Our little family unit is down one (auxiliary) member. A few days ago, Auntie Suzanne and Uncle Pookie's elderly cat died during the night. She was with me for twelve years, and the people I got her from said they'd had her five years, so she had a good run. Moreover, she'd become increasingly decrepit, so her death was a relief in a way; we'd have had her euthanised already if we hadn't sentimentally not wanted her last hour or two alive to be filled with terror (she didn't like strangers, animal or human, and riding in the car absolutely terrified her.) But oddly enough, once she was dead, in our minds she went from what she'd been these last months back to what she was when she was before she became unhealthy, and we miss her.
Uncle Pookie most of all, perhaps, as Kitty had become his official (constant, anyway) lapwarmer and computer companion. But he's had to be away a lot this week, and it occured to me one night that in our whole marriage, I've never been completely alone in the house, Kitty was always there. (One overnight post-op stay at the vet excepted.) It's odd her not being here. What am I supposed to do with dropped ice cubes or cereal bowl dregs now?
It's also weird not having a pet. I've sworn for years that, when Kitty went, I'd never have another cat. She was a reserved, grouchy cat who suited us very well, as well as being the prettiest cat in every neighborhood we've lived in, having very soft, pettable fur, having no bad habits, and (until she became old and decrepit) being really clean and not being susceptible to fleas; I have no confidence in our lucking out like that again, and besides which, I'm tired of cleaning the cat box. But I don't feel up to housetraining a dog right now, so I guess we're going to be petless for a long time. Having a husband to lavish affection on, a pet doesn't mean as much to me as it did when I was a child or teenager. But you do get used to having them around, don't you? I can't quite imagine never having a pet again. It's weird enough not having one now.