Losing a cat can be losing your best friend. Ashleigh Randall shares her own experience.
Our lives changed forever when our cat, Indy (Indianna), passed away in January 2021. Indy lived on this earth for 10 years and made our house a home by giving it its heart and soul. She filled our days with endless love and joy. She wasn’t just an ordinary cat, she had oodles of personality and an incredibly loud mouth. Her meows were extraordinary and she would have certainly been the star in a cat choir.
Her favourite toy was a stuffed catnip-scented fish and she loved nothing more than running to her round, colourful mat and exposing her belly (a signal to her human that she wanted a belly rub). She was my best friend and helped ease my anxiety, offering her unconditional love and acceptance.
Indy was by my side throughout all of life’s ups and downs, and transitions. Being an introvert, I spend a lot of time alone and prefer the company of animals (particularly cats). During my most difficult moments, I’m not sure how I would’ve survived without her. Perhaps I took her presence for granted because I thought she would always be there. When we lost her (to an aggressive form of lymphoma), a black cloud of grief surrounded me and I couldn’t stop crying. I missed her so much. I wondered if there was something more I could’ve done to prevent her passing, even though in hindsight I couldn’t have known how serious her condition was because her symptoms were relatively mild.
I began reflecting on my life and went through an existential crisis. Cats live simply, and I believe they teach us humans so much about life and living, especially living in the present moment.
Indy is still with us in spirit and I like to imagine her over the Rainbow Bridge. Nine months later, my partner, Dave, and I have adopted two adorable ginger kittens, Oliver and Leo, who have their own unique personalities too. We waited until we were ready to let another cat (we ended up with two brothers) into our lives and into our hearts. Both of us couldn’t imagine living our lives without cats but I’m glad we waited until the time felt right for us to adopt.
We’ve had to be patient with integrating Oliver and Leo into our household because they’re both anxious cats, but they have really made wonderful progress warming up to us and gaining more and more confidence every day. Although they will never replace Indy, our days are no longer empty and sad, because of them and because of the love we feel inside.
I take comfort knowing that Indy is watching us and I look forward to what the future holds. Indy will remain in our hearts for eternity. Until we meet again…