There’s never a good time for a bad time, but when it’s time, it’s time.
Such was the reality confronted last week when we called a day on our beloved family cat Mish Mash.
It’s a situation many pet owners face, if they’re lucky enough, and I say that advisably because it’s a bittersweet moment.
The end of a two-decade era.
While the city was revelling in Supercars, and Same Sex marriage equality was passing the Senate, we were at home dealing with another big issue.
Mish arrived in our lives as a five-week-old rescue kitten and grew up with our kids, becoming a fixture over 20 bliss- and hiss-full years, depending on whether you were trying to clip her nails or not.
It’s fair to say she was as much a piece of the family furniture as the pieces of family furniture she spent most of those 20 years sleeping on, when she wasn’t sleeping on us.
It was the second familiar feline we’ve lost this year and a poignant lesson in loss.
The first went in June and was unexpected because at seven he was seemingly full of tomorrows.
Mish was tipped much more likely to cross the rainbow bridge due to miles on the clock but defied ever-advancing renal failure with a devil-may-care attitude to exercise and hitting the kitty litter tray.
Death is a fact of life, however, and like most consumer durables these days, none of us comes with a warranty. Deep down we hoped Mish would live forever because the thought of parting seemed beyond sweet sorrow, particularly as that time grew obviously closer.
In the end it was about reducing suffering, and I promise I won’t extend yours by going on too much more about this, but maybe one day our Parliaments will. Victoria’s did this week.
Vets obviously go through it a lot because when we took Mish in last Monday, a checkup nearly became a put down. The ultimate one. The writing had been on the wall, but not in such big letters that we couldn’t yet cling to the hope of one last course of action. Or rather antibiotics. If they kicked in, and then the appetite, and then the digestive system etc, then maybe we could push past pseudo relevant landmarks like clawing past Christmas and New Year.
It’s called clutching at straws. And come Thursday, we were in little doubt that the inevitable was at hand, if we so chose.
As mentioned at the start, there’s never a good time for a bad time, but when the vet suggested that now, before puppy pre-school, was probably a better time, the finality of what you are doing strikes home. After all those years, it came to this.
And with that, and some tissues and kind words and final pats and a paw print, we called time on 20 years.
The nest is now emptier than anticipated at the beginning of the year, reminding us all that nothing lasts forever and that we should always cherish what we’ve got.
Mish will live on in the memory as one of the great family cats but her passing, as does any loss, really puts the “purr” into perspective.