The presence of Narcissa and Bellatrix, whom we “adopted” in March of 2021, (they were already adults, having been born in 2009), while considerable compensation, doesn’t really make the loss of Fred any less real, but one thing you learn after having pets for a while is that there are only two options: you will outlive them, or they will outlive you. The odds against any other outcome are enormous. And, given normal life expectancies, outliving your pet(s) is pretty likely.
So, while I’m not happy about Fred’s passing, he hadn’t really been well for a while and it’s probably better than his suffering. It’s sort of funny that we, as a society, seem to accept that idea fairly easily for non-humans, but think it’s terrible for people. I’m not totally sure that I agree….
Anyway, Fred was more likely than most of the cats we’ve had to climb up in my lap (as opposed to Bonnie’s) and curl up to be petted, so this is how I tend to remember him.
One of the things I have always enjoyed about cats (and it was certainly true of Fred), is that they tend to be somewhat aloof. They are perfectly happy to live with one, and even enjoy the company of people, but they want to be sure that you known they don’t NEED YOU (even if they really do). They want to have GOOD food available, to have their litter box attended to when it needs it, to have sunny windows to curl up in and (when they desire it) a lap with appropriate petting available on demand. I think the difference is that dogs, the other most popular pet, seem to be, generally, much quicker to do what their people desire and will go out of their way to please them. Cats know who is “The Boss” and have few compunctions about letting their people know about it. As the sign says:
One of the things about cats which has fascinated me for as long as I have known cats, is their love of boxes. Cat owners will go out of their way to obtain fancy cat beds, condos, houses, etc., and, for the most part, their cat seems just as happy with a simple cardboard box to curl up in, or even just sit in!
Here’s Fred’s brother, George, (I think; it could be one of Maggi’s cats.), curled up in a box, just so you know what I’m talking about.
THE RAINBOW BRIDGE
credited to Paul C. Dahm
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
I think this is a nice, if quite sentimental, story. While I have real doubts about the idea of an actual Rainbow Bridge, if it turns out that there is one, I’ll be looking for a sizable herd of old cat friends…
See you in a couple of weeks…
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
— Nelson Mandela
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic; capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”
― Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
“Not everything which can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
— from a sign in Albert Einstein’s office