But this isn't a post from the cats. It's from the human. It's about me.
I was sharing a link on Facebook, and found myself writing way too much in the comment area. I realized most of my friends probably don't want to hear more about my cats. I shared the link and wrote a brief comment. But I still felt like writing out how I felt after reading this essay posted to The New York Times last night. It really touched me.
The headline is brilliant, by the way. It is: "We were kittens once, and young." The copy editor who wrote that is the real deal.
Anyway, there's so much to appreciate about this essay. It's about cats, so obviously that's something I can relate to. But this essay wasn't just about loving cats. Or understanding cats. Or "Oh, aren't cats so independent or funny, and don't they have so much personality!?"
It's about them dying.
I've experienced few pet deaths in my life; I wasn't allowed to have pets other than fish as a child. I took really good care of all my pet fish. When I was a youngster, I would stick a finger in the tank and try to "pet" them. They lived long fish lives.
When I met my husband, he already had two pet ferrets. They have what I consider to be short life spans. Peanut died suddenly. It was hard, and it was my first experience with losing a "real" pet. My cellphone ringtone at the time was "Minerva" by the Deftones - I will forever associate that song with the phone call from the vet at 4 a.m. telling us Peanut didn't make it through the night. Oh did I cry.
Fiona's death was peaceful. I came home from work one night and noticed she wasn't moving very well in her cage. We took her to the emergency vet, and they couldn't do much for her. We weren't with Peanut when she died, and I have felt guilty about that. So, we took Fiona home. My husband stayed home from work with the little girl the next day. She died in his arms. I wouldn't want it any other way.
"All of our cats are dying" is how the writer began her essay.
And mine will be, too, and I fear it will happen in what will feel like "all at once." This is something I've thought about in the past year, as the visits to the vet increase. I fear that in about five to eight years, I'm going to have a really tough five to eight years.
Bogdan is skinnier. He's had urinary problems. I have to watch his diet. But the most apparent indication of his age? He's not a jerk anymore. No, seriously.
He hated the other cats. He hated me. He seemed to hate everything. He's attacked friends and family members. He's bitten my nose, my lips, my hands, my feet! I used to have to warn people who came into my home to not get too close to him. I loved it. He was my little jerk. And I loved every second of it.
Next month he'll be 10 years old. Young by indoor-only cat standards, but I can see he's aging, and he's my first kitty cat. Watching him get older is getting harder.
As for the other kitties, Sara is 8, according to the rescue organization I got her from - but I think she is older; Kat3 just turned 7; Jeff is only about 4. Then there's the outdoor cats I've become attached to. I figure George and Toulouse are also about 4.
I know, their deaths are years and years off. I shouldn't worry about this now. But with George at the vet right now, recovering from a urinary blockage; with Kat3 sitting by me this morning wheezing away, making terrible noises because of the damage done to her nasal cavity when she was a stray kitten; with Toulouse coming home with another sore on her back Tuesday; and with Bogdan's coat starting to look like "old-man kitty fur" - I couldn't help but think that these little spirits, who have become essential to my being, won't be here forever.