Archive for March, 2006


March 10, 2006

I’ve been neglecting this lately, and there are several good reasons for it. One of them, though, is the biggie.

My cat died. She was 17 years old and we got her when I was eight. That means that for two-thirds of my life she has been there for me, and it is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. I realise that this makes me sound like the totally over-privileged snob that I kind of am, but god, this is so hard. I’m not going to write about her at length, at least not yet, because I don’t think I can handle it. Almost every night when I turn off the light I find myself crying, because while I can get through the day on faking it, when I’m alone in my bed (well, Jamie is there, but usually asleep), it hits me. It doesn’t really seem to be getting any better. It’s harder, in some ways, because I didn’t live with her any more, and so it’s totally surreal that she’s gone. Crying, of course, makes it worse, because while I absolutely hate crying in front of other people (weird, given how often I cry in movies and tv and stupid commercials, but I always try to hide it despite the fact that everybody is perfectly aware that I’m crying), I’d always escape to cry with my cat. She never minded. So now I cry, and I wish I had her to cry over, and god, that just makes it so much worse. She was old and blind and getting sort of sick and sad, but she was always happy to see me and I loved her so much.

So I cry in bed, and then I get up and leave so I don’t wake up Jamie, partly because I don’t want to disturb him and partly because I really do hate crying in front of other people – I’d rather just be left alone to sob and get it out of my system rather than feeling like I need to control myself, because that way I never seem to cry enough.

She almost died once before, and in some ways, I think that helps. We felt like we’d been given a kitty bonus – over a year where she could have easily been gone. The highlight of this year was a silly little monkey I put in Dad’s stocking. It wound up and played the cymbals as it walked, and Lucy LOVED it. She was pretty much totally blind, but she could hear the little cymbals and she batted it around for quite a while, much to the delight and amusement of the rest of us. That really made us realise that she was still the same old kitty, the foolish loveable kitty full of personality that we’d had for so long. I wasn’t ready for her to go last year – when I remember how terrified I was when we didn’t know what was happening, I realise that she got that. The first time, she fought for us, knew we weren’t ready to let her go. This time, it was so obvious that she just needed to go. She’d waited for my mum to get back from her trip, chosen a Sunday when none of us had to work or juggle schedules, and did it at a very civilised time of day. She was having seizures that seemed like much more than diabetic ones, and she was having trouble breathing. By the time we got her to the vet, she was almost gone.

But god, it was still hard. I held her while they put her down, and I am so, so glad I did that. I held her, and I told her that we loved her, and I just patted her little ears and her soft little head. I’ve spent years agonizing over whether I’d do that (which sounds horribly morbid, but Jamie’s cat, also a diabetic, died about three and a half years ago, and he took his cat in, so ever since then it’s been kind of in the back of my mind.), and when the moment came there was not really any doubt. She was basically asleep already when it happened – barely breathing and practically gone already. So there was no fighting, no horrible moment when I saw the life leave her eyes, no drama. Just a very quiet room, with my mum and the very kind vet, and there was no doubt in my mind that it was the right thing to do, which was what I wanted. I was afraid it would have to be a slightly arbitrary decision on our part, one that I’d inevitably question for the rest of my life. But it wasn’t – it was her decision, and I’m glad (as much as I can be) that it was such an obvious one to make.

That doesn’t change the fact that I miss her so much I feel like one of my arms has been cut off. Lucy was my oldest friend, my one constant in my often changing life. I was her favourite, and she was mine. We grew up together. I could get away with murder with her – baths, nail clipping, brushing, hair cutting – anything. She trusted me with anything. At the end of it all, she trusted me to make the right choice, and I know that we did. But that doesn’t make it any easier. The barest hint of a scratch lingers on my left hand, the last memento of her final hours. I don’t even know when it happened – I didn’t notice it until I got home. But as it fades into almost nothing, I don’t want it to disappear. I run my hand over it and wish that she could be here scratching me again. It is almost impossible to believe that she’ll never do that again.

I miss my kitty. She was my beautiful, wonderful cat, and part of me feels like I will never quite feel whole again. I’m still not quite sure what I’ll do without her. All I know is I don’t think anyone will ever love me quite so much.