Zooey is a great cat. He is my sister’s cat for all intents and purposes, so when I try to claim he is my cat, you should know that I am lying. My sister has taken care of that cat and loved him completely, and in whatever passes for his mind, you should know that he thinks of Michelle only, and that Michelle celebrates this amazing animal as only an owner would do.

But, y’know… he is sort of my cat.

The last cat I actually owned was named Nike, after a pair of shoes I had just purchased. Nike can be seen in the picture of Kije and Michelle. Nike was awesome, but as he got older, he started spending more and more time out of the house, out kicking ass and fighting dogs and stuff.

A quick aside about Nike. He is The Cat from the musical my mom and I wrote called “The Electric Cat”. If that sounds totally awesome and you want to hear more, feel free to send a check to Gideon Productions.

Anyway, when Nike died it coincided with yet another change of schools and another lost set of friends and girlfriends and the onset of my cat allergies. My mom and sister picked up this retarded Bill-The-Cat looking, rat-faced, homeless kitten, half to salve my broken heart and half because they knew it would make me crazy. I told them, flat out, I had no intention of spending any time with this ugly large headed cross-eyed cat, that I would not clean up after it, and it was not allowed in my room.

He immediately latched on to me and refused to leave my side. He would jump five feet in the air, even as a kitten, to sleep on my hive-ridden neck.

I mean, if you saw this cat a year ago, what you would see is a regular cat head perched atop a body that hovered right around twenty pounds, with a full gray and white lion’s mane of fur around his neck and long payos hanging from his stomach, but as a kitten he had short baby bird fur that always pointed sort of North-Northeast, and his head was far too large for his body. And he was cross-eyed. Completely. If cats actually put on Disney musicals, he would have been Quasimodo.

He loves people more than any other cat our family has owned. Michelle has kept him for years and years, and, most recently, decided to go ahead and change her life plans and get an apartment because he was stuck (with his buddy Fezzik) in a kennel. The only legacy I have is that somehow, Zooey is the only of Michelle’s animals that won’t hide the second someone comes in the room. But that was probably Michelle as well.

Zooey is dying as we speak. No-one is sure what he is dying of. He has dropped from almost twenty pounds to eight. But of course he purred through the tests, he purred through the prodding, he purred straight through his cries of pain when they took blood. This cat has been celebrated by friends of mine and friends of Michelle’s since I was in high school. I know if I called all of our combined ex-girlfriends and boyfriends, they wouldn’t give a crap about us, but they would all be really sad to hear that we are losing Zooey