Sunday, November 08, 2009


I put Pyramus to sleep on Friday, October 30th and today I picked up his ashes. Which seems terribly final. I was there when he died and they wrapped him up in a towel and carried him away and you would think that would be final enough. But I've been walking in the door every night half expecting him to be waiting for me. The cremation company puts the ashes in a little tin then wraps them up like a gift and sticks a brochure in the bag detailing all the fancy urns you can buy. But lest you think that's rather capitalist of them, the brochure also informs you that there's a private funeral room and an on-site grief counselor. Which all seems over-the-top to me because I don't tend to think of animals as little people. But then again I'm the atheist who needed her cat's ashes so she can bury him in her mother's garden so I don't exactly have a monopoly on logic here.

I'll spare you the stories about what a spectacular cat he was--though they would be true, of course--but I do want to write a little about his death. He was small and sick and mine and I spent so much time in the last year focused on his health that to suddenly find myself free of that concern is disconcerting. It's a lonely thing to suddenly have no beloved obligations waiting at home. When I get up in the morning and realize that there are no pills to be cut into fourths, no supplements to be measured out, no food to be portioned, I'm not quite sure what to do with myself.

I came home that night to all the things that needed to be cleaned up: opened cans of cat food with which I was trying to tempt him, chicken breasts in the freezer that I won't eat, open cans of tuna that I drained in order to give him the tuna-flavored water, clothes on the bathroom floor that I didn't pick up because he'd taken to sleeping on them, litter, his bottles of medicine . . . And then there were the things that I needed to just store away: litter boxes, the scratching post, the cat carrier, the water fountain. It was all a little overwhelming.

All that is taken care of now though. The things that needed to be tossed have been tossed. The things that can be saved for a new cat somewhere down the line are stored in closets and cabinets. So it's nice to have the tin with his ashes in it, tucked away next to the plants because he always liked them and that seems like as good a place as any to keep them for the time being. It's still sad, but it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it, and now at least everything seems neatly wrapped up.


Schnookie said...

Meg, I am so, so sorry for your loss, but I'm also so glad for you (and for Pyramus) that the ordeal of his illness is over. I know he was a spectacular cat who had a fantastic life.

Pookie said...

Meg, I'm so sorry for your loss. Pyramus couldn't have asked for a more caring person, and I'm sure he's frolicking around his favorite plants in kitty heaven, thankful to be healthy and happy and thankful for all the love you gave him.

Meg said...

Thanks, -Ookies. I'm not going to lie: as much as I adored him and would have liked to have him with me for as long as possible, there's definitely a part of me that's relieved that it's all over. It was definitely time, for both our sakes.

I suspect he's busy eating his favorite plants. No doubt he considers that frolicking! :D

Schnookie said...

I know that feeling of being relieved. We had one cat who suffered through a long, difficult illness, and I definitely think all parties involved were glad to have it end. It's so hard, though.

I suspect he's busy eating his favorite plants. No doubt he considers that frolicking!

:^::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: That sounds like a pretty good fate. :D

N said...

Oh Meghan I'm so sorry to hear it. Pyramus was a wonderful cat, full of personality. The best cats always are.


linda said...

What you wrote was really nice to read...although it made me teary-eyed. And I would have loved to have heard the stories about what a spectacular cat he was. I've heard a few and seen a couple of pictures and that was nice of you to share.

But I'm glad you wrote about his death because the passing (someday) of my cat fills me with fear. I had a cute little Silky Terrier pup decades ago, who ran off when our place was robbed. I put out "lost dog" fliers but the only call I received was from a woman who saw my pup shivering underneath a car. I never saw her again and that image haunts me still. So I vowed never to own another large pet.

I did have a paraket for 8 years and he died in my hands, which was pretty awful, so I know what it's like to see something go right before your eyes.

Anyway, I really wanted to own another companion so I (unknowingly) adopted a really mean cat. It's been a few years and I'm starting to win him over...which brings about the fear of losing him.

So again, thanks for writing what you did.

Meg said...

It's always hard to lose a pet, but I think the pain is well worth it for all the happiness they can bring you while they're alive. :)

The way you lost your dog is just too awful--I can't imagine having one of the dogs I've had over the years get lost that way. Hopefully she was rescued and lived a long, well-cared for life even though you didn't see her again.

I'm so glad your cat is starting to come around though!

Apollinaire said...

Meg, I'm late in reading this, but just want to add to the chorus how sorry I am to hear of your loss--and how happy I would be, if you ever felt up to it, to read about the spectacularness of Pyramus (what a great name). I love tabbies of exactly that stripe: I think, besides their inviolable individuality, they're very expressive and nuanced animals.

It is good that you finally put your baby to sleep. I made my cat, Alfredo, linger forever (for my sake).

And, yes, the terribleness of facing the empty apartment: no one to rush home to.

(I finally broke down, after six months, and got two kittens. I decided that Alfredo would have wanted me to have catness in my life--if only to remind me of him.)

for imagining Pyramus in the Elysian Fields, I highly recommend the adagio of Beethoven's final piano sonata, opus 111, which begins very mournfully and then at a certain point bursts into a gallop. Paul Lewis's version is my favorite.

my condolences and best wishes,

Meg said...

I'm late enough in responding to this that you probably won't see it, but thank you for the condolences, Apollinaire, and for linking to your beautiful post about Alfredo.

And I'm so glad to hear that you've since given a good home to a pair of kittens.

Pyramus got his name because when my then-roommate and I first rescued him off the street he lived in my bedroom. We thought we were going to find a nice family to adopt him and so couldn't allow him into contact with her FELV+ cat. The two of them would talk to each other through the crack at the bottom of the door and she would stick her little paws underneath for him to pounce on. When they eventually got to meet some months later they became fast friends, so we always felt that we'd chosen appropriately.

leslie said...

I've personally suffered with four losses the past two years, my father; my tortise Apple; my cat Gracie; my beloved shar-pei Mia. Each ending was unique in my grief. The hardest death... even tho it seems very sorry to admit... was my tortise. I loved that little guy totally. Our lives go on. I love my four dogs and two cats now. I am aware that I am facing.. eventually... six more separate bouts with grieving. I wouldn't have it any other way.