It's nothing against Harold. I love Harold, too, and he loves me. But Harold is a hail-fellow-well-met sort of guy. As long as you don't make a loud noise and startle him, he's your friend and would love you to rub his belly. Every pet sitter we've ever had has loved him, and talked of how friendly he is; one nicknamed him the Love Hog for the way he pushed past Pan to get all the attention.
Pan was a one-person cat, and I was the person. He would, reluctantly, accept attention from pet sitters, but always in a way that made it clear, You're not my mother. He was interested in other people, but only up to a point.
When I got upset, Pan would get upset. If I started crying, he would come to where I was, and meow. I swear he looked worried. Harold's reaction, on the other hand, is to jump down off my lap, because hey, when she does that she stops patting the kitty, so why bother?
So far, Harold doesn't seem to notice anything has changed. To be fair, I think Pan had retreated so much over the last few months, Harold was used to a daily life that didn't include interacting with another cat. Intellectually, I'm glad that Harold doesn't seem to be suffering the loss.
Emotionally, though, it hurts my feelings, for Pan's sake. Emotions don't make sense, do they? I don't want Harold to be upset, but at the same time I want to shake him, and say, "Ten and a half years! How can you not miss him?"
The real comfort to me, though, is that when the time came, I knew it. People said I would, and I wanted to believe it, but I wasn't sure and wasn't sure, and felt defensive when I explained that he was sick but not suffering, and still got joy out of sitting on my lap or playing in the shower, and I really don't think it's time, I don't think.
And then yesterday, I knew. He'd been getting weaker, and finally he could get down from his perch but not back up, and when I put him by the water bowl to see if he wanted any, he drank for a second and then lay down, like he couldn't even stand up for any longer.
And I just have no doubt that it was. It's a slight comfort. I want him back, desperately, but the way he used to be, the way he was for ten years. Not sick, and unhappy, and tired.
He lived a lot longer without eating than I would have thought possible. (Though he was drinking water, right up to the end.) Two years ago, he weighed about 15 pounds. This summer, he was down to around 13. Yesterday, he weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces. It was time, and it went as well as such a thing can, and it was still awful and I'm miserable.
Yesterday I dumped out the little basket of toys on the living room rug, and cleared out the milk tabs that only Pan ever played with. It didn't even make me cry. I thought they looked kind of pretty, all together.
He sure did love playing with them. He would lay on his back, and throw one up in the air, and catch it. Harold never got the appeal. Once or twice, he would walk over to where Pan was playing with one, take it away from him, bat it back and forth, and then wait for it to do something. When it didn't, he would kind of shrug and walk away, and Pan would grab it back and go to town.
I left the other toys spread around the living room rug, and Harold has been pouncing on them. Some things are as they should be.
"It's the only bad thing about animals ... Most don't live as long as we do."from Squire, by Tamora Pierce
"I know ... But think how bleak life would be without them."