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Monday, November 28, 2011

Goodbye Archie

The picture above is of my husband holding our cat, Archie. We had to put Archie to sleep about three weeks ago. I've mentioned it online but not dwelled on it too much. Having lost my father-in-law earlier this year, I thought maybe everyone had enough of 'Sad Rebecca' so I've managed to channel my sadness for our loss elsewhere.

But, Saturday my sister-in-law left our home carrying the remainder of Archie's stuff with her. She has a cat, Gypsy, who actually used to be our cat too. But Gypsy didn't like living in a house with dogs and so many kids running about. So Suzanne took her home to Maine with her to live in their farm house with one child, aged five, and no other animals. She's as happy as can be there. It seemed right that Archie's stuff go to Gypsy as they once lived together under this roof.

The removal of even his food dish from our home brought about another finality that I finally felt like blogging about.

Archie was eighteen years old. That is old for a house cat. He was salt-and-pepper and totally in charge of all the animals in our life. When I first met him, he was eight years old and he liked me. Sat right down on my lap. It was like he gave his permission to my husband to date me. When I would go away for one reason or another, either for work or travel, and then I would return, he would wake me at 3 AM purring in my ear to tell me he welcomed me home.

He was never sick, not until the end, when age finally caught up to him. And at some point it just became kinder to stop his pain.

My favorite memory of Archie came from when we were all living in Louisiana. My cat, Gypsy, had gotten outside. She came meowing at the door frantically and I let her back in. I'd had no idea she'd gotten out of the house. Following her in was a very irate dog. He ran into the house growling and chasing the cat. My own dog, a border collie, leapt up on the couch wanting nothing to do with the situation.

Before either my husband or I could react, Archie tore into the room. He jumped on top of the dog and kicked the heck out of the dog until the dog whimpered and ran from my house. Then Archie walked slowly and triumphantly back to his nap. Who needed a big strong dog? Turned out our dog was a coward. It didn't matter. We had Archie.

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