Ever since I came to live here at the cottage I have rescued a great number of cats. I actually lost count of how many. While I found good families for most of them, a little number had to stay here at the cottage. Some became strictly indoor cats due to health reasons, others were fit for a life with a bit more freedom, and went to live in my garden, sleeping in their little cat houses under my patio or in the barn, at their own pleasure. Lately, I had six cats living under my patio, five girls and one big boy.
Last week I lost, in the space of 24 hours, two of the girls. Penelope, called Penny, and Pippi.
This just after losing my dog Pammy, last month.
I was particularly fond of Penny and Pippi, so this loss is hurting me deeply. They were abandoned here as kittens along with their six brothers and sisters, all severely ill. I lost two of them in the space of a month, no matter how many emergency vet visits I made, while the others slowly became stronger and stronger. To make the story short, they couldn’t be vaccinated due to their still low immune system and when they were eight months old they all got Parvo. All of them died, but Penny and Pippi, who fought the disease for a week before getting through it. Losing all those kitties, after all I had done to save them, was one of the hardest things I had to go through, in my entire life. And when the vet told me that Penny and Pippi had made it, I clung to them. And they clung to me.
They would follow me everywhere. They didn’t like living strictly indoor, and after all that they had gone through I thought they deserved to choose the life they wanted. So when they wanted to come inside I let them, and when they wanted to sleep on the grass, especially during summer, that’s where they slept.
All was great until last week when Penny seemed to have come down with a bad cold. It was the second time in a few months, and the temperature was still warm, so I thought her low immune system was making its tricks again. I kept her inside and gave her antibiotics. The vet told me to take her to the clinic if she didn’t improve in three days. By the third day, after she was stable but had not improved, I took her to the vet where we found out she had lung cancer. There was nothing else to do but to put her to sleep, as cancer had already spread widely.
I came home heartbroken. I took Pippi in my arms and kissed her. I thought she looked strange, but I decided I was being anxious because of what had just happened. I gave everyone dinner and saw Pippi eating with appetite.
But the next morning Pippi was dead. Naturally, in her sleep. I don’t know what happened to her. I just know that Pippi and Penny were inseparable. So inseparable that they died together.
When you decide to help animals you are perfectly aware of the fact that you are going to face so many heartbreaks. You do it because not helping them makes you suffer even more. Everyone’s life is a roller coaster, but the life of a rescuer is even more so. One minute you fly high because one pet fought successfully a disease or have found a wonderful adoption, the next you’re in hell because another one died suddenly.
This time hell burns big time for me.
I know they had a great life, I know they don’t care about how short it was: that’s my judgment, and it’s a very short-sighted one. Time doesn’t exist for pets. They measure time only in good or bad, not in length, and Penny and Pippi’s time was freakingly good.
And I know death doesn’t really exist. Nothing really dies, ever.
But I miss them.