Sunday, March 08, 2009

The triumph of optimism

over experience.

You'll remember that I mentioned, a couple of weeks ago, that our cat Tiny had died. I wasn't kidding when I said that losing him had hit me harder than the loss of any other cat; I still can't believe he's dead. If I weren't such a hard headed realist who doesn't believe in the concept of 'fairness' in life (ain't no such thing) I'd say that it was most unfair that Tiny died. But he did and one copes as best one can.

Krylenko seems to have missed him as well. I try and avoid the worse excesses of anthropomorphism where my cats are concerned; what do I really know of what goes on inside their heads? Nonetheless, he *did* seem to be exploring the places Tiny frequented, perhaps wondering where his buddy was.

Sonya was hit as hard as I was when Tiny died. Possibly harder; she was the one who cried the tears though I have to admit I got damn close a few times. Still do if the truth must be admitted.

Eight or ten days after Tiny's death the subject was broached; should we get another youngster 'so Krylenko will have someone to play with'?

Well you know me. Cat? Good! I wasn't opposed to the idea. I was a trifle concerned at the suggestion of getting another Himalayan though. Not because Himalayans are genetically predisposed to Kidney disease or through any other prejudice against the breed; nope, this was sheer practicality. Another Himalayan would look rather more like Tiny than any other breed and it's not a long step from there to expecting the newcomer to *be* Tiny reincarnated.

When Tiny died the vet asked us if we wanted his body back. Well no, this is a condo and we don't own the land outside the walls; where would we bury him? Did we want his ashes? Apart from a certain cynicism (how would we know the dust we were handed *was* Tinys) I also wondered what we'd do with them? Make a shrine of them?

Call me hard hearted if you will but that's just not my way. I haven't had a lot of experience, yet, with the deaths of those I knew, but what little I've had suggests that it's better to remember them than to guard a vial of ashes.

I still remember my surprise, nearly twenty years ago, when walking through Melbourne Cemetery and hearing a tinny tune near a grave. Careful listening pinpointed the source; a birthday card propped up next to a marble headstone. Yes, I do remember the date and the name but I'm not going to mention either here; the date on which I found the card was a couple of days after the birthday of the person buried there; the card was for his 21st birthday. Curiousity led me back there a year later and sure enough, there was a new card.

Sometimes you have to just let go.

Much better, overall, that the newcomer *not* be subjected to disappointed expectation.

Krupskaya[^] has lived with us for 12 days. She's a Tabby about 8 months old and very comfortable with the humans who live here. She's also very playful, as befits a youngster.

Would that she were so comfortable with the other cats! Imagine how poor Krylenko felt when he trotted up to the newcomer, full of goodwill and friendliness (he's the friendliest cat I've ever known) and his reward for his pains was snarls and spitting! Quite the shock!

I can't blame her; she'd spent time at the 'animal shelter' in a cage waiting for someone to come rescue her.

But it's getting better. Tonight Krylenko ignored the newcomer and did his usual burying of the nose in my armpit with the newcomer a mere foot away on the couch. She, for her part, regarded him benevolently and didn't feel the need to snarl and spit.

I have high hopes that they'll be playing by the end of the week.


Ann oDyne said...

dear U.R.A, the Tiny death and the Cemetery card both ripped me up.

I am one of thosde who just cannot "just let go".

I am fresh from seeing a travelling exhibtition at the local Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, of old photos of John Winston Lennon. I thought I'd be alright, but I wasn't.

Good luck with your cat-wrangling, and may dear Tiny always have a warm spot in cat heaven and your heart.

Rob said...

He will - on both counts!