Monthly Archives: June 2013

Saying Good-Bye to Thistle

After one year in business, I’ve learned a few things. One of them is, as much fun as it is to add a new client and get to know a new kitty, you are never prepared for the day when you might have to say good-bye to them.

People and pets come into our lives at random and can leave just as unexpectedly (as we probably all sadly know). The surprising thing is how attached you can get to them in sometimes short periods of time. That was the case with Thistle.

I called Thistle, an elegant senior kitty, my “Tuxedo Cat” because he has this handsome swath of white fur right down the front of his lustrous gray coat, just like a nice white pressed shirt peeking out from under a dark tuxedo jacket, which contrasted strikingly with his gorgeous sea-green eyes. Anyway, we hit it off right away, him ambling slowly but enthusiastically toward the door in his majestic gait each time I’d come over to visit him. We even developed a routine of sorts in the few short months I was his cat sitter…feeding always came first, naturally. But then it was followed either by some sunning on the balcony if weather was good, or a cat nap (literally) by the fire on colder days. Sometimes I’d curl up on the floor next to him in front of the fire, and we’d just sit there contentedly watching the flames. When his owner told me they were moving out of state, I was very sad. But — I figured, this was just part of the job and I would get used to it. Instead, the day of my last visit, I was choked up the entire time, trying not to let Thistle see the tears in my eyes! We did our routine and had a little longer time than usual cuddling. When it was time for me to go, I waited until he was nibbling out of his dish and slid out the door, saying, “Bye, buddy. I’m going to miss you.” Then I started to cry!

I was so surprised. How could I get so attached to that little guy in such a short time? I had only been taking care of him for five or so months! It was similar to the time I actually lost my first “client” to the sudden onset of kitty cancer, after only taking care of Zoe a few times as well. Same thing. A sweet last visit. A quiet, solemn and knowing “good-bye.” And then bam! Tears were streaming.

Maybe I’m not cut out for this business, I told myself. I’m too sentimental. Not business-y enough. On the other hand, maybe I’m just human but the kind of human who seems to understand and bond with her client kitties quickly and strongly. Maybe that’s a good thing, I thought. And something their owners would be glad of. Or maybe it’s just part of that endless stream of people and pets and things that come into and go out of our life at random — leaving us conscious always of the mystery of it. And grateful for the joys and even sorrows it sometimes brings.