Last day of the Cat

When a crisis happens in my family, all roads always lead to me. Its just the way it goes. I have the inherent gift of Smoothing the Way. Today is no exception.

Grandad’s cat had to be put to sleep today because he was dying of a nasty tumour which was stopping him from eating. Mum was angry with Grandad because in her mind he was being selfish and didn’t want to put the animal to sleep before Christmas, and Grandad was adamant the cat wouldn’t be suffering and thought Mum was interfering.

Grandad was worried about being on his own, though he hadn’t said as much, and mum was worried about the cat suffering unnecessarily. In the end, the Vet helped to break the news that the animal wasn’t having much of a life now, and he would starve to death over the coming week if we left him.

So mum helped Grandad decide it was best to have him put to sleep, and she persuaded him to bring the animal home afterwards, and they buried him in the garden properly. Both were very upset. I was glad I wasn’t there, because though I didn’t have any time for that bloody cat, other people being upset makes me cry, and I’d never have held it together.

Still. Mum rang to ask me to ring grandad, and I knew what I had to do.

I got him talking and we chatted about today’s sad events. I asked him questions, and steered him through his own emotions, and eventually, though he’d never tell my mum, he admitted to me that he’d been glad to have her there with him today.

Its a sad day. A lonely, elderly man who has very little in the way of nice things to say to most of his family, lost someone who meant a lot to him; his cat. Mangy, fat old moggy that he was, he meant the world to Grandad. And now he’s gone. And Grandad knows he did the right thing, even though his conscience is pricking and his heart is aching.

And all is well, really. Mum is better for knowing she did the right thing too, now that I’ve told her how Grandad was when I spoke to him.

Even with my foot in plaster, I’m still precariously negotiating difficult relationships. I don’t need crutches for that.   

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2 Responses to “Last day of the Cat”


  1. 1 daffy 18 December 2007 at 9:23 pm

    As I read through this post I found my head falling gently over to one side as most sympathisers heads do… right up to the point when you said that you never had time for the bloody cat, at that point I managed to spurt coffee all over the speakers!
    My dad loves, adores, I can’t think of a word big enough, his dog. She is his life. His companion and his friend I suppose so I completely understand how your Grandad feels. I wonder if in time you might indtroduce him to another cat, not to take the place of mangy moggy but to share the affections and grumbles as Grandads and cats do.

  2. 2 Edward 11 November 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Hm, I have 2 cats. They tend to be such a pain I don’t feel the say way your granddad did. I felt that way for about two weeks when I got them, when I was 5.


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