The passing of pets

Close up of cat paws

It’s so hard to believe that it’s been a year since our beloved Siamese cat, Flurry, died. He and his sister, Flicka, came into our lives after our flame-point Siamese, Slinky, passed away 13 years ago, and our other cat, Cadbury, remained. That’s been the pattern over the past 25 years. Begin with a couple of kittens, love them like crazy until one eventually becomes sick or passes from old age, and then get another two kittens, so that the solo cat doesn’t have to be alone and the two “new” cats can fill the void when the older remaining cat dies.

When Flurry was very ill, and after booking and cancelling and then rebooking the euthanasia for the fourth time, Dr. Karen came to our home. There, with Flurry peacefully on our daughter Chloe’s lap, the veterinarian administered a tranquilizer shot and then gently helped Flurry pass. We had agonized about the euthanasia being done at home (never had before), thinking that we would forever be upset when walking past the area in our living room where Chloe and Flurry were. Actually, it was the best decision we made. We didn’t have to get him into the cat crate (difficult at the best of times), drive to the vet, put him on the sterile table and then drive back home. Instead, we were able to be together as a family with Flurry to see him off, and then to grieve openly when he was gone.

Now, after 25 years and two sets of cats (plus Earl Gray who came to live with us when Chloe returned from university, and then left with him when she moved downtown), and my late mom’s dog, Buddy, who lived with us for four years, after my mom passed, we are thinking of doing things differently. Last year, this time, we were three adults living in the house with three cats. Now, there’s just my husband and me with one cat. Flicka is 13 years old. Instead of getting another two kittens to fill the void when she passes, we’ve decided to break the pattern.

We’re at the stage of life where, free of the responsibility of taking care of children, and not yet grandparents, we want to travel without worry about who will feed our cat or change the litter box daily. We want to take a break from having to watch out for our indoor-only cat every time we open a door to the outside (or a guest does). We want to take a break from searching for her favourite brand of cat food every time the ingredients change or the company stops making the flavour she loves (cats are so finnicky). We know that we will absolutely miss the calm that takes over when a cat is curled on our laps, purring contentedly and will surely miss the familiar Siamese meow when we’re greeted at the door.

I’m not sure how long this notion of ultimately being pet free for a few years, at least, will last, and I hope that Flicka has several more years with us, but that’s where we’re at right now.