A Week Without My Cat [en]

[fr] Une semaine depuis la mort de Bagha. Difficile, mais aussi plus facile que ce que je craignais, d'une certaine façon. Merci pour tous vos messages de sympathie.

Chalet and Surroundings 62: Steph and Bagha

Bagha died a week ago. It’s been a difficult week. In some ways, however, it’s been easier than I feared.

I felt like it was the end of the world when he died. A week later, I realize I’m still alive despite the pain, and life goes on. I have good friends and a lot of supportive people around me, and my catless days are made up of more and more “normal” moments, and less and less “distressed” ones.

My life at home is having a hard time feeling anything close to normal, however. I miss Bagha terribly. I want my cat back. I know I can’t, of course — “wanting him back” is one of the ways I’m struggling to accept he’s really dead. With Christmas and impending travel, I feel like I’m not having enough down-time at home to process the emotional turmoil I’m in, or simply let it settle.

I have a lot to write, but I’m finding it difficult to actually accomplish much these days. I have two blog posts underway (one Bagha-related, the other about something else) but I’m stuck in the middle, something that almost never happens to me. Stress, grief, nothing alarming of course, but I’m not used to finding it so difficult to function in this way. So, amidst a potential slew of India-related posts while I’m there, expect to find a fair number of Bagha-related ones.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you might have seen that I have finally decided not to take Bagha’s ashes back to India. Bagha belonged here, with me, in this Swiss garden that was his home for the last eleven years. This is where I want his ashes — not far, far away in India, even though he was born there. I don’t want to do things in a rush, either, so I’ll wait until I’m back (I have two days left to pack and sort out everything before my departure).

Thanks again to everyone for your kind words of sympathy and support. It means a lot to me.

Bye-Bye Bagha (1996-2010) [en]

My beloved Bagha died last night of a heart attack.

Bagha @eclau 3

As all of you who know me can imagine, I’m devastated. Bagha has been my constant companion through the last 11 years — at home and at work, from India to Switzerland, and the cuddly purrball of my often lonely nights.

Bagha was an extraordinary cat with a lot of character and a quite incredible early life story. By some weird twist of fate, in less than two weeks I’m heading back to the precise place in India it all started a little over 14 years ago. My plan is to take Bagha’s ashes with me.

I knew I’d have to write this post one day, but I really thought I’d have more time to prepare for it. Bagha was FIV+ and had a heart condition, and he’d been showing clear signs of ageing and slowing down these last two or three years. But I thought he would continue slowing down, or develop complications due to his FIV status. I didn’t imagine it would be this brutal.

His last day was very normal: out for a stroll, back in for some food, a cuddle, and the beginning of his long day-time naps. He spent the afternoon on the bed while my friends and I baked Christmas cakes, coming over to help us clean egg-yolk mess from the floor (a rare treat for him).

We heard him crying out early evening and found him trying to hide under the bed, in pretty poor shape. Though we rushed him to the emergency vet, his heart was too damaged, his body temperature was dropping, and there was nothing to do but let him go.

Facing life without Bagha is a bit scary. I sometimes said we were like an old couple. We knew each other well, had our habits, and our lives integrated pretty seamlessly. I moved into this flat with him 10 years ago. He’s been the resident cat at eclau for the past two years.

I wonder how much time it will take for me to stop expecting him to show up or be in the garden when I come home. How long I’ll wake up in the morning surprised that he isn’t on the bed, or hasn’t woken me up to be let out.

I miss him terribly.

A lot of people knew Bagha. He was already famous in IUCAA (Pune) when we were living there. He quickly made a name for himself in his new Swiss neighbourhood. He’s had a good handfull of catsitters during the last 10 years, who came to live in my flat and care for him while I was travelling. He has fans online and offline, not least through eclau.

I can’t face telling everybody who knew him personally right now, so forgive me if you learned this sad news through this blog post.

Bagha was a great pet, and I know I treated him well, and he had a great life. There are worse ways to go, too. I’m thankful he was a part of my life for as long as it lasted. And I think that everybody who crossed paths with him, for a few minutes or much longer, was lucky for it.

Bye-Bye Bagha. You were loved. You’ll be missed.