One of our cats died this year.
Back in May, on Mother's Day. My oldest daughter cried inconsolably until midnight. And it's taken me this long to be able to write about it.
It seems odd that a pets death could be so deeply traumatic, but he wasn't old. It wasn't his time. He was only five. Our old house was on the edge of a vicious mouse plague and we lived on the outskirts of town in an elderly house so mice were a problem. We didn't poison, but neighbours did.
We couldn't find Smudge for a few days before I tracked down the smell in the girls bedroom, and found him. From his body he was clearly the victim of snakebite or poison.
Our cats have an enclosure for outdoors, but they are Houdini's, and worked out how to escape under it and how to pull down the zip to the opening. Now, in our new house, we have the enclosure like Fort Knox, and the zip is attached to the wall with two bike clips. When Smiggle comes inside he always prowls around looking for routes to the great outdoors. Now, all our windows have mesh.
We got Smiggle and Smudge from a rescue place in Toowomba, for my oldest daughter's 7th birthday. We thought that the kids surfeit of love might be too much for one cat, so we got brothers. I spent hours searching for descriptions of kittens who were bold and courageous and liked dogs and kids. Oddly, this does not apply to most cats. Smiggle and Smudge were described as cheeky, 3am toe biters. They sounded perfect and we drove the 5 hour round trip to Toowomba to pick them up.
Despite being brothers, they had very different personalities. Smiggle is very much my daughters cat. Smudge loved everyone, including our dog. And he was bold and beautiful and had a deep and wonderful purr and I still miss him so much.
But... it's time. And now I can be glad we had the years we did. But I still miss him. This weekend we're making the long drive to Toowomba for a friend for Smudge. Hours of searching has found our perfect-for-us kitten, at the same pet rescue as before. She and her siblings were found under a car out in Dalby when only a few weeks old. She loves kids and cats and dogs.
At the moment I can't imagine ever loving her as much as Smudge. But that may change.
Goodbye Smudge. Thank you for your years with us. We'll miss you forever.