petermorwood: (Basic Sword Pic)

Probably not news to many, but an unhappy surprise for me and for Diane. Abbie the cat will blog no more. I hadn't checked his blog for a while, and when I looked in a few minutes ago I found this...

It's like losing one of our cats all over again.

Rob (Abbie's Guy) wrote: I did not think it right to announce Abbie's condition in character...

It was enough of a wrench to read it as-is; as-Abbie would have hurt as much to read as it would have been for Rob to write. There was quirky spelling, odd punctuation, sage comments on life, great humour - and sometimes, as at the death of Martha his sister, a quiet melancholy that could comfort you while it broke your aching heart so the healing could begin. I've read that post for its comfort five times over the years since it was first posted.

I've just read it again for Abbie.

He was a Good Cat.
petermorwood: (Basic Sword Pic)
The white cat is gone, into the quiet earth beneath the hawthorn tree beside Kasha, and Lilith, and Bubble, and Pip, and Beemer, and Squeak.

Goodman was the last of our Old Brigade, the succession of amiable, fascinating feline personalities who've been with us almost since we started living in Ireland. Not having one of them in the house today feels very strange.

Richard brought him to our back door sixteen years ago, a small damp scrap of off-white fur he'd found stuffed into a hollow tree half-full of water and left to drown. Why our back door in particular?

“You’re the only people around here with cats as pets. Could you take him in? Or should I just knock him on the head as the kindest thing?”

Richard's a farmer, not given to being sentimental about animals, so he was just giving us the practical option - but by then the damp scrap had climbed onto my shoulder, and that’s where he fell asleep.

End of discussion.

Goodman had lots of adventures, including some very silly ones like catching a leveret, discovering baby hares with nothing to lose are FIERCE and not knowing what to do next. (We rescued him, took it back into the field and after being threatened ourselves, let it go.)

Then there was the time he tried catching a duck and came back green to the waterline. All we needed was some gold food-colouring and he would have been the star of St Patrick’s Day. Some fur from the ginger tomcat up the hill would have done it too; there were frequent exchanges of opinion that Goodman always won.

And there was the time he caught and somehow choked down an entire coot. We thought he’d been poisoned and took him to our vet, who couldn’t stop laughing when he showed us the X-ray: beak, neck, feet, the lot, all crammed inside. Mineral oil and time put things right, and Mr Goodman was rather less greedy from then on.

Today it was time to help Goodman leave a body that was old and tired and failing, and move on to a new one. So I lifted him onto my shoulder where he’d been sixteen years ago.

And like the first time we met, that’s where he fell asleep.

He was our friend. They were our friends.

Good-night, kitty. Good-night, all.

(This little eulogy is also here on Tumblr, with some photos.)

petermorwood: (First Form Mug Shot)
Two years ago it was for Squeak, and I didn't post anything either before or after. I was so wretched that words wouldn't work even though they're the tools of my trade, because it was the first time in 11 years we had to play a role in what happens. Accidents are a shock, but they mean you don't have to make That Decision.

Tomorrow morning the call will be for Goodman, to grant him easy passage to be with all the friends who’ve gone before. He’s 16, his kidneys have been failing, the meds aren’t working any more and it’s as if he waited for Diane to come home from her business trip to London then stopped holding on. He faded away this past week, and now it’s time for the last kindness, though doing it still hurts.

When Goodman’s gone, there won’t be any cats in the house for the first time in 25 years. That’s going to hurt too; there was always at least one waiting to be petted and give us a comforting purr when we came back from the sad place under the hawthorn tree. Not now. The place is going to be very quiet.

We’ll adopt kittens in a while (assuming none arrive on the doorstep as happened with Squeak, Beemer, Bubble and Pip) but not straight away. It would seem overhasty, disrespectful, like doing no more than plug a gap.

Besides, if some, never mind all, of D’s business trip comes to pass it may mean we won’t have time. We’ll be very happy if it works out.

I wish we could be happy now.

P.

April 2017

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