19 April 2017

A Life With Cats


Nabokov, Fluffy & Wendel, Pippin, Breaugh, Francois & Malcolm, Alice. Lucy & Molly, Sid & Oscar. These are the cats with whom I and my family have shared our homes and hearts during my adult life. I'm not even counting various roommate cats.

We lost Oscar to cancer 2 weeks ago. My daughter's childhood boy Francois, aged sixteen, passed 2 weeks before that. That was a hard one, not unlike a chapter ending. So, in the following days, I find myself remembering all the cats I have known and loved. 

Sleek Nabokov was the first. I watched him and his siblings being born on my roommates' sofa. His mother Alvin, (yes they thought she was a boy and didn't get her fixed) was a teenage mom. Nabby was all black among a litter of orange and tortie and I adopted him on the spot. At my and my ex-husband's first apartment, long haired marmalade Fluffy was the cat next door. He liked us the best and was always visiting until, finally, the neighbour just gave him to us. He remained loyal and we had him until he was seventeen. His friend and my spirit cat, Wendell - black and white, dumb as a brick and sweet as pie - was the boy of The Daughter's infancy. She could pull his tail, sit on him even. He didn't care. He followed her everywhere until she was three and he was four. Then an unexpected illness took him.

Francois and Malcolm
Malcolm and Alice still live with my ex but they are getting old. The Daughter, bless her, has her first own cat now, a troublesome fat black boy named Rupert. And so it continues.

They break your heart each time. They infect you with their sass and shenanigans. They sit purring with you when you're blue. They weave themselves into your personal history. Inevitably, they age, get sick, and pass on. I've been through it over and over and it never gets easier to say goodbye.

Beautiful Molly. She always looked somewhat surprised.
When my partner and I met 3 years ago, we had four cats between us - my calico girls and his Bengal boys. We worried about how we might ever be able to move in together with all those felines. Then last year, beloved Molly got heart disease and passed away before we had to make that decision. Damn I miss that girl. She was a gentle, simple creature.

So he and I are down to two. Ironically, Sid and Lucy can't stand each other but they seem to have worked out how to stay out of each other's way. My partner and I both swear these are the last. There comes a point when you feel you just can't do it anymore. I say this now, when I'm sad and missing them all, but who knows? Down the road, some new little kitty may pop up needing a home and we just may not be able to say no.

Sid. Happy.

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