The Bittersweet Freedom of Catlessness [en]

[fr] Visite féline durant le mois à venir. Je garde Kitty, le chat d'une de mes anciennes cat-sitteuses. Juste retour des choses, et occasion d'une réflexion sur ma vie sans chat/avec chat.

Bagha's spot on my desk

I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite a few months. What prompts me to write it now is that there is a cat in my flat, and will be for the next month. Kitty belongs to a friend of mine, who is going abroad for a month. She used to cat-sit Bagha back in the day. So, I’m taking care of Kitty for her while she’s away.

Kitty is a shy character, maybe a leftover of her past life as a stray. I have been trying to coax her out from under a piece of furniture with little bits of ham — and my plan for making friends over the next weeks involves clicker-training. You’ll get photographs once she comes out of hiding.

Over the last months, saddened though I was by Bagha’s death, I have been enjoying the freedom of catlessness. I have travelled a lot (maybe too much), and appreciated being able to stay elsewhere overnight on a whim without feeling bad about leaving my cat alone. (One could discuss how justified feeling bad about leaving Bagha alone for a night was, but that’s another topic.)

Now that I’m clearly out of the acute stage of grief, and that my catless life seems very normal, I wonder how I’ll feel about giving up some of that freedom again for furry companions. Of course, the freedom you give up for an animal when its young and healthy is not the same as when it is old and declining. (Kittens, though, are another story. I’m not sure I want kittens. Kittens are cute. Of course I’d love kittens. But I’m not sure I want to go through a year of having baby cats in the house.)

I’m not finding it too difficult to enjoy my freedom. I thought I would be more conflicted about it. Feeling bad about being happy to be free [because I don’t have a cat anymore]. I was a bit, intially. Now… sometimes I even forget to be sad. I think that’s a good sign.

This month with Kitty, in addition to helping out a friend, is also an opportunity for me to be “with cat” again. Another cat than Bagha. I mentioned that one of the things I needed to do to sort through my grieving emotions was separate my sadness of losing Bagha from my sadness of being catless. Maybe the coming month will be a chance to tie up a few loose ends around that theme.

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