Today was the third cat, the eldest (18 in October): the third cat to be put to sleep since the end of November. "That's the problem when you get a load of cats at once," my friend said, "They all go at once." Once again, down memory lane with Bev. Cats we had loved, and he wasn't even gone yet. I knew the time was soon, but when I went to my mam's this morning, I didn't think today was the day. But it was, and Phil took me because Big C was working and didn't know.
Today everything was deeply meaningful. Sounds odd, but you know what I mean: the last walk around the yard, the last cuddle, the last piece of chicken, the last time he'd be wrapped up in his orange blanket. "Phil is putting his shoes on," was said with deep meaning. Phil is putting his shoes on in readiness to take me to the vet. Walking out of my mam's house with him in my arms, knowing that was it for her and she'd never see him again, but I still had the journey and... And that: another thing unsaid. "I'll be one moment," said the vet (to get the needle: unsaid). "I think it's time," said the vet (to put him down: unsaid). "It's over," (he's dead: unsaid).
It's that inevitability we'd rather not think about, because thinking about that (death: unsaid) is headspinningly awful. It comes, it will come. It actually will come, as well, because there's no getting away from it, and we should be glad to have a chance to be alive, but sometimes you still wonder if it's all a bit of a joke.
People say when you mourn, "You're not thinking of him, you're thinking of yourself" which I think is a deeply unintelligent thing to say. You're thinking of everything, him (or her), yourself, other people past and present. I'd had that cat since I was 12. Starting high school, starting university, graduating, two rubbish boyfriends, and the man I'll marry one day. Another live link to the past severed, my own cat is dead, so yes, I am thinking about me. And I'm thinking of the happy little kitten who was never the same again after his brother died in November. The cat who ran across the room, jumped on my knee and put his paw on my shoulder when I was crying over a stupid bloke many years ago. The cat who played in the wind, got snowballs on his stomach in the winter, the only reason why I would ever handle chicken: to make him happy, and he was happy. The silly cat who grew so grumpy so fast this year. I'm thinking of him, as well. It's all ended for him, so of course I'm thinking of him. And that ridiculous question, "So where is he now?" which makes me cry even more so I'll stop writing.
We've had nine cats, and Lily remains. I know I'm lucky to have had nine cats, because I love cats, and some people haven't had that many.