Me & Mister Jones
It's a year since Moosifer Jones, my most excellent cat about town and beloved nuisance, died. I did get a bit upset last night. As mentioned before, his death coincided with my PMT. Unfortunately, a year is not long enough for things to slide out of synch, so I think a lot of yesterday's sudden memories of misery were brought on by my own biology. Last night, for the first time in perhaps nine months, I opened the memory box.
As anyone who has had cats will know, you keep finding reminders all over the house for years. There are always sudden dust bunnies of shed fur, or an old claw sheath sticking into your bare foot when you could have sworn you'd hoovered the house two dozen times since. Those reminders become casual, almost an irritant: "yes, dead a year and there are still bits of him everywhere". All the same, those acts of accidental memory are different from consciously wanting to recall a love.
Inside the box are the things I consciously put away to be symbols of memory: the large purple sweater used in his bedding and which was used to carry him to the vets the last time (in turn full of memories of when I bought it in Paris, when I'd had Moosifer for about a year); the old toy mouse with the shredded string tail; the rainbow dyed bootlace which he used to attack whilst I tried to lace up my army boots; a tin containing a tiny bit of fur and a claw sheath (the "DNA box", as I call it*) and, most tender of all, his ashes. I am, of course, conscious that keeping a pet's ashes in the house is probably high on the "becoming a mad old cat woman" checklist. Yet I don't want to relinquish them. It's not even the zombie frog fear now, just an awareness that they are something I will retain.
The memories are much better than they were: I remember his determination to clamber over me every morning or his skill at sitting at precisely the right fulcrum point to prevent me moving, and his little "what's this?" frown, more than the last painful weeks. I've scanned in three more photos and uploaded them to flickr. These are him in my most typical memories: stalking, investigating and showing off. Look at him, the daft odd sod.
Anyway, if you have cats, please give them an extra fuss from me tonight or tomorrow (when it'll be the "year and a day" passing).
*I'm not planning to actually clone him. I just like saying I've got the genetic material ready.