Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Queen Fluff




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.

33 comments:

  1. All of this is painfully familiar and I send you my sympathy. It is only when they have gone that you realise how deeply they were embedded in your life with all their little habits and precautions being automatically taken into account. My husband in particular still thinks he sees Rodgers in piles of flower pots and other unlikely objects out of the corner of his eye. We have decided not to replace for all the same reasons as you and just have occasional visits from other friendly cats to take the edge off not owning one. We've had five now and think we've had the best of them.

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  2. My heart hurts for you both. xx

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  3. Oh, no, I am sorry. Pets do bring a certain joy and lightness to the home, and it's very difficult when they die. This was all very sudden, too. Extra time with the grandchildren is called for, I think.

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  4. How sad, they are family members too.
    We're all a bit allergic to cats, but I can't imagine our home without at least one cat in it.

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  5. Oh gosh, how very very sad. We all know it's very much a part of having pets but it doesn't make it any easier.

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  6. Oh Isabelle, you've made me cry. I know how very loved Sirius and Cassie are -- and by me too. I will always be indebted to them, as they are the reason that we were able to meet in real life, which has given me many happy memories.

    I'll never forget that day I read on your blog that you were looking for a cat-sitter -- I was giggling as I rushed to see TMofTH to suggest that we travel to Scotland to take care of someone's cats. I was sure he would think I'd gone over the blogging edge. And I'll always remember sitting in my jammies in your family room, happily knitting away with one or the other of the cats on my outstretched legs, playing with the yarn.

    RIP Sweet Sirius and Cassie. XOXOXO

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  7. This is such sad news Isabelle. Having lost our dear old Border Collie in November, I know exactly how you will be feeling. You describe the absence so beautifully.

    How lovely that Thimbleanna looked after Sirius and Cassie for you when you went away.

    My thoughts are with you and Mr Life.x

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    1. Thank you. I do hope you start blogging again!

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  8. How very sad. My thoughts are with you all.

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  9. I'm so, so sorry. Losing a sweet kitty is never easy. You will miss this sweet one. I truly am sad for you.

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  10. Oh my dear, of course worse things happen, but right now this is your worse. I am so sorry, sending hugs from snowy Michigan.

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  11. Oh, I am so sorry to hear this......Especially since they were so young and this was surely not at all what you expected.....Our pets become truly part of our family. You are so in my thoughts.

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  12. So very sorry for your loss. Losing a beloved pet is horrible. Hugs to you x

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  13. Oh so very sad, poor Cassie. Houses are so quiet without a doggy or catty presence I fear.

    Lesley xx

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  14. Really sorry, I know you loved them both and were not expecting any of this.

    Jxx

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  15. I'm very sad about this too. When Bertie Wooster disappeared I felt my ears were permanently strained just listening For the kitty sounds, the bell, the padding feet, the little leaps and meows. It is so hard.

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  16. I am so very sorry! We too have allergic family members, so we haven't ever replaced our cat. I will miss their presence on your blog!

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  17. Oh no, you poor thing, that is terribly sad; far too young for a cat, they should both have made it into tetchy old age! There is something so restful and friendly about having a pet in the house ... even fish?

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  18. How awful. I'm so very sorry. I understand not getting a new puss. That was my decision too after our last one. I found the Vet part and the dying part just too hared to take.
    It leaves a huge hole in ones life for ages, so be strong and remember them kindly...forever.

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  19. Poor little cat, and poor you and Mr Life. These little creatures seem to love us out of all proportion to their size, and take hold of our hearts. So sad to have lost two so young.

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  20. Isabelle I'm so sorry.....for both you and Mr Life....like you we have 2 cats and your post touched my heart.....sending hugs.x

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  21. Such a sad post to read, nothing I say will help of course, but I do send my sympathy to you and your husband. It is a hard thing to bear. x

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  22. My heart is sad for you both. Such a sad post. I remember reading on your blog that you'd gotten the two adorable kittens and the subsequent pictures and posts that made me smile about them. I keep you in my thoughts and heart, my friend. It is hard when they've taken up residence in our hearts. Much love.

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  23. So many lovely, comforting comments here... I have nothing original to add, but my heart hurts for you and Mr. Life too.

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  24. I'm so sorry you are hurting. We are so attached to our dogs I can't imagine something happening to them. Only time will heal the pain.
    Take walks and enjoy your beautiful grand children. Hopefully that will help.
    Patty Mc

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  25. This is always so devastating--and in our case as the cat population is on-going [new additions simply appear and need to be taken in] we know that we face the partings again.
    It takes weeks--months, even--to realize that a loved pet is not sitting in the sunny window or curled on the bed.
    I am sorry.

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  26. Isabelle, I am so sorry. As an animal lover I know exactly how you are feeling. I had not visited your blog for some while and when I do I find this.

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  27. I am so sorry. Sending you love. Penny L in Dorsetxxxxxx

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  28. I am so sad for you. I cannot imagine a home without a pet - it must be very quiet. And clean. And lonely. I would love to have a cat but DH and Son are very allergic. So we have dogs. Their allergies are less to the dogs. But I would find the house very odd with not animals. My sympathies to your loss...

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  29. Isabelle - winter blues and shoveling snow have had me otherwise occupied, so I didn't see this post until today. Sending you my heartfelt sympathy and support. Right now our oldest kitty is on the brink as well, getting thinner and thinner, shutting down. Soon I will be writing this post for him, and I can tell you I'm not looking forward to it, especially since we lost our six year old kitty last year to cancer.

    That being said, I'm one of the "get a kitten" people. We already got one, and she is making the transition so much easier. We don't travel enough to claim it as a reason not to have cats, and I can't really imagine life without them around. Each one has their own personality, and there are so many out there that need loving homes. Maybe someday in the future, when globetrotting has slowed, you'll welcome another furry friend into yours.

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  30. So very sorry Isabelle. When we lost Molly last year I felt quite cross with the people giving the 'get another one' advice, when all we could do was grieve and feel how irreplaceable she was. And there are so many reminders, they're so much part of the fabric of our lives. With time it changes a bit, of course, but it is very hard, and remembering the sadness and suffering still hurts. Take care and grieve well, thinking of you.

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