Jul 10, 2014

Cat

my cat

My cat Pedrês, who I’d had for just about half my life, passed away this afternoon. Unless you’re very new to this blog, you’ll have seen him many times — he was, even with my having moved away a few years back, a very big presence in my life. Between his illness and some other less public forum appropriate stuff, I’ve been really out of sorts these past few weeks.

His death was not unexpected, and the truth is that I’ve been sort of writing these words in my head for some time now. Putting things into sentences, articulating them to myself, has always been how I cope. And yet the knowledge that this loss was coming coexisted with a fierce hope that wasn’t so much optimistic as it was a survival tool. I said goodbye to him on Sunday, having managed to fly home for one last long weekend with him, but I did not dare to call it that. What I saw during this last visit wasn’t pretty — between my trip home in late May and now, he had lost 800g, which is a lot for a small and elderly cat. It broke my heart to see him trying to climb onto my bed as he’d always done and failing. He wasn’t in physical pain, and recovery wasn’t beyond the realm of the possible, but he was frail enough that it was unlikely. Whatever slim hope I could muster and grab onto furiously was what allowed me to walk out the door and make my way to the airport on Sunday evening.

My cat liked yoghurt and cantaloupe. He was afraid of strangers but he never, ever scratched. He hated the song “This is the Dream of Win and Regine”. He was born in a house with five children and spent his early months there; he was always a people’s cat. He used to sulk and snub me for up to a week when I came back to him after being away, but as I reached adulthood and my absences became longer and more frequent, he decided we’d make the most of whatever time we could have together instead. From then on it was wild purring and lap-climbing from the moment I walked through the door. I try to follow his lead in many things in life.

I’m trying to resist the urge to list more details that might make him come alive for you; that could conjure this particular cat in the minds of whoever reads these words. In the end there’s probably little point in trying to convey what made my cat special or this loss so hard: he was special to me, of course, but this is “as unoriginal as any other tale, as unique as any other life.” Some of you, I suspect, will know what I mean straight away. If not, all you have are my words trying to do justice to this small tragedy and all the reasons why his death is a devastating loss for me. Words are all I have, but words are imperfect.

Me and my cat

All I can say is this: my cat and I had a strong, close tie. I’ve loved (and mourned) many animals in my life, and I’m sure I will again. But I’ll consider myself exceedingly lucky if I ever forge another bond quite like this. I’m trying to take comfort in stories that remind me that we continue to have a relationship with whomever and whatever we lose; that absence changes but doesn’t erase these ties’ significance or their roles in our lives. I’ll know and love other animals, but I’ll spend the rest of my life loving around this particular cat-shaped hole in my heart. In the end this is the hardest thing of all: the fact that there’s now a lot less love in my life. I feel diminished. I could do with any human kindness you could spare.

44 comments:

  1. nothing can make this pain any better, so I will just say that I understand. <3

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  2. My condolences. I have an elderly cat, too, and...I don't know, I just felt every sentence of this. I hope you're feeling as okay as you can feel right now.

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  3. It's so hard to lose a beloved pet. You have my deepest sympathy.

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  4. Sending hugs through the screen.

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  5. I'm so sorry Ana:( I still feel sad when I think about my dog who passed away several years ago but more and more I feel blessed that he came into our lives and brought us so much happiness and made us kinder people who showered him with love. You were able to spend so much time with your cat and I'm really glad to you got to spend that weekend with him.

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  6. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I've been there and know how it feels. I'll be thinking of you and sending you good wishes.

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  7. I'm so sorry this has come to pass. I know you were bracing for it, but you can never really be ready for a loss.

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  8. I am so sorry for your loss. Sending hugs your way.

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  9. ahhhhh, waves of soothing-ness and love to you Ana. HUGS.

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  10. Your words are perfect. So much love, he'll always be part of you.

