" and bows behind your ears. The bows were a different color and pattern each time. You looked fabulous! Around this time is when your tongue started to make its debut. The tip would stick out just enough for us to notice. Over time, it became more pronounced.
The summer of 2009 is when Adam and I made our big move to Washington. I remember saying my goodbye's to everyone and holding off to say my last goodbye to you. You were lying down at your water bowl so I casually went over and picked you up. I tried my best to hold back my tears and failed miserably. I told you that I loved you and kissed you on the soft fur right behind your ears. I cried for quite some time after we drove away. You had no idea what was going on but I couldn't help but feel like I was abandoning you. I knew that your health was not 100%, and it killed me to think that every time I said goodbye could be the last.
Thankfully, I have a great family who would send me cards with your paw prints, text pictures to me, and send me your bows from the groomers. We would Skype and I would always ask for you. Mom, Dad, or Kyle would bring you to the monitor where I could see you and talk to you. Kyle would even put the phone up to your ear when I would call home so you could hear my voice. I was even told that you would rub your cheek against it. When the conversations would come to an end, I would always tell you that I loved you and would ask someone to give you a kiss for me.
I didn't go back home as much as I would have liked. But, I would drop my bags and go on the hunt for you the second I stepped foot in the door. You have no idea how much I missed seeing you. And it killed me that we didn't have that relationship that we used to. I couldn't blame you though. You did take a strong liking to Mom and I was more than happy with that. I knew that she gave you lots of love and attention.
On September 13, 2011, I gave birth to our first son, Holden. I was so excited for that coming Thanksgiving so you two could meet. You didn't seem too impressed and Holden had no clue what was even going on. But I was one happy Mommy to have my two babies together.
Holden and I made another trip home on February 15th, 2012. That week we were celebrating the arrival of Logan and Jenn's birthday. I would not have guessed that February 21st was going to be the last time I would ever see you.
Life still went on as usual. I always asked about you when I called home. Mom always sent me pictures and kept me updated on you. It was early summer that Mom told me that something wasn't right. There should be a soft spot under your chin. Your "soft spot" wasn't so. Maybe a tumor or growth, but that would explain why your tongue was always sticking out. I knew it wasn't easy for Mom to tell me this and it wasn't easy to hear. I told her to tell you to hang on until Christmas. We would be there for sure.
August 24th, 2012 was the day that I got the call I was dreading since the day I moved out of the house. Mom said that you weren't doing well. You weren't yourself and you were having trouble eating. You didn't have much time left. I cried myself to sleep that night. I woke up the next day and just stood in the shower and cried. Mom and I got on Skype later that morning so I could see you and talk to you. That evening when Adam got home, we had one last webcam session to say our goodbyes. My heart was broken. I wanted so badly to be there for you. I wanted to hold you close and tell you how much I loved you. I wanted to give you one last kiss on the soft fur behind your ears. You were not alone. Mom and Dad were with you and I found comfort in that.
I went home in November for Grandpa's 90th birthday. That is when it really sunk in. Holden and I stood at your grave as I talked to you. I told you that I was sorry for not being closer but I still loved you and always had you in my heart. I told you about the baby we are expecting in April. And even though this little girl will not have the pleasure of meeting you, she will see your pictures and hear your stories.
Torcato, you are loved so very much! Even though I was not nearby, I thought about you often. I always asked about you when I called home. I would tell Mom to tell you that I love you and to give you a kiss. I have kept all of the cards with your paw prints stamped in them. Your bows are on display on our fridge and your collars are sitting on the bookshelf in the living room. And that picture of you as a kitten is still on my night stand next to my bed.
You were such a special little kitty who touched the hearts of those who knew you. What a blessing that we were chosen to be your family and enjoy you for nine years. Thank you for the love you gave unconditionally!
Lovebug, you are loved dearly and missed greatly! I will see you again at the Rainbow Bridge where I will pick you up, kiss you on that soft fur behind your ears, tell you that I love you and then cross the bridge together, never again to separate.
I love you!