The Bargain We Make

We bring home a small furry bundle. It doesn’t matter whether the little bundle mews or barks. Ours generally mew.

Sometimes it’s fully grown. Still doesn’t matter.

The point is, when you do, you’re making a bargain with your future self. And you’re firmly not thinking about it.

Because that adorable fluff bundle in your lap, you’ve already fallen in love with it. Even if it’s still unhappy with you and not quite house-trained yet. Or whatever adorably disgusting habits are already ingrained into the little beast.

But the bargain that you make is that you know the time you have is too short. You hope for the maximum. You pray for more than that. For a cat, a cat who never goes outside, it’s not unreasonable to hope for 15 marvelous years. Maybe even a little longer.

But that’s not enough. Someone once said that the tragedy of loving a pet is that our lives are so long, and theirs are so damned short.

Erasmus is 12 and a half. My sweet baby boy. After innumerable tests by three different vets in two states, and several different guesses–finally a diagnosis. The one we feared. He has intermediate-cell cancer.

He confused the issue for a few months by holding his weight while being treated for IBD, but that wasn’t it. Now he’s on chemo.

At the moment, he is fine. He acts completely normal. He’s just skinny. It’s his humans who are wrecked. We know his time is running out faster than it is supposed to. He thinks life is pretty sweet, except for the weekly trips to the vet. Meanwhile, he’s getting spoiled rotten.

I know that there are friends waiting for him at the Rainbow Bridge. Zade, our playful Scheherazade, was taken from us far too soon. Jennyfur is waiting to box his ears. And Erasmus needs to take a message to my beloved Licorice for me, to tell him that I still miss him after 16 years.

But I am so not ready for him to take that message yet. Not ready at all.


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