Charlie was the ultimate tuxedo brat. He had a way about him that made people want to give him the best of everything. Not just us, but everyone.
Our neighbors delighted in Charlie stealing catnip from their garden and sneaking through their window to relax on their couch. My mother loved to spoil him and called him another grandchild. When we used to search for Charlie on his night prowls, strangers would happily join in, to bring him home to safety from the coyotes.
Like a true brat, Charlie loved to be the center of attention. When we would watch the bears in the yard, he would stand in front them, just so we could admire his perfect tuxedo coat. Charlie also had amazing Kung Fu moves and liked wrestling with Jeff. He was pretty good at badminton, too, and could always catch the bird in the air. When he was happiest of all, he would do a perfect somersault that would put an Olympic champion to shame.
Charlie loved to play with his toys. He had lots of them, and big ones too. He had boats, kayaks, picnic tables, scaffolding and giant culvert pipes-all arranged in the yard for his personal superhero training course. One of his favourite toys was a full sized excavator that the City of Rossland left at our house for a few weeks. Charlie rubbed all over it and would climb to the top of it. He thought more than once about operating it. If only he had the key!
Very generously, Charlie shared his toys with the other cats in the neighborhood, and had lots of friends – Stumpy, Tiggy, Monty, Smokey, Dudley, Ebbie, Bolt and Tom Tom. Charlie likes to wait at the opening of the culvert pipe, and wack them when they came out.
Charlie was also a hard worker. His favourite job was snow removal. Jeff would shovel, and Charlie would dig holes in the snow. They made the perfect team.
When Charlie started getting health problems, he still lived life to the fullest. There were never enough trees to climb, roofs to conquer, tall grass to hunt in, and soft ground to squeeze between his toes. He also liked partying, especially the summer barbecues, in which he was given his own lawn chair to sit with the guests. Even at 18 years old, he still did the occasion somersault (for applause only).
It was challenging to give Charlie the medicine he needed, but seeing how much joy he got out of each day, we wouldn’t have had it any other way. We are so thankful to Dr. Christel Stanton, and all of the staff, for helping Charlie, and showing us how to give him lifesaving care. This gave us another precious 6 years with him.
As Charlie was approaching 19 years old, the winter was too cold for him. He wasn’t as active as before and was spending more time indoors. But this gave us lots of time for endless hugs and petting … until he sometimes wacked us (gently).
Through it all, Charlie shared so many of life’s moments with us. He made the happy times happier, and during the difficult times, he would say with his eyes. “Just love me, and everything will be ok.”
And wouldn’t you know it, he was always right.
The most important thing that Charlie taught us is that we all need a brat in our life. A brat brings out the best in everyone. Charlie gave us a chance to be all the things we ever wanted – a parent, a best friend, a hero, a student, a teacher, a doctor, and a soul mate. It’s no wonder we found it so easy to give him everything.
There is a particular spot at the window where the sun shines at the same time every morning. Charlie never missed the opportunity to bask in it, and take a blissful cat nap with a smile on his face. Even though the spot is conspicuously empty, the sun is more radiant than ever.
The only difference now is that Charlie is the sun, shining for us every day. We have forever been changed by him-our hearts are bigger. We will continue to love him, and the world that gave him to us.
Charlie was born on June 4, 2004, and passed away on February 16, 2023. He was predeceased by our other much-loved snow-shoed Siamese brat (cat), Hershey, on July 11, 2011.