A few weeks ago we had to make the decision to have our much-loved tabby cat put to sleep.
We’ve had Pixie since Sam was around 3 years old; a tiny rescue, she very much chose us.
After discussing our family situation with the rescue centre, the lady said she thought she had a couple of cats that would fit the bill – as soon as we walked in with the Dude in his SN pushchair, this tiny scrappy tabby, ran straight up to us and on to our boys lap, purring like a motorbike.
The rest is history.
Pixie had enormous character – a diminutive diva, her growth stunted as a result of having had a litter before she was ready, her pneumatic purr the result of a tumour in her throat.
She and the Dude shared a very close bond.
Years before we considered an assistance dog, Pixie took it upon herself to sleep at our boys feet and wake us up by jumping on us when he had a seizure at night.
She wanted to be the first to welcome him home from school, the first to sit on his lap and the first to make herself known to every new person who came through the door.
She even ‘mothered’ Merlin the golden retriever when he arrived as a puppy a few years later!
While her incredibly noisy purr was her trademark and allowed us to know she was coming from 100 yds (saving more birds and small rodents in the process than I can possibly imagine), it was ultimately the cause of her demise.
Although the tumour that caused her to be so noisy was removed during surgery before we adopted her, over the years it slowly returned and became cancerous.
While I was able to be with her at the end, the Dude wasn’t.
This is not my boys first encounter with death and loss; he’s had to say goodbye to too many friends in his short life, as well as his beloved Grandpa.
But with Pixie, this was an animal he saw every single day and we didn’t know how he would respond to this loss of his much loved furry friend.
It may not be everyone’s choice, but we opted to bring her home and bury her in our garden. It meant our boy could see her one last time and say goodbye.
I am forever glad that we could do this.
It was clear that our little guy understood - he never fails to impress us with his intelligence and understanding, as he gently nodded and squeezed my hand as I explained to him that she wasn’t suffering now, comforting me at the same time.
She was absolutely his cat, allowing him the opportunity to process her death in this way helped him understand.
Turns out it was cathartic for us all.