This weekend was a very sad weekend. We had to put down one of our cats.
It was this guy:
Aka the Butter Thief. Aka Fatass. Hairball. The Jerk.
I had terrible names for him and often (read: always) hated the amount of vacuuming I had to do because of him (despite using the Furminator), but nothing could have prepared me for the profound loss I feel.
In January, when the Mulletville Lite vet removed a cancerous tumor from his side, he said the cancer had metastasized. He gave him six months to live. I should feel grateful he lived five months longer than he was supposed to, but I don't. He was only 10.
My heart is broken.
So is his sister's. She's been staring at the yard, waiting for him to come back for dinner.
Before I had children, I would spend entire Sundays curled up on the couch with the cat. He was warm, fluffy and malleable. When you are in your mid-twenties and have a day to spend on your couch watching movies, nothing compares to having 25 pounds of purring fur stuck to your side.
Years later, after Chuck and I got married, he would spoon Chuck in bed. I'd literally wake up to find the two embraced like lovers.
In the last two months, the cat's health went downhill quickly. Once plump and lazy, he became thin and lazier. On Saturday, it was clear he was in a great deal of pain. I crouched down next to him. Pet him. Said good-bye.
Chuck came back from the vet an hour later. With the cat in the trunk.
That was...unexpected. Especially when Junior wanted to see what the big deal was. (Ever try to say one more good-bye to your dead cat in the trunk while your four-your-old is yelling, "Can I see? Can I see?" If you have, please email me. I'd love to hear how you handled it.)
We buried the cat at the edge of the yard. We said a prayer. The stone we chose as a marker looks like a crouching gray cat; over the last few days I've looked out the window quickly and tricked myself into believing it's him.
I want to hold him again. I want to have a whole Sunday to curl up with him. I want to take back every time I shooed him out of the kitchen because he wanted to eat again (who cares if he was fat?).
I want to lay my head on his belly and hear his deep purring.
Now that you're thoroughly saddened (or laughing at me for bawling uncontrollably about a cat), I want to share a piece of a poem I have loved since college. It's by Jane Kenyon, and it's a stanza in a poem entitled "Having it Out with Melancholy." It reads:
6 IN AND OUT
The dog searches until he finds me
upstairs, lies down with a clatter
of elbows, puts his head on my foot.
Sometimes the sound of his breathing
saves my life -- in and out, in
and out; a pause, a long sigh. . . .