It’s a somber night in the house of Goose, and yet…
Well, tonight is a tough night. The cat my parents have had since I was 17 is not long for this world. He’s a beautiful shelter cat who was eight when my parents got him, and is now the ripe old age of 25. What cat lives to be 25?? This one, evidently, and his name is Loial.
Loial is no longer the strong specimen you see in the photo above. In the last few weeks, he’s lost most of his body weight, and in the last several days, he’s stopped cleaning himself. Today, he decided he’s done eating and drinking, and I imagine it won’t be long before he’s eating the new catfood at the banquet table in Glory.
I love this cat, and because I love him, I’m ready for him to go. Well, mostly ready. It’s always hard to say goodbye.
The hardest part of this, though, is that the Goose is very attached to Loial. He’s been very good to her, allowing her to put things on his back (blankets, aprons, Peter Francis) with minimal protest. Nothing seems to delight her as much as when Peter Francis Giraffee is riding on Loial’s back around the kitchen.
The Goose was recently sick with a flu, and ever since, she’s been especially sensitive to the word “sick”. This has left a predicament in how to explain Loial’s decline. I don’t want her to think that “sick” means “go away forever”, but she’s not old enough to understand what the words “Loial is leaving forever” mean.
One day, she’ll understand, and that future understanding breaks my heart for her today.
But you know what, Goose? Let’s remember the good times with Loial and your apron. Or Loial and Peter Francis.
I remember when I found out we had Loial. When I was in high school, my parents and I had had a cat named Jake for about a year, but Jake succumbed to a bladder disorder and had to be put down, and it broke my heart. Two months later, on Valentine’s day, my brother and I were in the kitchen with my mom when I heard the strangest sound. “Meow!” I looked at my mom and asked what that noise was, and once the cat was out of the bag (so to speak), she couldn’t keep the secret any longer. They had a beautiful Siamese mix hidden out of the way in a kitty carrier. Love was kindled on that Valentine’s day seventeen years ago.
Love is rekindled this year, albeit in a more somber fashion. Memories make the past and the present all that much closer to the heart.
Another memory! Loial and I used to play a game together, where he’d be on the stairs and I’d peek around the corner and stare at him. Then I’d jump back around the corner and hide. When I’d peek again, he’d be a little closer, and very interested. We’d go back and forth, and sometimes he’d jump out and scare me, and sometimes I’d do the jumping. Once in particular, he’d gotten close to the bottom of the stairs, and I jumped around and shouted at him. All part of the game! Poor cat ran straight up the stairs, turned a hard left STRAIGHT INTO THE WALL, bounced off, and ran around the corner. Poor cat! But I still laugh about the look on his face.
A final fun memory. I was standing in the kitchen when something small and brown whizzed past me, followed by the gray blur of Loial. They ran up the stairs, and when I got there, he’d cornered a chipmunk that had gotten into the house somehow. Poor chipmunk fainted dead away, and I took him outside where he revived and scampered off.
Goose, hold on to good memories. They’re some of the things that remind you that even though life ends, it’s worth living.