This is a post not about books, but about kitties. Specifically one kitty; our beloved ball of fur and purr Frankie.
I knew we were heading for bad news. Somehow over the last month I didn't see, or didn't want to see, that she had been declining. Miss Puss as she is also known, (other aliases include Frankienstein, Frankie Puss and Frankles) was diagnosed with Feline Aids earlier this year after developing an awful infection in the nail beds of all four paws. As if this wasn't enough, in amongst all the infection our vet found a tumour on one of her toes. She bravely came through amputation surgery and the indignity of having her paws bathed daily to keep the infection at bay since her own immune system just could not fight it.
Poor wee girl.
And I mean wee - she barely makes it to the 4kg mark and I am sure a quarter of that could be attributed to her beautiful long pelt. It's the kind of luxurious fur coat ladies in the roaring 20s would have loved to wrap around them but is a total b*tch to keep knot free. Luckily she loves to be brushed...well to a point… and naturally that point is to her tum where the most fearsome tangles reside. I leave that job to my honeypot - after all, she’s “his” cat; Miss Puss and my partner were a two piece package in the same way I came to our relationship with Paddy and Guntha and the motto "Love me, love my cats." We became a blended fur family three and a half years ago when we moved in together.
Like with most combination families, ours took some time to adjust and settle into something resembling harmony. Despite that long coat, Frankie is the most laid back, non-demanding member of our furbabies. She loves hanging out in the garden: at #ruralparadise she can often be found on top of the water tank or on the woodshed roof. She's not a foodie - except when it comes to beef mince, everything else she adopts an air of "Oh, I'll eat it if I must!" whereas the boys will hoff down theirs without chewing half the time, and then start eyeing up hers as she daintily picks each mouthful.
She also never begs for attention; to do so would be totally beneath her. Where Guntha and Paddy will dive bomb your lap repeatedly for affection, you feel a real sense of honour when Frankie alights on your knee. Usually she chooses a spot around the house that she will sleep in for perhaps a week before changing her mind and selecting another one. Recently it was the hot water cupboard. Then the kitchen floor in front of the oven. Now her spot of choice is on top of one of my partner's free standing stereo speakers. The later, while on the face of it an odd choice, makes sense when you know it is right next to the fire.
Sleeping on the speaker also serves as a cunning way to block Paddy and Guntha from coming into the lounge; it is situated right next to the doorway into the hall which we have blocked with a kiddie gate on account of my rabbit Bonnie who resides in the living room. For some reason the boys don't like jumping all the way over the gate; instead they jump on top of the speaker (even though it's higher) and then over to the other side. But with little Miss Puss in residence atop the speaker they are stuck either in or out of the lounge. Three and a half years living together and we are still working on that loving/tolerant step-family dynamic!
But on Thursday night when I picked her up from her spot on the speaker, I noticed something that beautiful silken coat had been hiding. Underneath it she was terribly thin and with a heavy heart we took her to the vet this morning.
The vet only got as far as "Okay, so I've found two large masses" before I started sobbing. Miss Puss has a tumour in her neck and one in her stomach. Given her age (12+ years - she's an SPCA cat so no exact age known), the size and location of the masses and the feline aids, our vet Aileen, who has been through the whole horrible decline of Frankie’s health this year, advised us to end her suffering.
So tonight we will brush her one last time, shower her with affection, love and warmth and tell her how much we love her and what she means to us. Tomorrow we will do that most unbearable of things: say goodbye one last time to someone you love.
It hurts so much I can’t bear it.