“Just enjoy her while she’s here,” my husband says. "It's all we can do."
He’s talking about our cat eighteen-year-old cat Becky, who is sleeping at the other end of the couch. Comfortable now, it appears. No twitching and tossing and turning. No frequent change of position. Just what looks like a normal cat nap. She’s napped for most of the day, but that’s par for the course for an old cat.
Becky’s my baby. We got her when my youngest, was three. He’s twenty-one now, and Becky is… old. And so loved by us all.
Early on, she chose me as her objet d’amour, and she became mine.
The kids always said, “You love Becky more than us, Mom.”
Of course I didn’t, and they know that, but damn, she ran a close second!
And now she’s on borrowed time.
“If a cat lives beyond fifteen,” the vet said, “that’s something!”
Something, but not enough, really.
Just enjoy her while she’s here. Bittersweet love.
She’s had a healthy life until recently when old-age issues led us to the vet, who, with a gloved finger where the sun don’t shine, discovered a mass. A mass. Such a loaded word, and it matters not what it’s loaded with in Becky’s case—cancer or benign, it’s inoperable according to the vet--Becky’s pediatrician cum gerontologist.
Better to have loved and lost than never too have loved at all. Undeniably true. The sorrow when a pet dies is balanced by a lifetime of pleasure she provides—and the reciprocal love that passes back and forth is priceless.
For now, Becky seems to have rallied from her setback. I knock on wood as I type; I’m aware that she’s fifteen plus three. I’m realistic. Even stoic, in a small way. Been here, done this. It hurts. I'll heal.
But for now, she’s here. And I’ll enjoy her company for as long as she stays--my sweet girl.
If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. ~James Herriot