Inside MiNDFOOD Australia, June 2019
Inside MiNDFOOD Australia, June 2019
Goodbye old friend
By Michael McHugh
It’s a job no-one wants to do, but it fell to me. But more about that later. Ash came to us as a hideaway cat. I say hideaway as he would hide for months in our ancient dusty garage, sleeping in the kids’ old baby bassinet that was packed away on a top corner shelf. Each time I went into the garage his head would pop up and he would meow, climb down and circle my legs, demanding a scratch around his ears and neck and on top of his head.
He was a beautiful-looking cat, a Chartreux breed, soft grey with a long and strong body with golden eyes. He loved being tickled around his ears, neck and head, and would often communicate quite loudly when he was bored, lonely or wanting to be fed. The only drawback for Ash is we had a dog, Pippi Kathleen who ruled the roost. A Jack Russell with an attitude to match, she would stop cars in the street and demand they drove around her.
So when Ash joined our household, things changed for Pippi. She was outraged that a cat of all things was now part of the family, and would bark at Ash if he dared come into the house. All hell broke out if we picked him up for a cuddle in front of Pippi.
Very quickly, the lines were drawn. Pippi was the inside pet and much-loved dog, Ash was the outside pet, and over time much loved, but a real hunter-gatherer. They seemed to have some unspoken rule. As soon as Pippi finished eating her dinner, she would race to Ash’s bowl and eat his. He would be quite happy to let her get away with finishing off his bowl of food every night. When Pippi choose to stretch out in the sun outside and have a nap, Ash would move further out into the garden and have his nap.
When Pippi died, Ash seemed a bit lost without his bossy pal. Eventually, he started coming inside the house and taking over the warmest parts of the house – often on our son, Henry’s bed. He loved the company and would stretch out, wanting to be patted and snuggling in for a cuddle.
As time moved on, Ash got slower and eventually became blind … his hunting days were well and truly over. It was sad to see him bump into furniture and the area he moved in was very small, going from sleeping to eating and repeating the cycle. The vet said he had dementia and arthritis in his legs. Yet he still loved a scratch around his head, lying stretched out in the sun, and he would still respond to our voices or the sound of the back door opening.
The decision to put poor old Ash down as his quality of life had diminished had been talked about, and now the day had arrived. Walking out of the vet in tears, it was sunset. The most brilliant full moon waited for me and at the same time at the end of the street a bright coloured sunset sky glowed in orange and red. Both parts of the day coming together, one to say goodbye, the other rising for another adventure. Goodbye Ash, thanks for choosing us, it’s been quite a ride.
*Get a copy of the June MiNDFOOD Australia to read the full version of this editorial.
Also inside the June issue of MiNDFOOD Australia:
America’s favourite female comic, Julia Louis-Dreyfus opens up on her battle with breast cancer, being a role model and ‘Veep’. From broken lives, we find beauty in a Jordan refugee camp. Fine-tune your moral compass: is being ethical more of a challenge in today’s social media-driven world? Travel to destinations far and wide; Iran, Tasmania, the Serengeti and Amazon. Fifty and fabulous: why ‘over the hill’ is now something to be celebrated. Fantastic food flavours: Cool Kohlrabi & how to cook with it; 8 immune boosting recipes; and wonderful winter warming recipes.
Subscribe today, and get your monthly dose of Smart Thinking delivered direct to your door.