The last week has been a tough one. For me and particularly for Fluffy. Losing a pet – even in the most peaceful way – is traumatic. Even if we know that euthanasia is an expression of love, the final gift we can give our suffering loved ones, it is hard. One always asks ‘did I do the right thing?’ ‘Would his condition have improved if I had waited?’ and so on. But ultimately you do often know when it is time.
Paddy was a good age – 19 years old. His had been a long goodbye. He had a disease that can be controlled with medication but worsens with time (hyperthyroidism). I knew it was coming because he is the second cat I have had with this condition. And he went in the best way possible. At home in his favourite spot.
But after spending 19 years with an animal, you are used to them being in their favourite places. Their presence is everywhere. Their food still in the cupboard, their pills on the dresser, their fur all over the place (who knew it could bring such sadness, rather than the usual irritation), their favourite blanket in their special sunny spot by the window.
The expected pain is not the worst. What is the worst is when you are not thinking about it and suddenly you feel the echoing emptiness of where they once were. When you prepare a meal and they are not there beside you looking hopeful. When you bath and they are not waiting to drink out of the tap. When they don’t wake you up for their breakfast by batting your face. When they are not waiting for you when you get home.
Yesterday I was in the supermarket and out of habit ended up in the aisle that held Paddy’s favourite food. Just seeing those tins made my heart hurt so much I almost could not stand it. I don’t suppose that people who do not like animals could understand how it hurts so much.
Even that, however is manageable. But watching the pain of the companion left behind is hardest to bear. Fluffy has not eaten in four days. He is searching and lonely. He keeps running fast across the apartment, hoping to lure Paddy to chase him, which he always did. They used to play a lot. I am not a worthy replacement, sadly. And I cannot be there all the time, as Pads was.
I had intended to wait about a month before looking for a new kitten. To let the pain subside and us to get used to things first. That was the length we waited when we got Fluffy for Paddy. A month felt about right. My heart was not quite ready but Paddy definitely was, because within three days they were the firmest of friends.
So, a month it was to be. But this morning someone contacted me about a little male kitten that needed a home. It looked identical to Fluffy as a kitten. And oh my, how cute!
So, last night we brought home the newest member of our family. To be called Ziggy!
Our departed furry family will always remain in our hearts. New friends will never ever replace them – EVER. But it does help take the pain away just a little.
He is the tiniest purriest kitten I have ever seen. And he made himself right at home. Fluffy didn’t even hiss at him and has been following him everywhere.