Yesterday, I found out that my brother’s cat was bitten by a tick and tragically died.
Well to be perfectly honest, Archie wasn’t exactly my brother’s cat. Archie’s official residence was actually across the road. However, Archie and my brother formed a special connection where the distinctions between human and cat disappeared.
“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.”
Not that Archie was a particularly friendly, smoochy kind of cat. Rather, he was actually quite timid, reserved and you could even say aloof. Mum and my brother would often pander to his latest food interest and leave him bits of cheese or gourmet ham to tempt him in. However, any loud noises, and he’d disappear into the darkness.
This reminds me that Archie usually turned up after dark. On our visits, the kids used to look out for him scampering down the driveway and there’d be loud whispers that “the cat had arrived”. He was like rock star royalty turning up…a very much loved, cherished and anticipated feline super star. Probably that’s because he wasn’t our cat and he came and went as he pleased. There were no guarantees he was going to turn up, making us ever so happy and grateful to see him.
“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
Robert A. Heinlein
In this regard, you could say he was a typical cat. Indeed, I’m sure that’s what my dogs would say. If you want a loyal friend who’s always thrilled to see you, why would you ever get a cat when you could have a dog?!!
“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
The strange thing was that for many years we didn’t know Archie by name and he was simply “the cat”. We didn’t know the neighbours across the road either. I can’t remember quite how they broke the ice but eventually we found out his name was Archie and that their other cat, was dying after eating lillies from a funeral. So, Archie officially moved into my parents’ place, while the other cat slowly passed away.
It was probably during the death of the other cat, that the two families came together and the walls of suburbia started crumbling down. That our shared love of Archie brought us all together. Mum and Archie’s other Mum would chat beyond Archie, developing a special friendship where love extended beyond ownership, fences and modern busyness.
There was never any mention of jealousy or he’s “my cat” and the neighbours were more than happy to share Archie with us. No one ever accused Archie of infidelity either.
Now, Archie is gone.
There’s a void. Such a void.
While you could say that a cat is just a cat and you could go out to a farm and easily pick up a handful of them, Archie wasn’t any ordinary cat. No pet is. They have their own personality, quirks and habits. They’re a one off.
Initially, I thought my brother should get another cat. It might seem callous, disloyal but it reminds me of a cheeky saying from back in my single, dating days:
“If you can’t have the one you love, then love the one you’re with. If you can’t love the one you’re with, turn off the light.”
Not good advice, especially when you get dumped all over again.
Moreover, every cat is different and Archie can’t be replaced.
“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
So, we say farewell to our feline fella.
Goodbye and Good night. Archie, you were one of a kind.
Anyway, I thought Memory from Cats would be a fitting tribute to Archie.