Having him put to sleep was probably the most mature and adult thing I’ve ever had to do. That’s not to say I didn’t regress at great speed when I found him in the garden, having suffered a stroke, unable to move, blind, and mewing the most heart-wrenching sound I have ever heard. I wanted my Mum to tell my what to do, I panicked and asked Arthur to get better, prompted him repeatedly to tell me what was wrong, then finally scooped him up in my arms and rushed him to a vet.
But he managed to have the final say; in spite of being blind and barely able to move, when the vet moved him to give the injection, he scratched her. She was properly hurt. Good.
He was 18, and I had become more and more depressed this last year knowing he wouldn’t be around for much longer, but it’s incredibly upsetting. I didn’t realise how often I would spend time with him during an average day, and every time I get up to make coffee now, it hurts that he’s not there to stroke for a minute or two, or bugging me loudly for some milk, or starting an argument with me about the fullness of his belly.
It’s very easy to anthropomorphise animals, and everyone thinks their cat or dog is more human than pet – but it’s because of this that it pangs so much when they are gone. Arthur gave me cuddles when I was sad (he was cold), and listened to me moaning (he sat there), and greeted me when I came home (his bowl was empty), and now I miss my little purring telephone very much. Usually when I feel like this, I go and find the cat for a hug. It’s not fair.