Our beautiful and much-loved cat Gobbolino, 23rd July 2000 – 28th December 2019. An intrepid exploring cat in her youth, as she got older, she preferred her familiar places with all of her important things nearby. So we brought the world to her. She loved to investigate all my kit when I returned from wild places with interesting smells, she was curious about anything you brought to show her, she liked to play with my iPad including taking a selfie once. She was such an inquisitive and talkative and affectionate cat that we noticed straight away that evening when something had suddenly gone badly wrong. We rushed her to the emergency 24-hr vet, at the cattery she used to stay at when we were away, B driving and Gobbolino sat on my lap. I told her they would make it all better and she would be back home again soon, and I genuinely believed it as I said it, but it was already too late. All the vet could do was to take the pain away.
I get that some animals – and some people – are ready to die, that their quality of life has deteriorated so far that death would be a welcome relief. Technology can extend physical life far beyond what is “natural” regardless of the mental cost. But that was not our Gobbolino, even at 19½ she was still actively engaged with and interested in everything around her, she enjoyed her food and selected company, she wasn’t in any chronic, debilitating pain. She wanted so desperately to live but her internal organs were just worn out beyond repair, by the time we reached the vet half of her body had already shut down. Praise be to Aslan that at least it didn’t happen while we were away or at work, I can’t bear the thought of her dying slowly in agony with no one there.
I don’t want to lose any memories, especially those of her very final moments, but I don’t want that frantic last hour to be my overriding memory of her either. I want to remember her beside me on the bed or the couch or behind the monitor in the study, purring like a diesel engine. I want to remember the funny bouncy way she walked on stairs. I want to remember the way she would look me in the eye and emit a complex sequence of meows, squeaks and chirrups, obviously expecting me to understand every word. I wish I had some recordings. I want to remember the way every year she would just become incredibly fluffy with her winter fur. I want to remember the way she and her sister Sootica looked after me when I had broken my leg and ankle. I want to remember that too much fuss and attention made her self-conscious. I want to remember that I could never resist her pleady eyes when she wanted something, and she knew it, much to B’s amusement. I want to remember her love of fried eggs, she had one for breakfast on her last morning, from her own labelled box, and a tiny piece of bacon. And a hundred more things…
Her and Sootica were always searching for the perfect sunbeams to laze in (the quest continues for Sootica). When they found one, an hour later the sun would have moved and then they would come to me and complain about it. I’m sorry I couldn’t move the sun for you, no matter how much you believed I could, and I’m sorry I couldn’t hold back time either.