Yesterday I spent several hours holding one of our cats, Jordan, knowing she needed love and attention. It was, sadly, the end of her battle against the ravages of age. I don't know how strange it is, but I spent much of the time telling her how much I enjoyed various things she did throughout life. I whispered to her and told her how much she had meant to me during the roughest patches of life.
She would fade in and out of sleep, exhausted. I've read research pointing increasingly towards emotions, memories, and even self-awareness in animals. I want to believe that Jordan knew how much I loved her as a companion.
Jordan and her sister, Mimi, have been with us for almost as long as my wife and I have lived together. That means they have been through the good and bad with us. I thought about those times a lot over the last few days as Jordan needed more care and attention.
For all my shortcomings, and they are many, the one thing I am certain I have done "right" for and with Susan is the cats. Though many things are on my mind, a litany of past failures and bad choices, I'll never doubt the cats. I will never, ever regret bringing our little pride / clowder together. Jordan and Mimi belonged together, and I don't think any two people could care for them better, or more, than Susan and I have.
Mimi is still healthy and active at 17. I've given her many hugs today.