Hook was the cutest kitten I’d ever seen. He was at a local pet food store, brought there by a rescue shelter along with his brothers and sisters, to be adopted. He’d just recently been born and was being bottle-fed, his mother having died giving birth to the litter. His tail was broken in the process of being born, and it made a distinctive hook shape. He was the feistiest of the litter, pouncing all over the other cats in the pen with him, which instantly endeared him to me. The people at the rescue called him “Hook Tail”, which we shortened to Hook on adopting him.
Hook was a pet that only his owner could love. He positively hated strangers, hissing and baring his teeth at them. No one would believe me when I told them how affectionate he was with me when they weren’t around, but it was true. He was a tabby, with soft, beautiful fur. So soft and beautiful in fact, that those qualities would entice people to pet him despite my warnings, and he often rewarded such a gesture with a swipe.
I’m a terrible singer, but for some reason, he couldn’t resist my singing. No matter where he was or what he was doing, he’d come to me if I sang. It was weird and great at the same time. He’d come sit on my lap and purr his fool head off.
He was with me through marriage, divorce, marriage again, and the birth of my daughter. The latter was something of a concern, given his behavior with strangers. It wasn’t a problem; he accepted Ainsley as family the day we brought her home. As soon as she was able to walk, she terrorized that poor cat and he endured it without (much) complaint.
It was a good eighteen (!) years, and they came to an end this evening. I got home from work, sat with him a bit, sang his favorite song, and he passed on. Val thinks he waited for me to get home to say goodbye before he went. Cats are a pain in the ass, but Hook has been an indelible part of my life, and I’ll miss him.