And if I sit here quietly I can remember you again

Friday night was just like any other Friday, except son was home for a few days. I was tired from a hard week at work and rested a bit on my bed before making dinner, surrounded by the cats. They have never really more than barely accepted each other, so I wasn´t surprised when they hissed at each other. I picked up Maya from the bed and realized she was wet. Had she finally become too old and incontinent? I looked at my hand and it was blood.

We ended up at the vet´s 45 minutes later, and she seemed fine. Walking around the examination room, sniffing out the strange smells. But then she started bleeding again, seemingly painless, but I knew something was seriously wrong, So when they sedated here for a thorough examination and didn´t return for over 40 minutes, I was prepared. And still I wasn´t.

Maya has been more faithful to me than any man in my life. She has been there all the time, through thick and thin, good and bad,  and the only living thing that has been close to me for a longer period is my son.

When you have had an animal in your care for almost 17 years, seen her grow from a kitten to a  grumpy but very characterful old lady – you know you will have to say goodbye at some point, and probably sooner than later. But I was not prepared. Maya has been healthy all her life, and she has loved her ham and shrimp to the end, jumping up on the kitchen counter and playing with her toys. Yes, she has been a bit more tired, maybe even a bit less grumpy, recently -but she loved being brushed and getting a good scratch as always and there was no sign of illness – so when the vet told me she was seriously ill it was a shock. And I was not prepared to let her go through any painful treatments after a long cat-life being totally healthy.

I held her paw and stroke her velvety black fur to the end, in a darkened room with a very supportive vet. And then I left with an empty carrier-bag.

And I miss her terribly.

I still shout out when I come home, and I look for her when I lie on the couch (her favorite place in the apartment), I think I need to get rid of her cat-bed-tower, because it was her domain only. And I keep wondering if I made the right decision to let her go.

The first 7-8 years of her life she was part outdoor-cat (I had a boyfriend with a house and garden), but she had no problem being an indoor-cat after that. She was a real cat, with the look and behavior of a mini-panther. She was tough, but she was also the best comfort when I was sad. I could bury my face in her black fur and have a good cry while she lay still and purred. A true friend.

I will be okay again. But not yet. Right now there is a hole in my heart in the shape of a paw.