When I was little, cats lived forever. I'll never forget our childhood cat living til 18 years old, wandering off one day to curl up under a tree and pass away at a ripe old age. Me, as a distraught teen bringing him back and tucking him up in the warm, only to have him make his poor weary self back to the tree. He only lasted a day after that.
Anyway. Cats seemed to live forever. They were a part of life for our whole childhood. There was "the cat I had when I was growing up".
When Paul & I decided to get two kittens a few years ago we did so to give our kids life lessons that we thought were important. Caring for a pet, learning to be responsible and being accountable to another little being. There was also the companionship and the fun times that would be a bonus. We searched out two gorgeous little kittens, brother and sister and they joined our family, Jackson & Molly.
Then there was a little bit of heartbreak. Molly disappeared at 3 years old and never came home. It was summertime and it was hot, so at first Abby didn't notice so much. Molly didn't seek cuddles as much in summer, in winter she was a constant companion on Abby's knee.
After a lot of searching, mail drops, wandering the roads looking and calling, we realised poor Molly was never coming home. Abby realised too, she pinned a favourite photo beside her bed and there were a lot of tears, despite us reassuring her that Molly probably got lost and found her way to a fabulous home with lot of cuddles and a different family.
Molly wasn't quite three years old. We still don't know what happened to her.
10 days ago Jackson got sick. It was incredibly sudden. At lunchtime he was fine, by 2pm I was wondering if he was unwell. At 3.30pm I took him to the vet and said "This is probably a false alarm but I don't think he is right". By 4.30pm we were told he wouldn't live through the night without surgery.
Kinda sudden. Kids with me at the vets. We chose to try and make him better. Nagging in the back of my mind that Molly had already broken these kids hearts, we gotta at least give Jackson a go at sticking around.
This is where I get back to my observation at the start of this post. Cats lived "forever" when I was younger. 18 years was a fabulous innings for my childhood friend before curling up in the sunshine under the tree. It's sad that my children have now had two heartbreaks, because at just 4 years old we lost Jackson last Saturday too. We wanted our kids to learn responsibility and accountability, and in all honesty we wanted to teach them the circle of life too. But perhaps when they were a little older. Sad times at the Howard home. We miss you Jackson.