An homage to pets

Iwan the cat

One of our cats died in his sleep last week. So, today, a homage to the pets we’ve all lost.

I hesitated before writing this post about our cat. To most people, it won’t mean anything — you don’t know my cat. However, many of you have your own pets, so you can relate. Also, this is my blog, and I’ll write about whatever is important to me. And this is important to me. So here we are.

The cat in the picture is Iwan… was Iwan. This picture is a few years old, but it catches him at his prime. He turned sixteen last summer, and suffered from kidney failure. We knew his death was coming, but it was still unexpected. He was not ill, or out of sorts. Then, last week, my wife came downstairs in the morning and found him curled up on the couch, dead. We buried him in the garden and put a rose atop his grave.

The thing is, when you live with a pet for sixteen years, that leaves a hole. When my wife and I started our relationship, Iwan was there. He was there when I moved in with her. He was in a cat carrier when we moved to our new place, and he was there when my daughter was born. A lot of daily routines involved that cat. When I got up in the morning, he’d be by the door, meowing for food. Playing a video game in the evening: cat be on my wife’s lap.

And now… he’s not. Well, no. We still have two others cats, but they are different. Like people, no two cats are alike. There is still a cat-sized hole; things have changed. It’s that nagging feeling that something is missing. A feeling that can creep up on you unexpectedly. Of course, it will pass. This isn’t my first rodeo. And that too is sad. After a time, a pet you loved so much lives only in vague memories and old pictures.

And no, I know I’m not unique, or the first one to write about it. Nor am I looking for sympathy. And you may get nothing out of this post.

For people who’ve had pets pass away that they loved, I hope this at least resonates with you. But honestly, I’m writing this because I’ve written about authors, actors, and even a goose and duck I barely knew. So, my cat Iwan deserves some attention too. He’s been more important in my life than many of the people and things I’ve written about in the past.

So there it is. A homage to our cat Iwan. Rest in peace old friend.

And to all the pets that have passed away. You are missed.

Martin Stellinga Written by:

I'm a science fiction and fantasy writer from the Netherlands

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