Neil Smith

2 weeks ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility ~100 ·

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The Empty Space

She’s gone a couple of days now so I’m not greeted by her loud complaining as soon as I walk in the front door. Home is quiet and there is less clutter than usual around the place. In the kitchen I switch on the kettle and make a note to get rid of any of her stuff that’s still lying around the place.

I drink tea in peace and contemplate the future without her regular nagging and occasional affection. There is no doubt that life will become less expensive and less messy in many ways. Her refusal to eat anything but the most expensive foods went from an amusing little affectation to an alarmingly large chunk out of my weekly wages. Not that she ever knew or cared about that. Like many she was all about me, me, me. She wouldn’t have cared if it was being stolen at great personal risk so long as the appropriate dishes were laid before her. Apart from her good looks the selfishness was pretty much her defining feature and yet, I never begrudged her the money or the hassle. Somehow, on some level, I clearly also got something from the relationship and it all worked out. It worked out in fact for over thirteen years. She grumbled and ordered me about and I, in turn did what I was told usually when I was told to.

Until this year.

This year it all started to get a bit too much. Things weren’t as smooth as they once were and the grumpiness became louder, more constant and about smaller and smaller things. A pillow not adjusted quite correctly or a dish not quite on time, even insufficient levels of entertainment provided on demand. The usual but all turned up a notch.

Eventually it got a bit too much and I knew that I had to act and put an end to the pain. My resolve though took a long time to catch up with my head and I procrastinated until the moment could be put off no longer. 

I arranged for someone to remove her from my life. Paid to have her executed in fact. A quick painless death and then I walk away to carry on normally without any hassles.

Some hope.

So now, I sit here feeling guilty in this quiet house. Listening in vain for the sound of paws on the laminate floor and expecting imminently, the grumpy meow that won’t ever come again from a cat who climbed in my window on a cold, snowy night in December 2008 and never left. The arthritic hips could be helped but the not being able to eat or keep food down turned out to be a problem with no solution and so I said a last goodbye to my old, scraggy cat last Tuesday 

And to the people who read this and think ‘It’s just a pet’, there’s no such thing as just a pet.

#pets  #cats 

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Neil Smith

1 week ago #14

John Rylance

1 week ago #13

Neil Smith

1 week ago #12

Neil Smith

1 week ago #11

#9 I am also at the ‘no more cats (animals)’ stage always aware however that life sometimes throws up surprises. 

Thanks Fay. 

John Rylance

1 week ago #10

I think I will call my next cat Just, to see what is their  response.

Fay Vietmeier

1 week ago #9

@Neil Smith 

As a feline mother of now 4 cats .. my heart was moved by your sharing. I'm sorry for the loss of your “grumpy” girl.

All losses leave an “Empty space”

.. people or pets .. 

Pets do carve out a unique place in our heart. I have come to understand how some people can connect with their pet .. yet struggle with people (my dad was like that) 

Pets are like children .. in that they rely on us for care.

It would seem they take much & give little .. yet somehow they carve out their own unique place in our heart & our lives.

They do become friends .. we learn their personalities & their idiosyncrasy's .. just like people.

I've chosen some of my cats .. I've been asked to adopt cats .. I've had many volunteer to live with me - as in your case .. one day they just arrive & stay 💛

I've only had to put one to sleep .. my "Mr. Merlin was found in the wee hours of the morning frothing at the mouth & unable to move .. arriving at the emergency Vet I learned a blood clot had traveled down his back & he would not be able to move. I was heart-broken .. and sobbed like a child. 

I'm at the point where I'm saying “no more cats” - we'll see that goes 

Neil Smith

2 weeks ago #8

Pascal Derrien

2 weeks ago #7

Such a moving write up

Neil Smith

2 weeks ago #6

Neil Smith

2 weeks ago #5

Lada 🏡 Prkic

2 weeks ago #4

Neil, I was saddened to read about your loss. We never had a cat or a dog because we live in a small apartment, but I love animals and understand your feelings. Pet is never just a pet. My best friend's dog has cancer, and she knows she must put her soulmate friend (as she calls her Jack Russell Terrier) down to end her pain. But even thinking of it is killing her. We talked a lot about her feelings about this final act of compassion and love people do for their pets. 
We both experienced the loss of our loved ones who died of cancer. Being a witness of their last days filled with unbearable pain and suffering, you can't but ask yourself why not allow humans to decide for themselves how much suffering they are willing to endure. 

Ken Boddie

2 weeks ago #3

Funny how pets can tug at the heart strings, Neil, and become as close to us, or closer, than any human. The majority of your story could apply to any girlfriend, aunt, sister, or wife, until of course you mention paws. Sorry for your loss and the void left in your life. Perhaps another pet will find you?

Neil Smith

2 weeks ago #2

We had a cat that was a gift from friends. She died in 2020 at 19 years old. We couldn't bear to put her down but she was suffering. We vowed we wouldn't get another pet. On Feb. 14, 2020, we adopted a 2-year-old tortie and have no regrets. You're right, there is no such thing as just a pet. 

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