We look after cats with feline leukemia, which means that often (but not always) they have short lives. Their immune systems are severely compromised so if they catch an infection they can’t fight it. Of course, with the help of our knowledgeable friends and wonderful vets we do the best we can, but the time inevitably comes eventually. While healthy cats usually live for fifteen or even twenty years. Ours generally last about four or five at best.
They usually get it because they’ve been dumped and get in a fight with another cat that already has FELV.
So we give them the best we can while they are still here – – –
Then a gentle ride over the rainbow bridge – – –
We cry and then take in the next two or three – – –
Our latest are Momma and Susie. Momma rolled up her sleeves and decided the whole place needed sorted out, while Susie hid under our bed. Our resident, Molly, had assumed she would now be the solitary cat and was very happy with that, and then met Momma!
Meanwhile Susie emerged and saw our big dog Bruce and decided he was her Dad. She waited until he laid down in his bed (where he spends of his time) and then snuggled in beside him. She didn’t know that if any cat gets in his bed before he does he goes elsewhere, so she often waits in vain. But she’s learning!
So here we are, after losing many over the last fifteen years, adjusting (along with Bruce and Molly) to a new domestic arrangement.
Wendy has blogged more than once about the particularities of living above the bookstore and the overlap between our personal lives and our bookstore lives. To be honest we don’t see a division – the bookstore is a big part of our lives and it’s hard to imagine living any other way now.
Having someone walk in when we’ve forgotten to lock the door and we’re eating breakfast or dinner at the bookstore table is only a problem when we have to grab the dogs before they make the dash for freedom – or we’re not exactly dressed for the occasion.
But there’s coziness about all this that we haven’t really touched on before and it struck me anew just a few mornings ago in the form of our ‘the little brown jug’, or to be precise our ‘little brown sugar bowl’.
Most mornings I wander sleepily down to the shop accompanied by dogs and cats to our little downstairs semi-kitchen to set up the coffee, switch on the lap-top and examine the breakfast options (for humans and animals). On this particular morning my eyes focused on the sugar bowl in all its familiarity and I was suddenly struck by the power of objects to give us context and comfort.
That humble brown bowl talks to me without words. It says “how did you sleep?” and “what do you have planned today?” and “we all live here together and that’s most satisfying.”
Ah – satisfying! That’s the word I was looking for. It is satisfying to wake up surrounded by a movable feast downstairs with some immovable objects in it. The little brown sugar bowl (and some of its friends) give us that.