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Thursday, March 12, 2009
My cat died yesterday.

I know that with all the death around me lately, I shouldn't be quite so upset. Perhaps my emotional reserves have been exhausted by the litany of bad news. Perhaps I'm so upset because this is the first time I've ever been present when one of my pets were euthanized. Maybe I'm just confronting mortality for the first time in all its brutal indifference to human sentiment and human need.

I feel ashamed for having wept so much. It's just a cat, I keep telling myself. We have lots of animals and there's bound to be a lot more of these. But I can't help it. I don't want death to ever be all right. I don't want to become inured to it. I always want it to hurt this much, or more than this much.

I try to think about good thoughts. Mathilda had a bewitching personality. She was demanding and playful and more than a little insane. She used to roll around exposing her belly and then get mad when you touched said belly. She was obsessed with chasing little fake mice. She yelled at you all the time for any reason and no reason. She loved eating by herself but wouldn't eat behind a locked door, so we had to start locking all the other cats in the office at feeding time. She had strange fixations that would last for a time and then disappear, like hiding in the hall closet for six months and then never going back in there again. I wondered at her strangeness. She was a puzzle I never really solved, and now I never will.

I also think about how sick she was over the past several weeks, how pathetically she mewled at us in the car on the way to the vet, how suddenly still she went at the end. It was so hard to walk out of that room knowing I'd never see her again. I knew she was gone, but it was difficult to accept nonetheless.

I'm making too much out of this, I know. It's insulting to everyone whose lost parents and friends and lovers. It's just a cat. She wasn't even really my cat - she was Brazen Hussy's. But I suppose ought doesn't always imply is, because I'm distraught all the same, and angry that half of her life was stolen from her and from us by cruel chance. I can see my way to resignation with my head, but not my heart.

Mathilda was just a cat, but we loved her, and we miss her very much.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 3:46 PM
  • When my husband and I had to put our dog to sleep a few years ago, he cried like a baby. He had never gone through such an ordeal, having to make the decision and then being there when Duke died. It was really hard for him.

    Don't feel bad for grieving the loss of Matilda. It is a part of your life.

    By Blogger Seeking Solace, at 4:40 PM  
  • You're not making too much of it, and it's not insulting to anyone. The animals we bring into our lives are a big part of our lives. And when they are gone, there is a big hole in our lives. There is no competition between animal and human, we are capable of loving both. Otherwise, why do we have them? And when we lose a loved one, we grieve.

    I am so very sorry for this new loss in your family. I've been there, so I know how hard it is. But coming on top of your recent losses must make it that much more difficult to bear. I truly hope this is the last of hard knocks for the two of you and that you can both soon begin to put your heartache behind you.

    By Blogger Rebecca, at 4:53 PM  
  • Mathilda sounds like a lovely lady. She'll be with you as long as you honor her life and memory. Give yourself a break, and grieve. That's honoring her life as well.

    By Blogger Belle, at 6:17 PM  
  • I'm so sorry. She wasn't "just" a cat, she was a friend and part of your life, and even if you get other cats, you'll still remember her with fondness. (I still remember my first cat, who died when I was around 9.) Hugs to you and BH.

    By Blogger kermitthefrog, at 7:26 PM  
  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Suzanne, at 8:42 PM  
  • I'm sorry.

    Loss is always loss, no matter how great or small. How can we really quantify it?

    Take care. And take good care of Brazen Hussy!

    By Blogger Sisyphus, at 9:04 PM  
  • hugs to you both, agreeing with all.... take care

    By Blogger JustMe, at 12:24 AM  
  • I'm so sorry to hear about Mathilda. Our dog was just diagnosed with bladder cancer. She's on chemo now, but the prognosis isn't good. Just thinking about the day when we might have to euthanize her is enough to make me cry. So don't feel ashamed for grieving...they may be "just pets" but they're our family. My deepest sympathies to both you and Brazen Hussy.

    By Blogger Mad Hatter, at 1:36 AM  
  • You're not making too much of it at all. In my mind, there's no "just" when it comes to death. It doesn't matter if it's a sibling, friend, or animal - losing those we love is always difficult.


    By Blogger comebacknikki, at 11:41 AM  
  • Yes, it is absolutely that hard. And you can't compare it to mourning people. It is just... different. And sometimes it is a way some of us process our more 'significant' losses. But even without that, it is just very, very sad. She had a lovely life with you and BH. Remember that, and remember all those silly little quirks. Those will stay with you and help you smile someday. Promise!

    By Blogger Ursa, at 10:56 AM  
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