Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Inevitability of Cats

It was too quiet in here, and our hearts and arms were too empty. I know we said Salvador would be our last kitty, for a list of reasons, but those reasons didn't stand up to the torrents of loneliness he left in his wake. My Buddhist detachment has not yet detached itself from my beloved four-leggers (or much of anything else I fear).

There's no way we could ever replace Salvador. Aside from being the biggest cat any of the vets we took him to had ever seen, he was a force of nature, as evidenced here. Note that the cupboard doors had to be closed with bungee cords because a naughty red boy would pull open the doors and empty the cupboards.

One of the most fascinating aspects about cats is that each has a distinct and individual personality. Cats are no more like each other than are children, as in one of these things is only superficially like the other. All standard-issue cats have the four legs, and I was going to say the pointy ears, but Scotch Folds' ears fall over. The "long-tail" qualifier fails when you're faced with a Manx, who has no tail. Furry? Several breeds have no hair whatsoever and one "hairless" cat is what has the be the cat owner's nightmare - it grows hair which it immediately sheds, leaving it bald.

So I can't even describe what a cat is and yet you know exactly what I mean when I say 'cat', and assuming you are a 'cat person', you'll understand why we had to have another one, asap.

We lost Sal on Friday. By Saturday evening I knew I couldn't live without a cat in the house. I'd spent the day cleaning red hair out of the corners, from under the furniture and out of the upholstery, packing up toys, emptying the house of Sal's presence. But it was with a growing sense of grief, not just that Sal was gone, but that there would never be another cat to fill that void.

Ian came over in the evening, and while he was here I finally said it.

"I have to have a cat. I don't think I can live without a cat." One of the reasons we'd decided not to get another cat was because Ian has to help us get food and litter, and had to carry Sal to the vet when Tony wasn't well enough, because he was too heavy for me to carry.

"Well, get one then," he said, "I don't mind helping."

Long story short, Sunday we added this beautiful long-haired silver tortie, a three year old male, to our family. His name is Smokey, he's very sweet, gentle, affectionate and playful. He's adjusted very well, and seems extremely content. He came from a home with two dogs and two small kids who were hauling him around a little too roughly for his own good. So while he's not filling Sal's big boots with his tiny feet, and we are still wrestling with the loss of our big boy, the house and our hearts are not so empty.

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