“Do you have pets?” “Yes, I have three cats, a dog, and a husband.” That is, I used to say that.
As a child, we never had pets that stayed with us for life. My father was allergic to dog and cat fur, so we had an outdoor dog or two, but they would “disappear” and we’d move on. I never experienced the companionship of a pet as I was growing up. As an adult, my experience was much different.
Hubby had two dogs when I met him and shortly after we married, we brought a cat into our lives. Over the years, Hubby and I had a total of three dogs, a few hamsters, and five cats come into our home. Each was welcomed and loved until they died. They were our companions and entertainment. Each pet arrived in a particular stage of life. At the end of each pet’s life, we grieved and missed each one terribly. But, we had other pets who still needed us and required our attention and love. New pets fell into our hearts and filled our home once again.
Some people say, “They’re like your kids.” or “They’re like family.” I disagree. They aren’t like family, they are different. More than family. Faithful. Always needing you.
Because the last four fur babies were so close in age and hit the elderly stage of life simultaneously, the past few years have been especially difficult in our home. The difficult decision to let each one of them go is so heart-wrenching. We felt like an executioner.
We had already made the decision to not get any more pets, so when our last fur baby, Missy, became extremely ill a couple of weeks ago, we knew this might be the end having been through this so many times before. Our veterinarian ran tests, tried antibiotics and steroids, and ran more tests. He was very understanding and was clear in providing us with all our options. But most of all, he was honest. It was time to let her go.
Today, I get up in the morning to check the cat food and water dishes, finding an empty space on the floor instead. I open the window next to the chair in the guest room because that is where the cats loved to sleep. The chair is now devoid of cat fur. I stare at the cat tree still standing in the corner of our bedroom to see if a tail is hanging over the side. I sit a little to the side in the recliner in anticipation of a purring kitty joining me.
“Do you have pets?” “No, just a husband.” True, but not as funny.