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  11. Oh, Ana. I am so sorry you've lost Pedrês. I do appreciate you sharing what he loved and what his personality was like because, as much as we all love our feline friends the same, they are all such individuals and their loss is felt uniquely. And I understand what it's like to lose a family pet from a distance. It's hard to see them aging each time you return and also knowing that they won't be there next time. My thoughts and love are with you tonight.

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  12. I'm very sorry. It's hard to come up with words of comfort. I had a cat that I had a special bond with and when he was suddenly gone... well, I haven't really gotten over it.

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  13. I am so very sorry for the death of your kitty. Even thinking of the inevitable loss of one of mine makes me cry. Much love and compassion x x

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  14. Oh, Ana. I am so so sorry for your loss. I remember how devastated I was when my childhood cat died, and I am sad to know that you're experiencing the same sadness now. You're in my thoughts.

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  15. So sorry for your loss. Every cat I've had in my life has been special in his or her own unique way, and I know that you experienced this as well. Think on the happiness that you brought each other and celebrate those memories.
    We are all made better people by having these special relationships.

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  16. i am very sorry for your loss :'(. beautiful words for a beloved cat. (,,◕ ⋏ ◕,,)

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  17. I'm so so sorry! I think most of us have gone through the loss of a pet, and it's so so hard. Sending you hugs and love!

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  18. Sometimes, a cat is so particularly special that his loss is extra specially hard. I was lucky enough to live with a cat like that once. Glad you were, too.

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  19. I'm so, so sorry, Ana. Losing a beloved furry friend is so hard. [big hug]

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  20. I'm so sorry, Ana. Your words may have felt imperfect to you, but they made very clear why the bond was so strong.

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  21. Love to you, Ana. The time you had together was special and precious and a blessing.

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  22. I'm so so sorry for your loss. Our pets are part of our family and when I lost my cat (he was 16) it broke my heart. They love us unconditionally and somehow know when we are upset. They cuddle with us and keep us company when we read. There will be other pets in your life, but never one quite like Pedrês.

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  23. Oh Ana, I am so sorry. I know how you feel and my heart goes out to you.

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  24. Im so sorry :( I'm forwarding all my warmest thoughts to you.

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  25. I do know exactly this pain. So, so sorry, Ana.

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  26. I don't even know you and I'm crying for you, because I know that cat shape. So sorry for your loss. xx

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  27. I'm so sorry to hear about this Ana. My heart goes out to you. Our pets are so much more than just pets. They are our best friends and our family. It is devastating when we lose them.

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  28. I am so sorry for your loss! Our pets are our family and to see one pass away is very difficult. I completely understand what you're going through.

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  29. *hugs* I'm sorry, Ana. Losing a pet is so, so hard. Thinking of you.

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  30. This is the most beautiful post I wish was never written. I love you Ana. Hugs and more hugs.

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  31. Aw, Ana, I am so sorry to hear this. I definitely know the pain of losing a dear pet and fear the future pain of losing other dear pets. They bring so much to our lives, but leave such big holes when they go. :'-(

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  32. Thank you so much, everyone <3

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  33. I'm so incredibly sorry, and as for the love, yes. Our pets give so so much to us and add so much more to our lives. Thinking about you...

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  34. I'm so sorry, Ana. I hope you've found the support you need to cope with this loss.

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  35. Ana, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved kitty. Time will diminish the pain some but it will not diminish the love and the wonderful memories. My thoughts are with you.

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  36. Thank you <3 All your kind comments and messages have definitely helped.

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  37. Oh Ana, I am sorry about your loss. It is terrible to lose a beloved friend and companion. Thinking of you.

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  38. It's really hard to lose these furry family members. My condolences - he was a gorgeous cat.

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  39. Ana, I can't say anything to try to cheer you up that haven't been already said. I am terribly sorry for your loss - I hope time will take away the sadness and leave you only with good memories.

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  40. Again, thanks all. As I said above the kind comments have helped, even if it doesn't seem like much.

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  41. I'm so so sorry, Ana. He was a beautiful cat and your love for him shines in this post. *hugs*

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.