The loss of a pet

Ok, I know this isn’t really Christmas related, but it’s about an important member of our family, and as a family run business, it’s connected.  Plus I need to get my feelings down somewhere, so please bear with me.

About ten years ago, we decided we wanted a cat.  The children were growing up and I felt we would all benefit from having someone else in the family.  So we went to The Blue Cross, and fell for a lovely elderly ginger cat which others weren’t interested in as he had ongoing health issues.  I’m a sucker for an underdog, so we agreed to rehome him.

Before we could take him, he needed to recover from cat flu.  It was going to be a bit of a long haul, so they suggested we choose again.  That’s how we found Sparky, a beautiful all black four year old girl who looked like she’d had babies at some point.  We never did find out her past and how she’d found herself at The Blue Cross.  She was cautious around us and didn’t like being picked up, but purred so loudly when fussed.  I knew we had to take her home.

She was quite a character.  She dealt with several house moves, regularly brought ‘gifts’ to us (I remember one time we practically dismantled our dining room trying to locate a mouse) and loved nothing better than ‘helping’ us put our tent up in the back garden by jumping on the guy ropes and scrabbling about underneath it.

I had quite a few nights crying on the stairs because she hadn’t come home, only to later discover she had adopted another family on the next street and stayed over when she fancied.  She eventually became a house cat (I couldn’t cope with the stress of her wandering off) even though she had made friends with just about every school kid who passed our house each day.  She loved sitting on the window ledge, watching the world go by and reminiscing about her days of adventures.

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed that she wasn’t really eating.  We tried her with cat treats and she was struggling to swallow them.  So, we took her to the vets where they tried to investigate.  She’s always been a feisty girl, and wasn’t letting them go anywhere near her mouth, so they gave her a painkiller, handed over some medicine and told us to bring her back if she didn’t improve.  That evening she wolfed down three packs of cat food.  We assumed we were through the worst, but once the medicine ran out she went back to not eating.

We were left with two choices, call it quits or sedate and investigate further.  As you can imagine, this was not a choice I wanted to make.  At 14 she was an older lady in cat years, should we try the investigate route knowing it could just cause her more suffering?  Distraught, as a family we decided to give her a chance, even if it was slim.

Yesterday we took her for her investigative procedure.  I feared the worst as she cuddled on me, purring loudly.  Right to the end she was an affectionate and loving friend to me.  You wouldn’t have known, looking at her then, that she had a large growth filling her mouth and causing her pain.  There were no chances left, so we said an emotional goodbye to our beloved girl and she quietly passed away on the back seat of our car.

I feel so lost without her.  This morning, in that half awake daze, I honestly thought she had come into our bedroom, asking for her breakfast.  I walk past her food bowl and the sadness hits me all over again, but I can’t put it away.  I’m not ready to forget about her, she was such a huge part of our lives.

I feel guilt for all the times she wanted to jump up on my knee but I was busy.  I would give anything for just one more cuddle with her.  She always came to me when I was upset, instinctively knowing when I needed her love.  My heart is broken and I need my friend to tell me it’s all going to be ok.  Except she’s not here anymore.


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