I hate cats… they kill birds.
Those were the first words out of my mouth when I visited my girlfriend’s home for the first time 5 years ago.
She had a cat, you see, and my experience of cats living in the Blue Mountains was that they were simply sneaky little bastards whose only purpose in life was to prey on the beautiful wildlife living in the bush.
I knew a lot of people in the area whose cats would on a daily basis bring home dead or damaged lizards, native birds and other assorted fauna. They didn’t eat them though, oh no, they’d play with them for a while until they got bored and then wander off to kill something else.
It was a strange evolution then, that over the years MisterYin slowly got under my defences and turned me around.
Gradually I became tolerant of him shedding hair all over me or clawing me for no reason, or sinking his teeth into my various body parts. I grew to accept his random cattacks, realising that they were part and parcel of my being with my girlfriend.
When Maree and I bought a house together six months ago his attitude towards me seemed to change. It was as if he knew that we were all in a new territory, on neutral ground as it were, and it became apparent that he’d accepted that I wasn’t going anywhere.
He was stuck with me, and I, with him.
Over the ensuing six months he became a mate, keeping me company when Maree was out of town on business. He became a big part of my life.
On Friday September 27 I became a big part of his death.
He’d been suffering from terminal lymphoma, and even though a course of high-dosage steroids gave him an extra four months of life he finally succumbed to the disease.
He’d stopped drinking water or eating food, and it was obvious he was in a world of pain. We couldn’t touch him or move him without him crying out in what could only be described as a plea to be left alone.
Maree made the decision that she had been dreading for months; a decision we’d discussed only once or twice, but a decision we knew was inevitable.
At 7.10pm on that horrible Friday evening, through a tiny cannula in his front leg, the vet administered a lethal dose of barbiturates.
As Maree stroked his smooth, soft fur MisterYin’s breathing became shallow, slowed, and finally ceased. He slipped away gracefully.
We’ve laid him to rest in a special garden area on our block, and we’ve ordered a small bronze plaque to commemorate him.
If you’d asked me five years ago whether I’d get emotional over a bloody cat I’d have laughed in your face; like I said, I hated the little bastards.
MisterYin changed all that. Cats are people too.