It’s been over a year since our cat, Tobi, died. We knew we weren’t going to get another cat, not right away anyway, or maybe not even for a long time. Along with some other reasons, Mia seems to have developed an allergy to some furry creatures, cats included, and we saw some of this manifest during the last 6 months of Tobi’s life. Sometimes I still think he’s around, like he’s just in our bedroom laying on the bed like he always did or hiding under his favorite chair, and after having lived with cats for the last 20 years of my life, it’s a little strange not to have a cat around the house. But I do have to say, there are some things I’m enjoying about being petless at the moment – being able to put plants around the house, setting a vase of flowers on the diningroom table, putting a rug down in the livingroom, not having to worry about a cat sitter when we are away.
Like most pet owners who become first time parents, our cat was the world to us before the kids were born. We had whole picture albums filled with photos of him. Then when the first baby was born, he became another responsibility – not a burden by any means – but when you’re dealing with a new baby and it’s the cat who wakes you up in the morning and not the baby, for example, or the cat who tears a hole in your new sheets and not the kids, well…I think this happens to almost every pet owner who become new parents, even those friends who completely doted on their pets who I never thought would feel this way. I guess as guilty as it makes you feel sometimes, it’s also normal.
But the early baby years do go by and at some point you started appreciating your pet again. As crazy a kitten as he was, Tobi mellowed out in his later years and was completely patient with the kids. I was trying to picture the girls playing with him the other day, but I really couldn’t. I don’t know if it’s because it’s been over a year since he’s been gone but I couldn’t really remember their interactions with him. Surprisingly, it’s not Mia, but Claudine who talks about him still (I don’t know why that surprises me, but I figured since Mia had more time with him, his death would have made more of an impression on her than Claudine). It’s slowed down a little since the summer, but Claudine would make cards for him every week. For a while I collected them all and had a stack. Sometimes when I suddenly see her act all mopey and melancholy I’ll ask her what is wrong and she would quietly say that she missed Tobi. She mentioned that she missed him just the other week. But I’ve also noticed that he’s been gradually missing from our family portraits that she draws so often. For the longest time it was always the 5 of us. Now it’s the 4 of us. It’s weird to think that she may be young enough not to even remember him when she’s older. Somehow, it’s this thought that makes it feel like he’s truly gone.