Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Karel, the cat

This morning I pulled my friend from a storm water drain and carried his body home, to bury him in our garden. I last saw Karel late on Sunday night - he was sitting on top of my couch, lying so that I could rest my head against his body and easily within reach so I could stretch behind my head to stroke him. He went out, there was a storm and maybe he was hit by a car - or caught in the storm water drain... When I woke up on Monday morning he was not here.

Karel was not 'my' cat, but I loved this animal dearly. I live in a lovely garden cottage; I've been here for about 18 months. He was one of four feline 'children' to his parents Louise and Stefan. They live in the house; I call them 'my house people'.

He has been a constant companion -  a shower buddy (Maine Coons enjoy water), a DVD buddy, a work buddy and a home buddy. As I've been working from home since mid-June last year, he has spent more and more time with me; sleeping on my couch, floor or lap during the day and seeking attention and affection in the evenings. Thrown out at night, he'd howl outside my window in the early hours of morning wanting to be let in. and then there were the presents he'd bring... Karel was fed at the house, playing here at my cottage when not visiting his folks.

There is something special about being chosen by a cat for companionship without the presence of food; it confirms that it is you they want to be with - just 'cos. Almost 20 years ago a neighbour's young cat adopted me; Karel reminded me of Biz (I ended up adopting Biz; we had a special connection too).

Karel's folks moved out two and a half weeks ago; they're moving to a new home outside of Jo'burg; a nice and safe residential estate - a super environment for the four cats. As they can only move in this weekend, I suggested that the cats stay with me so that they were not moved and then moved again (folks currently staying with a friend until they can move). The cats all know me well and they know the cottage; Karel lives here most of the time anyway... So, I've had all the 'kids' living with me full-time for two weeks.

And, more so than before, I've contemplated whether to ask if I can adopt Karel - because I couldn't stand not to have this kitty in my life. And as the weeks to his relocation counted down, it weighed more and more on my mind.

On Sunday I was discussing this with my mom and ultimately my decision was not to say anything. My reasons? Karel has his 'siblings' in the other cats; he'll be in an environment where he can catch birds to his heart's content (more variety too!) and the residential estate would be safer where cars are concerned. Here we have a busy road and he was often crossing the roads. And his folks love him dearly too.

Carrying his body up the road shattered my heart; there was the familiar feel of his shape and weight, wrapped up in the towel and held in my arms like so many times before. But he was gone.

Today, I am sad and I can't stop crying; my natural and only response to this overwhelming ache. He was as much my little friend and companion as I was his and his place on my couch and in my life is now a gaping void.

Karel, my dear kitty, thank you for your love, affection and companionship. I miss you dearly. Those candles you like, the ones in the coloured glass jars... they flicker for you tonight.

My personal assistant - hogging my lap and caught by my laptop's webcam.


stan said...

that's totally tragic - really sorry for your loss.

I'm sat here with my cat on my lap, not entirely sure who owns who.

best wishes, stan

adventurelisa said...

Thanks Stan. I am very, very sad. The other three cats have just been collected to move to their new home so my home is as empty as my heart.