Today I am grieving. We put our cat, CC, down yesterday. It was very hard and still feels really raw.
To open your life and heart to a pet is a very vulnerable and intimate thing. They love you and depend on you, and you come to depend on them too, to greet you, to be happy to see you, to love being near you, even to give you a reason to get out of bed some days. They see you in the moments that no one else does: the everyday and mundane, the scary moments, the heartbreak, the celebrations, the sicknesses. They become part of the fabric of your daily life. Petty things like money, status, reputation, pride don’t matter to them. They love you anyway even when you feel unlovable. What a great thing to have a pet, a friend, a family member.
But we only get a few years with them. A lot of them wonderful, but some harder as they age. Their reminder of the inevitably of life and death is harsh and bittersweet. You always want more; more play time, more happy purrs or tail-wags, more funny and sweet moments, more pets.
CC was a really sweet cat. I didn’t grow up with cats and have never had a particular fondness for them, but when I married Aron, I got CC too. She used to drive me nuts. She’d wake me up in the middle of the night. If we tried locking her out of our room, she’d put her paw under the door and shake the whole door until I gave up and let her in. She chewed on only my flip-flops, never Aron’s. We’ve always joked that she saw me as her nemesis because I came in and stole Aron’s attention from her. I still think that’s partly true, but I think she also sensed my similar uneasiness towards her.
We grew accustomed to each other. She got used to me, and would even come to me for attention. She knew I wouldn’t grab her and pick her up like Aron would, so she’d come to me when she wanted love but still enough space to feel she had freedom. I’d dangle strings for her and try to love on her when Aron was unavailable.
Since being a stay-at-home wife, though, I feel like we developed a special bond, and I’m thankful we had that time. She got used to me being around during the day when the house used to be her domain to reign over in our absence. We had a lot of sweet moments lately, just her and I. Every time I made fish, she’d come running out, and I give her a couple of small pieces. And a couple of weeks ago, I stayed in bed most of the morning because I wasn’t feeling well, and she came to sit with me. I thought it was because I was eating sardines, but even after they were gone, she just laid by me for another hour or so, purring without me even having to pet her.
I still can’t believe she’s not here. Every small movement out of the corner of my eye has me looking for her. We’ve reminisced about the fun, happy CC memories. When she jumped off the balcony to get away from someone. When we put scotch tape on her foot and she moved at lightning speed to try to kick it off. The way she used to bully the dogs and they were afraid of her despite being several times her size. We lost her too early, and we feel cheated.
Part of me feels like we let her down. Didn’t feed her the right food. Didn’t care for her enough. She was never sick, so we never took her to the vet, really. The night she got sick, beforehand, we could tell something was up with her but couldn’t figure it out. Could we have acted sooner? Now, after doing some reading, I realize that being a senior cat, we should have been taking her in for yearly checkups checking her blood-work and doing a urine analysis. If we had, they probably would have caught something that was off earlier, and we could have started treating sooner. But you don’t know what you don’t know. And there’s nothing we can do now. It’s really hard to see a little creature you’ve shared a home with for 10 years deteriorate so quickly, no longer like herself.
I had a dream the night before we put her down that I was petting CC. I petted her back and her belly and she was purring, happy. She was just like CC always was: sweet and affectionate, happy and playful. I’m thankful for her sweet little life and her happy purr. And I’ve loved watching Aron love her. Everyday he would hold her. She was his baby. We love her.