From the first time I saw him I was struck by how beautiful he was, this tiny ginger kitten. Oh, how he hated me though, hissing and spitting at me the first couple days after I trapped them from behind a local pet store. Even as his brothers became more comfortable with me handling them, he would try to avoid me.
Once he discovered I held the bottle though, it was a different story. He was frantic to see me, crawling all over me when I had the litter out for playtime, snuggling and purring on my lap when he was tired. My kids helped me name the kittens and he was saddled with Lord Broccoli.
Once all the kittens were weaned and healthy I made up flyers to find them homes. I decided to not include his picture, we didn’t need to keep another cat, but I was so in love with him. His brothers were adopted into loving homes, but he and the singleton kitten I had found near them never left.
I thought I should change his name, Lord Broccoli was fine when I thought I’d adopt him out and it’d be changed, but it was silly, even by my standards. My friends and especially my brother were vehemently against a name change, and through them I made his name even more ludicrous: Lord Broccoli Brockington III, Esq. of Finland. (I don’t know why Finland, that’s just what my brother decided!)
As Broccoli grew my brother sent me a video of a cat doing agility and tricks and told me to “get on this.” So Broccoli, who always begged for treats when I prepared them for dog training started his journey with clicker training.
He learned to come when called, sit, sit up pretty, touch a target, do jumps, and play dead. He was such a smart kitty and so eager to offer behaviors.
When he wasn’t on my lap snuggling he was doing obnoxious things to get my attention. He and my first bottle fed kitty, Cheese, were constantly trying to get prime lap space, even lying on top of one another. Brockies let me tease him, and rub his tummy, he didn’t care, as long as he had my attention.
Last night we found Broccoli had passed away unexpectedly. My heart is empty, utter devastation. I’ve cried hysterically, my eyes are beyond swollen from it and I feel hungover. He was just 2 years old in July, he was seemingly healthy, I just can’t understand what happened. I’m feeling guilty for every time I pushed him off my lap, for not cuddling every time he wanted, for not noticing that something must have been wrong.
I’ve asked my vet to examine him so that maybe I can get some answers as to what happened. I know he was probably a genetic nightmare from inbreeding in the cat colony, but I just can’t wrap my head around such a young cat dying like this.
He was my baby, he’d just learned to give a high-five, and I’m going to miss his angora-soft fur, the way he smashed his head into me, the way he rolled over on his back and grabbed my hand, the way he meowed at me. He was so gorgeous and loving, and I’m so lost without him.