A Beautiful Cat
Into That Good Night
Our resident muse suddenly took ill and the vet could hardly hold back his tears as he tried to tell me just how bad things were. Tabby was at least fifteen years old, a kitten that had never grown up, and hid her problems well until the very last days. We’d been through the sadness of an aging cat before, but thought she had at least a couple more years of good life ahead of her. The vet went to call Steve and tell him what was going on and I sat in the examination room cuddling my poor tired dying cat and cried my heart out.
Waiting for me to join her
We are in that grief/change shadowland that comes with loss of a pet and all their routines and quirks. I awoke at dawn and there was no shadow of a cat in the hallway, where she’d wait for us to get up. It was eerily quiet when I made coffee, without needing to first give her a few treats to quiet her while Steve was still sleeping. It was too quiet and lonely when I sat down on the sofa with the coffee and she didn’t hop up next to me, warm, affectionate, and purring madly. She’s not sitting in my spot anymore when I come into the room.
What's not to love?
There is a lot of cleaning going on, as now we can give Steve’s allergies a break (insofar as the cat contributed to them). While washing towels and blankets I broke down sobbing at the sight of the last washcloth I used to wipe down her fur after brushing her. She loved those brushings and we had a set routine for them, on top of the table in the laundry area in the basement. When we finished I’d give her a few treats and then deal with her litter box. I won’t miss the litter box, or all the cat hair all over the place despite the brushings. I’ll miss her companionship, though. If I needed an afternoon nap, I’d call “Cat nap!” and she’d hop up and join me. We were pals that way. A knitting project guaranteed her full attention and “help”. And she knew how to get me to take a break from the computer, too, or at least to scratch her chin with one hand and use the mouse in the other.
Tabby was Steve’s cat, as well, and they had their own routines. She sought him out for bits of cheese and protection during thunderstorms, for being held like a baby or a bit of rough play, and for rides on any furniture with wheels. And she was a most willing subject for his photographs, mugging for the camera and striking poses in beautiful light and shadows. I spent a couple of hours going through his archives and found so many wonderful photos of the cat both as a compositional element and as sheer Tabby-ness.
We loved her, and we had to let her go. Rest in peace, Tabby.
The End of a Beautiful Cat