Monday, May 07, 2007

Rest well

For the first time in my life, no pet lives at my family home.

Tonight, just after 6pm, my brothers cat was put to sleep by the local vet. For the last 16 years she has had a pretty good life. Even tonight, when my sister went to find her to say goodbye, she was coming back down the street after visiting the neighbours. She hasn't been well for the last year or so, but her will to live, and obvious enjoyment of life has stayed our hand. Yesterday, she didn't want to eat, didn't want to drink, and was obviously suffering from paralysis of her back legs. She didn't even try to hide from a visiting dog. She spent the rest of yesterday on her sheepskin on the couch, being patted in moderation, sniffing at hands, and occasionally condescending to lick at some of her cooked chicken, heated in the microwave. Very much the centre of attention, being the grand lady she always tried to be.

My brother is devastated. He spent most of last week at the family home, looking after her while our parent's were away on holiday. I think he will be glad that he spent the last week with her, "kicking back, watching tv, hand feeding her", grooming her and letting her sleep on the bed. I don't think he is there yet. We've gone through a lot of tissues here, and I got home to find a note telling me that he "need(ed) to go out for a while, might not be back til tomorrow". Then he filled the note with a stack of domestic stuff about hanging out the towels, keys, and then just signed it with RIP Miss McP. I lost it then.

I thought I was OK. I knew that it was time for her to go, and I've been expecting it since last year. I managed to hold it together all day at work after seeing her this morning to say goodbye. She was still with it, sniffing at my hand and licking it, but she was so cold. I've talked to Mum three times today, sorting out the logistics of the family and everyone saying their farewells, I've had three phone calls with my sister, with her getting more and more upset every time, and Mum says she just sobbed for 45 minutes at home tonight. Once I got home, and read that note, and listened to Mum on the answering machine talking about it, I lost it. I'm still sitting here with tears streaming down my face. Thank goodness for aloe vera tissues.

There are no pets left at home anymore. The four of us have moved out, and are apparently mature adults. I have my cat. My sister has her chickens and her boyfriends dog. My other brother has his dogs. The brother living with me doesn't have any. We don't have any pets that we have shared time with all together any more.. We've lost that common pet ground as we all move on with our lives. We are still family, but we have more apart than together.

We won't see your round ginger, white and brown face peeking out from your grass hut again. You won't accost every person walking past the fence from your perch on the letterbox.

Rest well, Miss Puss. You will always sleep under the geraniums now.


velvet girl said...

What a sad and beautiful tribute. You may no longer have a shared pet, but the shared memories will always be there.

Scot said...

For my part everyone ought to glance at it.
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