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Posts Tagged ‘cats’

For 18 years we had at least one cat. We got them as kittens in 1993, shortly after we returned from Thailand, and almost immediately after we had moved into our new house. This house. One of the things that made me feel that the house was right for me was a cat lying in the sun in the window when we first visited. Cleo and Gershwin were good cats. They tolerated being fed at different hours in the evening, we had a fake Christmas tree every year and the worst they did to it was redistribute one or two ornaments on the floor overnight, and they never destroyed our curtains or furniture. Gershwin had a drooling problem, and Cleo liked to tap the bedroom door to be let in starting at about 6 am, but these were minor issues, and we loved them.

Gershwin gave up the ghost when we were in Malaysia on holiday in 2010, and we had Cleo alone for almost another year. The house seemed empty without them. They were part of so much of our lives. They saw us through good times, and comforted us during bad. When they died, we took some time. We had been travelling at least once a year, and wanted to continue to do that without worrying too much about putting cats into a cattery every time. With two, it got expensive, even though all the different catteries cheated and put them both together (which was never ideal), and they always took time to adapt when they got home. Anyway, we took a break from cats.

After our six month Middle Eastern/European trip in 2013, it might have been a good time to get cats again, as it led into quite a long period of no big trips. We didn’t know this would happen at the time, of course, but I had some health issues, we had a lot of eldercare issues both in this city and elsewhere, I broke my ankle, and then there was a pandemic! So it could have been a decent time to still have cats.

Post-pandemic, and now with no responsibilities keeping us here, we hope to have a few years of intensive travelling, but we don’t know yet if that will even be possible. After that though we might be able to get a cat or two – but the fact that they can live till they’re close to 20 means that they are a big commitment. And their care issues become much more complicated in their later years. Would I cope? Would I be able to have cats if we (or one of us) had to move? After all, in 20 years time, we will (if we’re lucky) be in our later years too. What if new cats weren’t as easy as Cleo and Gershwin?

We’ve always said we’d like to have cats again. (Funnily, two days after I’d written the first draft of this post, we passed a pet store and my husband suggested we go in and look at the kittens.) I miss having cats around the house. There’s nothing like having a cat in my lap, or snuggled up next to me on the bed or the couch, or purring loudly curled up in a box behind my desk when I am here blogging. There are real mental health benefits to having pets too, especially as we age. Sigh. I am definitely a cat person. But I’m a bit worried. Have I missed my cat window? I hope not.

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Goodbye Gershwin

On Tuesday morning, suffering from jetlag, my body telling me it was only 4 am in Malaysia, I drove to the cattery where we had left Cleo and Gershwin for their annual holiday. But I drove with only one cage in the back seat of the car. Whilst in Malaysia, we learned that Gershwin had made it into 2010, turned 17, then went to sleep and didn’t wake up.

We knew it was coming, and so I was okay when I was told. Gershwin had been diagnosed with advanced renal failure about six or seven months ago, so we’d discussed arrangements with the cattery before we left. The cattery was to bury him, under the trees, in their peaceful green valley. But we hadn’t really expected it would happen in the two weeks we were away.

Driving home though, with Cleo crying plaintively and alone in the back seat, I realised we would both be forever without Gershwin’s quiet presence. And I cried too.

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