My sweet lit­tle grey cat, Sputnik,* is so very close to failing.

He has been with me since 1989. He looked at me so soul­fully from the cat ken­nels in Tucson at the Humane Society, and when I lifted him out he clung des­per­ately to me. His claws hurt, and it did not matter.

Of course. Yes. This one. Of course.

He and Mira used to chase each other all over the house. Furry lit­tle pain in the ass. He loves gar­lic, olive oil, marinera sauce — strange lit­tle almost-​​vegetarian cat. Puts his Egyptian pointy head under the sink tap when you turn it on, soak­ing his furry lit­tle skull before he gets his drink. Beads of water jewel on his grey nose when he is done, and he relaxes, wet and content.

He loves to tuck in beside me on the sofa, just bur­row­ing down, and cud­dle. Or crawl under the sheets and curl up, warm and alive, by my chest, his strong lit­tle grace­ful cat heart beat­ing next to my big clumsy mon­key one.

I’m going to hold him, I’m going to be there when it hap­pens. I have to be. He has been there for me so often, for so many years, even when we lost Mira.

He went around the house for days after­ward, call­ing for her, look­ing for her.

I am so tired of lov­ing and being aban­doned. I am so tired of this deep, wrench­ing sor­row. I am so tired of the incon­solable tears.

I know; I know. We are ephemeral crea­tures; attach­ment is loss. Sorrow is part of the nature of life. It is some­thing we all have to face, and I have faced it, and I know I’ll get throught it as I always have. But Christ on the fuck­ing tree, I am so tired of it all.

And any­one who says “It’s just a cat” is inhuman.

My lit­tle grey kitty, who crooks under my arm and looks up at me from time to time for no rea­son — just to see if I’m there — he is going to die in my arms, prob­a­bly before sum­mer starts.

Probably before February ends.

I do not know how I can do this. But I must. I must be there for him.

My cat, my kitty, my sweet lit­tle pooter noot. My lit­tle bed biscuit.

Sputnik, my cat

Oh kitty, you’ve been there so long for me, eigh­teen years, and I know you are so tired, and I love you so much.

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* The name means “Fellow-​​traveler”.

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