Spike and then Oliver

I have had wonderful cats share their lives with me for the last 50 years. Though I grew up with dogs and have had some great dogs in my adult life, I have well and truly become enamored of cats. 

We got Spike 11 years ago, a year or so after we moved to Belfast. A neighbor had taken in his mother,  a stray who then had 5 adorable black and white kittens. Spike was a wee one when we brought him home. Spunky, bold, and a bit silly. 

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He was always full of mischief, pushing things off tables, knocking Neals glasses under the bd at night, making us laugh.

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He was  wonderful cat. Then quite suddenly in April he started losing weight and wouldnt eat. Our spunky lively cat became lethargic and we feared each day we would lose him. The vet thought he was hyperthyroid and put him on medication. He rallied for a few days then declined again. Throughout his illness he remained loving, wanting to be with us, to be on my lap, purring and wanting to be petted. The day came when we knew he was not going to get better. Our once 25 pound cat was down to 11 pounds and still losing weight and not eating. We and the vet agreed there was no kindness in continuing to keep him alive. He died May 12.

Pets bring so much joy to our lives, give us something outside of ourselves to love and care for and reward us with love and fun. The awful thing is that their lives are so much shorter than ours so a life with pets is also a life with death and loss.

Our other cat, Roscoe, is 5 years younger than Spike. He came into our lives following the death of another cat - we have pretty much always had 2. He had never been an only cat. Roscoe adored Spike, though that love was a bit unrequited. He used to walk around “talking” to Spike all the time — the most talky cat I have ever known. When Spike died, Roscoe was lost. He became silent. After a couple of weeks, we decided we should get a kitten, as much for Roscoe as for us.

And so Oliver came into our lives.

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He is all black and his eyes have become a beautiful gold, almost amber. We brought him home from the shelter and when we opened the carrier, he strode out and began his take-over of the house.

He adores Roscoe. Roscoe mostly tolerates him. But Roscoe is also less depressed. He has changed, he is a different cat from the way he was when Spike was alive. The vet tells us that sometimes when cats mourn, they sort of forget how they used to be and show permanent changes in behavior. Roscoe has gone from a very vocal cat to a mostly silent — except for hissing and growling when Oliver gets annoying — cat. And h seeks attention from me far more often, content to be on my lap and purring for long periods of time.

An older cat sickens and dies. A kitten moves in. The wheel turns. We all change. It is life.


© Cheryl Fuller, 2016. All  rights reserved.