Hey smurf. It’s been ten years. We had you for five and you’ve been gone ten. But these are just numbers, and who cares about that? I can be right there at the vet hospital, sitting on the floor as you walk towards me, a purr of recognition, crooked tail in the air, leaving bloody pawprints.
It’s getting cold here. So I imagine you outside, you know the night I mean. The one when you wanted me to leave you in the bushes, that frosty night, and I couldn’t do it. I begged you come in, to let me carry you, and so you did.
It’s been ten years, and I know now that I’ll always cry on this day, my throat will always hurt. Because this year could have shifted my feelings, left me thinking that an old, dead cat shouldn’t make the list.
But you do. You always do. And when I’m even older, when I’m at my own end, I won’t forget to be grateful for the five years I got with you.
In the midst of some challenging times this year, Rebecca and I have been sentimental for the place we left, for our Scottish home. There’s a video Google made by itself, of a day filled with getting the vegetables from the garden, and you sunning yourself in the middle of it. You being everywhere. Because you were. We want to get that sense of home back, a sense I’ve never felt here, even though there is much to love about our house, our cats, our lives. It’s not back home, and maybe it’s my youth I’m missing, maybe it’s something that we can’t get back. Maybe it’s you. And you won’t come back, will you. And yet, I tell our cats that you’re looking down on them, and I still ask you for help.
In case you didn’t know already:
I looked after some rescue cats this year. Twice a week, driving out to feed them, let them play, litter boxes and the rest. All I wanted this year was for them to find homes, and they did. It was a good thing, a worthy case.
And then there are the cats live in this house:
Maisy is the classroom cat. I’ve been doing most work online, and she hangs with me in your basket on a green couch. We spend the day together, and as soon as I say goodbye to students, she’s on the desk, telling me it’s time to go outside. She had one of her funky eyes this year and I was afraid for her. I got her teeth cleaned, which brought its own stress and fear, but I think it was the right thing. It’ll be her sisters turn next year. I must play with Maisy, I must find her games and fun.
Daisy is too fat, and she is a hissing, hateful thing sometimes. But she loves us, and she wakes me up every single morning. I’m trying to get her weight down, but damn, she wants all the food in the world. I must brush her more, and help her play.
Kitten has grown in confidence and presence, despite or because of the company of three foster children who are due to leave us in three days. She spends the night on our bed, she climbs onto Rebecca at night and demands attention. And she is trying so hard to get Milo to play with her the way that Sully did.
A year ago today, we brought Milo home from the Mewsic Kitty Cafe. What a day to get a new cat. I cried on the way home. His gotchaversary is tied up with your death. Milo is our confident boy cat, eager to socialize with children and adults. Daisy hates him, Maisy mostly ignores him, and Kitten chases him around the house.
He’s not you. He’s not Sully, either.
Maisy’s all over me right now. Super purr, super miaow. Maybe she knows that I’m hurting, or maybe she’s just hungry. Probably both. I love her in a way that is partly torture, to imagine her dying, in pain, lost. Sound familiar?
She’s not you. It’s different. She’s my baby, you never were. Imagine putting a harness on you – no chance in hell. You spent most of every day outside, and you always came home eventually. Fierce beast, cleverest of cats, the best hunter I’ve ever known. Thank you for liking me, for trusting me. Thank you. I’m sorry you got so sick, I’m sorry I wasn’t good enough, I’m sorry I didn’t see what was happening. We got there in the end, didn’t we? But what a shit final journey. Is there anything I regret more? Funny, the things we can’t leave behind.
The big MIAOW from Maisy. The big purr. She thinks I’m good, and I promise to do my best for these cats.
I will go for our walk. It’s cold, it’ll be dark and muddy. Just like old times. I will tell you that I love and miss you, and I will tell Sully the same. Because all cats are connected, and all cats are good. I will say good night to you every night, and I will think of good moments. And I will pray that you are free of pain, well fed, enjoying the sunshine, and watching the birds.