â€œGenerally, by the time your are Real,
most of your hair has been loved off,
and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.
But these things donâ€™t matter at all,
because once you are Real, you canâ€™t be ugly,
except to people who donâ€™t understand.â€Â
~ The Skin Horse
in The Veleveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
On Sunday I lost my 17-year-old cat. She was with me through college, saw me through career changes, and accompanied me on various moves. It is weird not having her around anymore. When I read The Golden Compassâ€™ description of deamons years ago, it resonated with me.
At 6 weeks old, she followed me with her eyes on adoption day while her six siblings were playing or snoozing in the cage.
She would confiscate books for napping (Geology was her favorite) when she felt I should take a break from my studies. She probably earned a Bachelor of Arts by osmosis. I’d confer her a Doctorate in the art of purring, with a minor in napping.
She served as a comfort and perspective-provider during various career changes and several moves. She also served as Chief Tuna Officer at my old venture Content Solutions from 2001-2004.
She developed chronic kidney failure in 2006, but kept defying prognoses by remaining stable with her treatment plan. Even a heart murmur led to an unusual diagnosis, her heart had tilted but the shift was not life threatening.
Over time she stopped climbing up high, and just recently became a floor-dweller when jumping on the sofa proved too strenuous. Unfortunately her feisty spirit could no longer fight the muscle loss that comes with her disease. When she was no longer able to support her own weight, I had to let her go.
I am comforted that on the other side she has the company of several feline and canine brothers, sisters and cousins, and our Velveteen Lop.
On the heels of losing her, the frailty of human life is top of mind with other losses as well. Life is precious, and creatures of all kinds can depart at any moment, regardless of age and health status. I feel for everyone involved, and miss those who have gone too soon.
“Death ends a life, not a relationship.â€
~Â Jack LemmonÂ