Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Cat Blogging: do kitties grieve?

Left: Peace Cat (black and white) and the late Grand Old Man, were always together.


Since the death of my beloved Grand Old Man, my youngest cat, Peace Cat, is alone.

He started out with us over six years ago in a household of three cats, and now he is the only one left.

Peace Cat loved to sleep next to Grand Old Man and fight with him. He also pestered him terribly and chased him everywhere. I used to adopt an "old man voice" and complain, imagining how he must feel, as Grand Old Man just looked so TIRED and weary of any more fun feline-games. Peace Cat, contrary to his name, loved to jump on him and bite his ears. Grand Old Man would loudly growl and whine, as if he just couldn't even muster up the energy to swat back at him. (The noise was meant to signal ME, to break it up.)

When Grand Old Man was sick, he huddled under an end-table. I found him when I was calling for him and he was too sick to respond; Peace Cat (just like the fabled TV canine, Lassie) went under the table, as if pointing to him. He licked his ears earnestly, as if to say (simultaneously): HERE HE IS!... and "I'm sorry for all those times I bit your ears!"

Peace Cat seems sad now. Am I projecting? Do cats grieve?

I ask because he did indeed seem to love Grand Old Man, and followed him everywhere.

Yesterday, I discovered Peace Cat near the window in the spare room, where Grand Old Man used to sleep during the day. There are still wads of gray hair in the window, that I can't bear to clean up yet.

I saw Peace Cat poking on the closed curtain. Poke, poke. I realized: OMG! It's one of the feline-games! He used to poke on the curtain while Grand Old Man slept. Eventually, Grand Old Man would poke BACK (cats simply can't contain themselves for very long in such circumstances, regardless of their age) and the feline curtain-game would be ON. That's how my curtain got all torn up, too.

And Peace Cat was poking the curtain, possibly hoping his old friend would reappear, and poke back through the curtain. Or just pretending and playing anyway?

Can kitties have hope and memories?

He waits for the answering swat through the curtain, that never comes. He looks as sad as I am. Is that possible?

(I miss him, too, PC. I miss him, too.)