Between feeding the cats on the verandah in the early morning and my return from feeding the animals in the barn, White Cat had an episode that left him paralysed in his whole back half. Some kind of embolism in the spine the Vet said. I forget the word he used. White Cat was lying on the path and called to me quite cheerfully as I returned from the barn. He seemed to be more irritated by his legs not working than anything else. He laid by the fire the rest of the morning, while John groomed him, only crying when John paused. The vet was in surgery and we had to wait. But there was nothing the Vet could do.
White Cat’s name was Apollo. He was a Himalayan. He was famous for having fur on his paws, and consequently a very soft touch. John bought him as a gift for his daughter but as happens with children they leave and the pet stays. I always called him White Cat. Apollo seemed such a weighty name for a fluffy white cat that literally chased butterflies and once caught a cricket, never a mouse and would attempt to come inside trailing tall weeds caught in his too long fur. He and Big Dog were John’s only house mates for years and years before I came to live here. They were his team. At our best guess he would have been about eleven or twelve.
And when any animal dies on the farmy, or in any household, we must pause. It is as though all their tiny beating hearts become a part of our own hearts rhythm, intertwined somehow, like the bass beat in a loud band, or a repeating brush from a drum, so we need to pause for a while and readjust our own hearts to beating along without them. This what we do, we adjust.
Now, you remember the rule. A life is a life no matter how long or how short. No matter whether a large animal or a small one. All life deserves to be celebrated. So no crying. No weeping or gnashing of teeth. This is the cycle we take on when we take an animal in. It is hard but that is OK. And you, my darling reader, have also invested in the farmy when you read with me every day like you do, so you deserve to know the truth. I promised I would report the good and the bad. Yesterday was bad. The Vet concluded that Apollo had come to the end of his life as a cat.
I said to the vet, as he was busy with his preparations, stroking and settling the old cat until he began to sleep from his sedative, that this must be a very hard part of his job.
He looked at me gratefully. ” You know,” he said. He was quiet for a while as he swallowed heavy air. “When I was a very young vet I said to myself that this part of the job would get easier as I went along. But it didn’t.” He gently lifted White Cat’s paw to see if he was fully asleep before he began. Then nodding he settled it gently in perfect alignment with the other paw. “It got harder,” he said.
I did wonder at the time of this photograph whether there was some kind of celestial message when the skies opened and the first shaft of light for days and days chose White Cat. But I brushed it off as being fanciful.
Rest in Peace White Cat whose Name Was Apollo. I am fairly sure that is there is such a thing as reincarnation, then White Cat will not come back as a butterfly or a cricket.
Good morning. I am so sorry to bring you bad news. These are always the hardest of posts for you to read. Today I will try again for a Walkabout with the Camera House. So we can see everyone and name them and reassure ourselves. That will be good.