Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I've been putting off writing this post because I'm so very sad and writing about it in my blog seems to make it true and permanent, which of course it is. Cassie, our pretty, fluffy little companion, is no more.
Bloggy friends will remember that her twin, Sirius, developed lung cancer and faded away over the course of nearly a year. He started by coughing and, over the months, starting breathing fast. Lung cancer, said the vet, is very rare in cats and extremely rare in young cats. He was six when we had to have him put to sleep. We were very upset indeed.
So when my husband heard Cassie cough, once, a week past Thursday, we were of course worried. But we thought we were being neurotic. It couldn't happen again. Could it? Then she coughed again, once, on the Sunday. I wasn't in the room either time. We were again worried but we thought, surely not? I looked at her and wondered if she was breathing slightly faster than usual but decided that it was my imagination. She seemed absolutely fine. She was eating, drinking, jumping up on things. We wondered whether to take her to the vet, but she hated - and fought - being put in her travelling box and of course we didn't want to believe that there was anything wrong.
Then last Thursday evening, she started breathing very fast - unmistakably. We were devastated. We took her to the vet at 11 on Friday morning. He was not optimistic. We had to leave her behind to be x-rayed. A younger vet phoned at 12.15. There were growths in her lungs and ... it must be something genetic and... . We never brought her home. She was only seven.
We loved them, foolishly, as people do love their pets, knowing that we were likely to outlive them; but planning our grief for much later. Cats, and I imagine dogs too, are such physical presences in a house. Cassie and Sirius sat on us a lot. They pushed their soft furry heads into our hands, snuggled into us, purred. They were our substitute children, some consolation for our empty nest.
They are a huge loss.
I know they were only cats, and much, much worse things happen to other people. But now we've cleared away the various cat beds and the throws on the sofas and the dishes, the house seems drearily tidy. We keep shutting doors to rooms that were out of bounds to the cats and then remembering that we don't have to do so. We look through the glass panels of the door to the smaller living room as we pass, to see what she's up to. We open the outside doors carefully at night to make sure she doesn't escape. It's not that we've really forgotten, but it comes as a reminder, every time we automatically do something like that, that she's not here any more.
The cat flap has its cover on, which makes the kitchen door seem all wrong.
Get a kitten, people say. So tempting, but no. Daughter 1, Son-in-Law 1, his mother and Grandson are all a bit allergic to cats; my brother is very allergic - which is why the cats were only allowed in certain rooms and we had washable throws on the sofas. And being doting cat-owners means that you have to import house-sitters when you go away.
But mainly we can't face the idea of going through this again.
Goodbye, lovely Queen Fluff and sweet-natured Velvet Ted. Thank you for sharing our lives and making us, for all too short a time, cat people.