“Tony has been missing for 7 nights,” reads the text from Dad’s new caregiver, John.
“We are looking and calling for him,” the next text reads, “We are sad.”
Grief strikes my heart. I push it aside to think about later. I push it aside later with Nicol’s parting theory: He must have made friends with a neighbour.
“Crying…” reads a new text from John a couple days later, “Thankful for our time getting to enjoy his ever so sweetness.”
I’m confused until the next text arrives.
“We just found Tony in the pool.”
Grief strikes back.
I push it aside.
I’ll feel it later, I tell myself. He was just a cat, I whisper.
Tony was a cross-eyed kitten from Vancouver. Lacking in feline social skills and rejected by the other household cats, Tony turned to spraying our mainland couches, tents and other expensive items in protest.
“Your cat is sleeping on the kitchen table again,” Dad would say when I called.
After much discussion, Tony moved to the farm with Dad in the hopes he would settle into an island farm cat.
Again, it was a difficult transition as the shitzus and Samson, the old cat, who didn’t appreciate his in-your-face personality either. Tony spent a lot of time outside, on top of parked cars and in the peak of the barn’s open window.
But slowly, the dogs stopped chasing him, and Samson let him be. Tony, too, was more humble in his demeanour and an animal harmony had begun.
These past few months, a new tradition had formed. I would arrive home to the farm and open my bedroom door to let the warm air in.
Come bedtime, Tony and Samson would be waiting for me on my bed. Competing over territory, it was lovely.
“He is now buried under the tree in the backyard,” texts John.
I think I put aside grief because it’s a familiar pain and I don’t want to feel it again. I think I put it aside because I know how much more of it lies before me.
Dad and I never mention Tony. Perhaps he feels the same way.