Facey moved in with us last September. He was a big, beautiful Maine Coon with a huge personality, and we were looking after him while his owner, N, sold his flat. He was the difference between a house and a home. I’ve never known a cat as affectionate, chirpy or sociable. He worked a room at a party better than I could. He didn’t believe there was ever an inappropriate time for cuddles. If he’s been a person, he’d have been a player, cosied up with a different woman every night. It was like having a cool new housemate, albeit one who shits in a box in the corner and sometimes wakes you in the night by sticking his paw in your mouth. Frankly, I’ve lived with worse.
He taught me how to relax. I’m usually a whirlwind of activity when I get home after work, determined to cram as much as possible into every minute of my free time. All that stops when you have a cat halfway up the stairs, mewing frantically as you open the front door, desperate for you to lie down on the bed with him for a cuddle. Cat-spooning could easily take up an hour of my evening. I would rest there with him blissfully asleep on me, as I read a book or daydreamed or simply lay with him.
He taught he what it is to care deeply for another, more vulnerable, life. A month ago – just one, brief month, how incredible to write that down – he started to get ill. Not much at first, some fur loss put down to ear mites or maybe a flea bite allergy. Then sickness, lethargy, discomfort. More fur loss, and more, and more, and all the vets could do was take photos and consult each other over this mysterious malady. His beautiful coat ravaged, his tail reduced to almost nothing. A patch of fur left on his face left him recognisably feline. Unable to jump onto the bed or, if lifted onto it, to lie down comfortably. We kept trying the tablets and consulting more specialists. I was the first to realise that he wasn’t going to recover.
He taught me how to die. We will never knew if he had any concept of how ill he was, except for in his final hours when he was confused and suffering and crying out. The dash to the emergency vet, who confirmed what we already knew, and gave him an injection to stop his pain while we sobbed in that sterile room at midnight. He was quiet, stoical, accepting. His time had simply run out.
He taught me about how grief gives you tunnel vision, knocks out everything except for raw emotion, leaves you incapable of doing anything. I know it’ll get better but today I just miss him. Rest in peace, little puss, and thank you.