Thursday, September 30, 2010

Requiem for a cat…


We had to put our cat down on Tuesday. It was in some ways a difficult decision and in some ways the easiest decision of all. He was clearly suffering and yet it’s so hard to actually let go.

I was driving down the main road of our little town yesterday, watching the UPS truck stop at someone’s house, people walking to the only restaurant in town, cars being filled with gas. Our cat is no longer part of this world and yet it keeps going. How devastating and somehow hopeful that is.

How do you measure the life of a cat? He was a stray as a kitten, found wandering the streets of our college town. I went to the humane society to pick out a kitten. I picked a gray and white patched kitten for no other reason than he matched our other cat, a black and white patched cat. I took my then-boyfriend (now husband) to finalize the paperwork and this scrappy long-haired solid gray kitten wouldn’t leave him alone. Guess which cat we took home. We brought him home and he ate and ate and grew and grew.

We were two kids in love back then. Not married, not even engaged yet. One cat’s life later, we’re two adults approaching middle age, married for twelve years, parents of four. We’ve lived in four different homes in that time. What started as a dream with a cat to love has turned into a life.

We moved to the farm two years ago. Kitty didn’t like it. He’s been declining ever since. But in the past month, our once 20 pound cat dropped to 6 pounds. He could barely move or breathe. As heartwrenching as it was, we knew he was dying and there was nothing the vet could do about it.

The kids were initially very upset. I was a little surprised that my stoic son took it the hardest. He’s so much like me it’s kind of scary. I hate crying. My oldest daughter also took it very hard and is still getting upset at times. The five year old didn’t know what was going on, but knew that she should cry, so she cried louder and more hysterically than anyone.

Now they want a kitten. We told them we’ll discuss it in the spring. I’m not ready for a kitten. But it’s been a nice distraction for them to think about.

Unfortunately, all of this is making me think of how sick my grandfather is. How difficult it’s going to be to tell them when he dies. And how we can’t use talk of a new kitten to distract them from the fact that the world still exists without one of the most important men in my life in it.

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