Five months ago, our cat Flossie, the last of our cat-family, gave us a real scare when we thought it was her time to go. Luckily, she was just messing with us, and we had five more months with our little bundle of fur and love.
About two weeks ago, we noticed that she just wasn’t looking happy or comfortable. I think we all knew it was her time, and so we prepared for having to say goodbye. Last Thursday we took her to the vets and she slipped peacefully into sleep. There is nothing quite as heartbreaking as saying goodbye – human or animal, it doesn’t matter, because connections with both are beautiful. It is the first time in my life – I know, how lucky I am! – that I haven’t had a cat.
My parents had a half-wild cat called Fulham (so-called because he was black and white), before I came along, and we had him until he was run over down the road when he was about 14. It was my first taste of heartbreak, as up until then, I hadn’t lost anyone close to me. By that time, we had Quentin and Georgina (I didn’t name them, the person who had their Mum did!), so they took some of the sting away. And a few days later, Georgie gave birth to a litter of kittens. Here was the shock – our parents had said that we could only keep one of her kittens if there was a black and white one. Most of the litter was tabby, brown and white with bits of orange, whilst there was only one black and white moggie, who we called Flossie.
So, I’ve had cats for twenty-eight years. It feels somehow wrong to not have a feline in the house, and in the pain of this loss, I keep a lookout for any cat that happens to stumble into our garden, or at the front of the house, hoping they will be kind and let me give them some of this love. My family are planning to have some rescue cats in a couple of months time, but until then, I think this will be difficult. There will never be another Floss or Quentin or Georgie. As with any loss, it’s the physical absence that leaves a hole. I know we did the right thing for her, because all three of our cats became ill nearer the end. Quentin was 16, Georgie 18, and Floss 18 when they died, so they all lived long and happy lives.
I wrote a post about them all five months ago, when we were worried about Flossie. It reminds me to celebrate their lives and be grateful for the chance to share our lives with such graceful, beautiful creatures. I will miss them all.
A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not. – Ernest Hemingway.