It's just about 3 weeks since my girl passed from this life. I've put her beds away, but I can't throw away the box she loved to sleep in. I look at it and see her there all curled up - content and peaceful. My Misty.
The day I got home without her, Duff proceeded to throw his toys around and dash from room to room. If cats could dance, well… "Have you no sense of decorum?" I asked. "I'm grieving here. A little respect, perhaps, for my process. Is that asking too much?" To his credit, he did sleep on my chest all night that first night - nudging me with his wet nose and giving me little bite kisses. That went on for hours. He even slept in Misty's favorite spot for an hour or two. To someone else, it might have looked like he was thanking me for getting rid of the bane of his existence, but I know he was showing his respect for Misty and comforting me in my grief.
Duff tells me it wasn't that he didn't like Misty. He liked her alright. He just hated sharing his space. It felt crowded to him. It was almost claustrophobic. During Misty's stay with us, Duff lived mostly in his carrier (which he loves - it's like his private bedroom). He never went into the bedroom, stayed under the dining room table for about 5 months until he didn't even go into the dining room area any longer. He felt pushed into a corner. The thing is, when I came home without Misty, the apartment felt huge to me. It felt so big, so spacious, almost empty. And very quiet. She was a little, unassuming cat, but if her energy made so much of a difference to me, a clumsy human being with limited sensors, what must it have felt like to Duff?
Cats, and all animals, are extraordinarily sensitive to energy, all kinds of energy, any energy, all energy. And although I was picking up on his feelings, I wasn't able to fully appreciate HOW it felt to him until I came home without her and experienced her absence. To me it felt like a cavernous emptiness; to Duff it felt like freedom.
Duff acts now as he did before we lived with Misty. He's everywhere, in my bed, on the bedroom window sill, on the couch, in the kitchen. He stretches out in the living room on his back with his big beautiful white furry belly exposed. He is, once again, finicky about his food and very annoying as he howls at 5:30 am for breakfast. He is king once again, reigning solo.
I've put away Misty's dishes, washed her beds and put them in the closet. I've framed her pictures and displayed them prominently on my bookcase. And soon, I suppose, I'll throw her box away, but for now, I have to have something of hers I can look at, something of hers I can touch. Duff doesn't seem to mind, although every once in awhile, I see him sauntering over to it and smelling it. Yesterday, he rubbed his face on the edge of it, claiming it as his own. I guess he's right. It's time to let go.