When we moved a little more than a month ago, we downsized our square footage. But sadly, we also downsized in the number of pets we have.

We don’t know if it was the move that was the tipping point for our old cat, named Charm, or just coincidence, but about two weeks after we moved, the kidney disease that we knew he had, got worse rapidly. He stopped eating and it was obvious that it was time to say goodbye to his fuzzy round face.

We never really knew how old Charm was because we adopted him from Forgotten Felines when he was an adult cat but we had him for 14 years. He was the first pet for our family and he opened the door for getting two more cats, a German Shepherd, a couple of rats, toad, and assorted fish that also joined our household in the subsequent years.

I really don’t remember how we happened to choose Charm that day at PetSmart. Perhaps all the cute little kittens had already been adopted. But our daughter, Valerie who was five at the time, had her heart set on getting a pet that day so the cat with the slightly crossed blue eyes and latte coloring came home with us.

The name on his cage at the adoption center was “Toro” which gives you a sense that he wasn’t a little fluff-ball but more of a plus-size cat. Valerie immediately renamed him Charm because of a Barbie computer game that she was obsessed with at the time.

Apparently Charm had led a tough life before coming into our house because when we got him, he was a very ratty looking cat. He had a big chunk of fur missing from his tail and feline acne on his chin – who knew cats could get zits?

But once Charm put his paw that was accustomed to prowling the tough streets of Sonoma County on our plush carpet, his little kitty brain was wiped of any desire to want to go outside. We could have left the door open for days and he never would have ventured outside. Although we’re not sure who was smarter…Charm or the toad…he had enough brain to know a good thing when he saw it.

Charm was a total lap cat. You only needed to be sitting for about a minute before this big ‘ol cat with four very small paws was upon you. I’ve never seen a creature that could get more relaxed. He would eventually end up sleeping on his back with his skinny cat arms raised over his head like he was doing the wave in his sleep.

But his favorite place was on Steve’s lap when Steve was at his computer. He loved soaking up the warmth that Steve’s massive tower put out. Every time Steve would touch the top of Charm’s back – which was every time he reached for the keyboard with his right hand – Charm would raise his butt so he was on his tippy-toes and then settle back down until Steve used his right arm again. Even though Steve had so much cat fur on his keyboard that the keys became felted, at least this constant up-and-down of his back end forced Charm to get some exercise.

As hard as it was to say goodbye to Charm, it would have been even harder to do it if we were still living in our old house because he was a presence in our lives 14 out of the 17 years that we lived there. He is one of the best memories I have of our old house.