Musings from the padded room

söndag 6 mars 2011

Another candle to be lit

Today I received some sad news. Another one of my parents' cats has died.

My mother called me yesterday, asking what she should do with their cat Lukas (although my mother always insisted it was spelled 'Lucas'). He had acted strange since the day before yesterday, walking around meowing loudly and licking his fur frenetically. He'd also started picking fights with their other cat, seemingly for no good reason. From what it sounded like when she described it, it seemed like he was a bit frustrated, maybe annoyed because of the winter fur shedding. My mother described it almost as if he was behaving like he was in heat. The thing is, he was neutered around the time he turned 1 year old. Either way, it didn't sound all that serious. He ate and drank as he should, and used the litter box. I suggested she call the vet if she was really worried but it sounded like either he'd gotten lice or was just annoyed at the shedding. This morning when my mother got up from bed she made sure he ate and drank and gave him his vitamins, which he ate without any fuss. In other words, he seemed no different from his usual self.

Which is why it came as such a shock when my father called me earlier today, his voice choked, to ask if I knew where mother was working today since he needed to talk to her. I asked what it was about and he said something horrible had happened.

Apparently he had walked into the living room during the early afternoon and found Lukas dead. I don't have any details as of yet and my mother asked me not to call today since she'd only be crying in the phone.

Lukas was a great cat. He was big, weighing close to 9-10 kg. A big black lump of attitude and cuddles. He had firm opinions, much like any cat, but could always be reasoned with, at least to a certain limit. He was my mother's cat for the most part. She was the one he clung to, always staying close to her whenever he wasn't out hunting whatever thing he believed he'd be able to catch. Many a night they spent with my mother brushing his fur while he was oozing out over her bedspread in a mass of perfectly relaxed cathood.

Despite his obvious favouritism of my mother (which might also be because I was usually the one doing the bad stuff, like forcing him to eat his anti-parasite pill or cutting his claws) he was still a very special cat to me as well. I was there when he was born. For the whole evening and a bit into the night I stayed by the box his mother was in when giving birth, and soothed her when she got agitated. I slept fitfully, always attentive to her every noise and movement. And then they were born, one black and one grey/white little ball of cuteness. I saw Lukas and his brother, Maximus, open their eyes, learn to walk steadily and shortly thereafter raise hell with their weary but strict mother keeping a sharp eye on them. And then as he grew up to become the huge but mellow bundle of purring fur that he was up until today.

I will sorely miss him, just like I am still missing the other cats we've loved and lost: Lukas' grandmother Mia, his grand uncle Kim, his older brothers Bilbo, White nose and Grey nose and his younger brother Rufus; my sister's cats, the sisters Tiger and Doris. All I can do now, though, is hope that wherever they are now, be it Heaven, the Rainbow bridge or just gone, they are not suffering and that they knew, during their always too short time here on earth, how much I and my family loved them.

While most of us walk into it with open eyes, knowing we will one day have to part from our beloved pets, nothing can ever dull that pain when the animals leave us behind to mourn them. No matter how well prepared one thinks one is, it still hurts like one's heart is being ripped in two.

My thoughts go out to my parents and the one cat that is left to wonder where his friend, his half-brother, has gone. And I will mourn on my own, with my own cats for support.

And when All Hallow's eve comes around this year, Lukas' candle will join the others burning in my home in remembrance of the persons, humans and pets alike, that have passed on. And I will cling to the hope that Lukas's will be the only candle joining the others this year.

Rest in Peace, big little Lukas!

We will miss you!

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