Buna – 1985-2004
As you know, the aged feline has been ill for quite a while – chronic renal failure, and more recently pancreatitis and cat-flu. Yesterday morning, the time came to say goodbye, to avoid further suffering and send him on his way. Having a pet put to sleep is one of the most horrible decisions we’ve ever had to make. There are a million what ifs ‘what if he gets better? it might just be the flu’ ‘what if the injection meant to end it actually causes him pain?’ ‘what if…’ loads of questions, and a very short time in which to make a life changing, or life-ending, decision.
Way too short when you think about it. We’d talked about it, but weren’t in anyway prepared for the reality of saying goodbye. The poor chap had been in pretty dreadful shape for over a week, since we got back from Edinburgh. struggling to walk, struggling to breath through his nose, hardly eating and drinking, losing weight. And the blood and urine tests showed that he was failing internally too.
No longer strong enough to jump onto a bed, I pulled a mattress onto the floor so he didn’t sleep alone. When it came to it he went peacefully and quickly. We held him and cried. And cried some more.
Losing any pet is horrible. Losing a house-cat moreso than most as he was ever-present. Wandering into my lessons when teaching, sleeping on the floor behind me when working, shouting at me for food when I’m trying to record a new album. Sitting on the bed from about 9pm onwards wandering when he was going to get some company. The house is eerily quiet without him, and neither of us can really believe it. A floorboard creaks – is that him? a door moves – was that him meowing? It’ll be a while before I get used to the lack of cat-activity in the house.
The loss of a pet brings up all manner of theological questions about animals and heaven – I can’t bring myself to believe that death is the end in any way, really. It doesn’t make sense, and there certainly doesn’t seem to be any reason why it should be. There’s lots of stuff in the bible the indicates God’s care, concern and compassion for the entirity of creation, and it takes a fairly lunatic right-wing view of theology to argue that all that matters are humans (saw a letter to a magazine this week arguing that christians shouldn’t be concerned about the enviroment and animal rights, as God has bigger things to worry about… ironic really that so many trees were wasted printing such ill-thoughtout bullshit…)
So the little fella has moved on, and we’re left with four and a half years of fantastic memories, and not an inconsiderable number of stains on the carpet from puke and turd and whatever else the poor guy managed to do to turn the house into his own little shrine to long-term-ill-health. 19’s a good age for a cat, but that doesn’t really make it any easier to say farwell. I’ve owned a lot of cats through my life, and find it difficult to imagine a life without them, but I’ve never met one as characterful, friendly, benign or hilarious as The Aged Feline. He’ll be missed an enourmous amount.
Thanks for all your well-wishes to the little guy over the last couple of years. I’ve had emails from all over the place asking about his well-being and your concern means a great deal. Drink a toast in his name, stick on one of the ‘aged feline’ cds if you own them, and make a donation to your local animal shelter… and if you’re choosing a pet, don’t even think about buying one when there are so many abandoned ones in desperate need of a loving home…