My last post was about how much leaving my family hurt, especially leaving my sister. But there was one family member I neglected to mention–one who was harder to leave than even my baby sister. My cat, Halifax. We got Halifax 9 years ago, when he was 6 years old, after my cat Whiskers passed away. Some would call him a “replacement,” but I hate that word. He’s much more than that. He and Whiskers are two totally different cats with two totally different personalities who hold two totally different places in my heart. Halifax is one of the sweetest cats you’ll ever find. He loves to cuddle and hug and sit in your lap while you work. He never bites and is immediately friendly to everyone, even the people in the veterinarian’s office. He is also 15 years old and sick.
Halifax has heart problems–my mom has never explained to me exactly what they are, but he takes a pill for them each night–and hyperthyroidism, which caused him to drop a lot of weight over the past year. He has medicine twice a day and his weight has stabalised, but he’s still just skin and bones. He’s active and seems happy, but that could change any day.
I think that’s what scared me the most when I left. He’s been in my life for 9 years, and I don’t know if he’ll be there at Christmas. He should be, but something could go wrong. And if he makes it that long, will he make it until summer or Christmas 2010, when I’ll be home for good? No one knows.
Halifax has been with me through my developmentally important teenage years. He put up with my earlier brattiness and was there for me during my times of sadness. I know I’ve taken him for granted up until the past year. I just didn’t think about the fact that he was growing older, even as his fur started greying and thinning. Now that I’m faced with the harsh reality of his mortality, it’s…undescribable. I can’t picture my life without him–I don’t even want to try–but I know that will become the reality within a few years. I just hope he can hold on and be happy until I’m home for good and can soothe him in the end. He’s loved me unconditionally for years, comforting him in his last moments is the very least I can do.