How do you even grieve when you lose a pet you love so much? Is it even normal to feel your heart break into a hundred tiny pieces and know that somehow, a piece will always be missing no matter how many years have gone by.
Until now, I am still coming to terms that Sayuri, the domestic fur ball I picked off the streets, is gone.
To some, they will say “pusa Lang naman yan… Andaming pusa sa Kalye…” But for my husband and I, Sayuri is more than a pet.
I took Sayuri off the streets when Mike and I were barely a month married. I was doing the laundry while Mike went out to buy out afternoon snack. Just as I was hanging some of the clothes to dry outside, I saw a tiny black ball of fur being pawed by a huge dog. In spite being tiny, the kitten was staging one hell of a fight. I shooed the dog away, picked up the pissed off kitten and brought it inside. When Mike came back, he saw a tiny black head peering from the box of his basketball shoes.
Sayuri was there when the hubs and I were still struggling. She stood by us as we count our remaining savings and tightened our belts just to get by. Whenever her “kuya” and “ate” (we tell Sayuri we’re her ate and kuya) fight, she would hide behind the bed only to come out and make cute to whoever is more upset. When Mike and I went through a lot last year, she patiently stood by me and slept by my side, pawing me to sleep even in the midst of the darkest cloud in the sky.
When life started becoming better for Mike and myself, and we started enjoying the fruits of our hard work – Sayuri was there, of course, to revel into being the spoiled little cat.
Sayuri knew how to tug at our heart strings and used it to her advantage. She enjoyed having the best cat toys and even her own blankie, straight from my mom-in-law who lives in the UK. She preferred eating cat food and would snub the human food we offer except if it’s cheese flavored or soft veggies. That cat was obsessed with cheese and would battle it out with me whenever she had the chance. We always say that our cat ate better than us and we are happy to have given her so much privilege during her six years on earth.
Since Mike and I is still waiting for our little one, many would tell us that Sayuri was our “baby.” To a point, yes. But we’d like to think that we were a cohesive gang of three – composed of two crazy humans and a crazier diva cat. She was the constant subject of my endless less kwento and I never hesitated to always consider her welfare in everything we do: whether it be traveling or even choosing a new place to live. She was, to put it bluntly, the center of our little unit.
Her death came to us sudden and very swift. She has been lethargic and not eating for days but responded warmly to our hand feeding of milk and baby food. We were observing her and was able to breathe a momentary sight of relief when she started eating again and has even taken into stealing my father’s “pulutan.” She started to roam the house again until Thursday evening when she stopped walking and eating. She soiled the bed and can’t hardly stand by Friday evening. Panicking, we brought her first thing Saturday morning to the vet, but by then it was too late. The diagnosis was that she had been battling kidney failure and that her lover had deteriorated already. Her organs were also already affected and the vet had been brutally kind to let us know that at that stage, she was too far gone, was just a matter of time and best to make her comfortable. She passed away at 3:15 in the afternoon.
We didn’t see her breathe her last but was given the chance by the vet’s assistance to privately said our goodbyes. Mike massaged her face and closed her eyes (which was partially open, like it normally would when she was sleeping) and I was able to kiss her one last time. I told her that I was sorry for not beating the disease for her and that I will miss the times she would sit on my chest while I sleep. Or the times when I woke up in the middle of the night to see her face as she slept beside me. After properly saying our goodbyes, we gave her back to the vet. We chose to have her buried within the vet’s private burial area inside the compound where she’ll be with the other pets who passed away before her.
While I am too emotionally exhausted, by evening I managed to convince myself that Sayuri is now in a better place and is now free from the many diseases that ravaged her body. I only wish I knew sooner. Her last visit to the vet earlier this year did not yield anything. In stead of entertaining the many “what ifs” still plaguing my mind, I chose to just be glad that Mike and I were blessed to have six years with an extraordinary cat like Sayuri.
They say that having a pet is a commitment and I agree. When you choose a cat or a dog, you have to realize that it will go beyond their baby years when they are still cute balls of fur. Our pets are heavily depended on us for their needs and by taking them in, that is already akin to signing a contract that you will care for them-both in sickness and in health.
When we took in Sayuri, she also taught us about the responsibilities of having and owning a pet. She taught us unconditional love (and that being notoriously cute and wily will get you things – but that’s another story 😺) and that a pet’s love is priceless.
Good night my Princess Sayuri. Play now and run free.