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.
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.
* The name means “Fellow-traveler”.
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