Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Adieu Angus

Sad day for Swiss Family Hendricks.  This animal-loving, animal-centric, animal-focused family lost one of our clan today.  My lovely 15-year old cat Angus.

Angus was picked up off of the rough streets of Montreal's south shore in 1995.  C2 actually chose him  at the SPCA, intrigued because this small grey and orange kitten insisted on boxing with him through the wires of his cage as if saying "pick me, pick me!".  Once home, that small grey and orange kitten stretched out his legs, had a bath and presented himself as a snow white and orange full-grown cat.  He's kept us laughing and loving ever since.  He loved to walk on the balcony flower boxes of our 2nd floor apartment in Snowdon systematically chewing the tops off of my Pansies.

In 1998, he and his cat, Cobie (he's never been our cat, always Angus's) made the move to Calgary with us where I worried about our busy street and they lived their lives largely as reluctant indoor cats, perched in the kitchen window, secretly pushing out the screen and seeking escape at all opportunities.  It was in Calgary, that Angus met Murphy, our yellow Labrador.  Murphy has always viewed Angus as her surrogate mother and higher on the Swiss Family Hendricks food chain.  He also welcomed J, whom he viewed with considerable more suspicion.

In late 2005, Angus, Cobie, and Murphy made the move with us to Geneva.  I spent an anxious, sleepless night, awaiting their arrival.  The only comment made by customs upon receiving the 3 animals was"'Quel beau chat, ce Angus!".  In Geneva, Angus lived the best years of his life.  The doors to our garden were open 9 months of the year.  He loved to chase butterflies, stretch out under our enormous Rosemary bush or behind a terracotta flower pot and watch the world go by on the other side of the fence.  He adored prowling around late into the evening, blatantly ignoring my whistles and calls until it suited him and then slept every night curled up on some part of me purring like a runaway motor.

I am relieved that at his age, he does not have to be subjected to another move, that he was able to finish his life in the place where he was happiest.  As painful as today was watching him die in my arms, it was both peaceful, and beautiful.  My voice was the last he heard and my face the last he saw.  It was a gift to both of us.