Never Give Up!

If I have learned one thing in my lifetime, it has been this simple rule: If you want to overcome any problem, obstacle or adversity, or if you just want to be successful in life, never give up!  During some of the most difficult times in my life, I had a cat who always reminded me to never give up just by being herself.

I didn’t choose Laptop the cat, she choose me!

I had the worst possible day in my lengthy junior college career.   That morning I was sitting in the Dean’s office trying to defend my actions during an incident that occurred between myself and my English Lit professor the previous week.  Although we had put it behind us, the dean had not.  When I walked out of the Dean’s office. I had tears running down my face because not only was not expelled from college, I had lost my on-campus job as the lab administrator for the Allied Health computer lab.

That evening, my girlfriend Kimberly came over to my apartment and said, “you need a cat.”

I was not ready for a cat.  Three months earlier I had to put down my first cat.  She was the cutest calico cat I had ever known, her name was Kelly Girl, and I still wasn’t over losing her.

I was too distraught from the losses that I had endured earlier that day to say no to her.  Before I knew it, I was sitting on the couch in the living room of our mutual friend, Gloria’s home in the country, waiting to meet the kitten that she had picked out for me.

Gloria tried to get the one kitten out of the crate in the other room that she has picked for me.   I could barely hear her tell us how she found two kittens stuck in a tree in a manner that appeared as if someone wedged them into the tree and left them there to die over one of the kitten’s continuous series of loud meows and hisses.

When Gloria entered the living room with the hissing cat, who would have nothing to do with me, we nicknamed her hissy as she darted back to her cage.

Gloria returned to the other room and opened the cage.  The cat we had nicknamed hissy darted back into the cage.  Her sister darted out of her of cage straight to me and hopped up onto my lap and looked up as to say “You are my human I am your kitten.  Let’s get out of here!”

That was the moment I realized that the cat who just chose me, was a cat that was full of determination to get what she wants.

Before I left Gloria’s home in the country, I already knew she was a cat that gets what she wants.  She didn’t want to die in that tree, she cried until Gloria heard her and her sister and rescued them.  She wanted to get away from her sister, so she found the opportunity and bolted to me.

Laptop reaches new heights – barely

In my one-bedroom apartment, I had a galley kitchen.  Like most galley kitchens in apartments, it was narrow.

Laptop loved the galley kitchen because she could lay on top of the cabinets above the counters and blend in with the stuffed animals that lined the top.

She would hop onto the counter between the sink and the refrigerator, then hop on top the refrigerator.  Once on top of the refrigerator, she would hop up onto the top of the cabinets.

As I watched her hop up and down in the kitchen, I grew increasingly worried that she could miscalculate and hurt herself.  That was when I decided to do something.

I moved a few things around until the top of the refrigerator was completely covered, leaving no room for her to hop on top of it.

This did not please Laptop.  She would walk into the kitchen, sit on the floor and looked up at the top of the cabinets.

I thought she was mourning the loss of the days she could get up high.  I was wrong, Laptop was coming up with a plan to get back on top of the cabinets.

One afternoon, Laptop must have tried to jump straight up from the floor to the top of the cabinets, because when I returned home with Kimberly, we heard her yelling as we opened the door.  We investigated and saw her front paws clinging to the top of the cabinets in the kitchen while the rest of her body dangled.

Her meows were loud and sound as if she was saying “I know I am in trouble but help me!”

Her first attempt may not have gotten her to the top, but she didn’t give up!

A few days later, Laptop walked into the kitchen and hopped straight up onto the counter then bi-passing the refrigerator straight up to the top of the cabinets!

Laptop made her own unobstructed view of the great outdoors.

One of Laptop’s favorite spots in my apartment was the large window that looked out into a courtyard from my bedroom.  When she first arrived at my home, the window had curtains.  The curtains made it easy for her to get in and out of the window.  That all changed when blinds replaced the curtains.

When the blinds were installed, it was no longer easy for her to get in and out of the window.  This did not stop her.   Laptop started to bite the end of the blinds until they broke off, allowing her easy access in and out of her window.

Laptop wasn’t going to let anything stop her from returning to the great outdoors.

Despite being afraid of the dark (Laptop meowed loudly every night when the apartment was dark until I added night lights), hated dirt on her paws, only drank filtered water and deathly allergic to fleas (she would lose her fur when she had fleas), Laptop insisted she could go outdoors.

It was always a constant battle with her whenever anyone came in or went out of the apartment.  It became so challenging to battle her when I was in a wheelchair, I had to trick her into going into the bedroom and locking her in there before I tried to leave my home.

Next to the front door of my apartment, I had a short stand where I could set keys, etc. when I came home.  In the evening Laptop loved to sit there and watch us watch TV in the living room.

One night, while Kimberly and I were sleeping, Laptop figured out how to unlock the door that lead outdoors.  We didn’t think it was her.  We thought it was either one of us forgetting to lock the door.

Then one morning, we awoke and found that only was the front door unlocked, but that she had opened it.  We were of course freaked out for our safety, until we realized that Laptop had let herself out and was hiding in a bush near the front door.

Laptop never said die….until it was her time

In Laptops later years, her health started to decline rapidly.  But she never let that stop her from being a true cat.  Even when she was weak and dying, unable to use her back legs, she dragged (and I mean dragged literally) herself into the bathroom where the litter box was located.  She was too weak to get into the box, so she did her business on the floor.

I knew her time was near, so reluctantly I scooped her up and took her to the vet.

Our vet confirmed, it was her time,

We took her into a family room and we said our goodbyes to the cat who spent nearly 15 years with us.

As the vet tech prepared the medication that would be injected to help her pass peacefully and without pain, Laptop passed.  We fought back tears and the vet tech started to put away the medication.

Then, Laptop took another breath of air, stared at me as to say, “I don’t want to go”.  Then she slipped away again, with occasional breaths of air.  We had the vet give her the medication as we did not want her to suffer.

I rarely have trouble remembering during difficult times to never give up.  But if I ever do, I just need to remember Laptop because never give up was her life motto – to the end.