Today we (R, me and Slate) are bereft. We had to let go of Mango last night, suddenly but not unexpectedly. She had a blood clot this fall and the vet said the next one would likely be worse. It was. The last hour was unbearably painful for all, the end mercifully quick.
Slate is the big bad boy, but right from the start, Mango was always the tougher one. She came out of the box first when I brought them home. She held her own with her brother despite his advantage in fighting weight. She growled at the UPS driver and interloping cats in the field. She was sure someday she could take down a chicken.
Mango hated the car rides but once she got to the camper on the farm all was forgiven. She discovered she could catch grasshoppers. At first she thought she could catch a llama, but her size vs distance scale was a bit off; the eyes got huge when she realized how big they really were. She sashayed out to the garden to survey her domain from atop a stump, where she could keep her paws clean. Outdoors really would have been better in Mango’s opinion if it had been paved, swept or carpeted.
I have never had as affectionate a cat as Mango. Her great disappointment was that Slate would never sit still for a washing. She was an insistent occuppier of any available lap, even in a hammock. Call her name and she would start to purr. We called her “happy cat” and she was. Getting the wood stove was the best thing we’d ever done as far as she was concerned. Some mornings she would look at us as if to say, “the fire is broken, can’t you fix it?” Then she would climb up into the rocking chair and wash and rock herself to sleep.
Slate and Mango. Mango and Slate. They were littermates who have only spent a total of two weeks apart in their lives, two times when Mango was sick. They had a normal sibling rivalry, but whenever something bad or scary happened, they were together. He watched, confused and upset, as we rushed out the door with her wrapped in a blanket. He knew it wasn’t right when we got back last night. Both times before, he would look for her until we brought her back. This time he needed to know Mango wouldn’t be coming home. So this morning before we buried her, we took him out to see her body. He’s a cat—I didn’t expect him to grieve or anything humanlike, but I knew he would recognize the finality of it. He sniffed her all over and even licked her fur a few times, then moved back and crouched nearby. Now there is only Himself. He will adjust; we all will eventually.
Come springtime, we will plant Mango’s favorite, catmint, on her grave and put her stump nearby. We were lucky to get to keep her as long as we did. She was another of God’s little angels sent to take care of us and she did a mighty good job. We won’t forget her, and in time we will have more love for more animals, but today it hurts. It’s going to be a long cold winter without the magnificent Mango in my lap.