With thanks to Em for translation:
Everlasting Memories of Silver
I did think about writing about cats every week from now on.
It has been five years since I moved out to live on my own and over these five years, I had almost forgotten about cats. Until I 'took charge' of Gold and Silver Granny, when cats re-entered my life. All my black t-shirts became covered in gold and silver hairs and this provided me with plenty of subject matter as many cat-related memories were revived. I received many mails from readers asking me to continue drawing cats and "East Touch" even wanted to do an
interview with Gold and Silver Granny. Here I thank them for their acceptance and encouragement.
I never thought that there would be a piece like this appearing, at least not this soon.
On 1st August 2006, at around 9am, Silver Granny passed away.
Digging out some old photographs, Silver Granny joined my family in 1987, when we adopted him from a foreign family. She is a type of Persian called Chinchilla and she was only one year old at the time. That is to say that Silver Granny's age was twenty and in cat years, this equates to 140, so this in itself was a miracle.
In fact, Silver Granny became inactive a few years ago as her body became skinny and tired, for an old cat like her, this was quite normal. When she came to my home, her lack of strength prevented her from leaping and each day after eating and stretching, she would return to her 'xiang pear' box to sleep, ignoring your calls or gestures as she truly lived out her years. Maybe a good thing is that she can no longer jump onto my TV to cough up furballs! Apart from
this comfort, I also had plenty of time to prepare myself mentally.
Earlier, her nose was running very badly and the vet said that this was due to an infection of her upper respiratory system. While we were there, a blood test was taken and she was suffering from kidney failure and a tumour was found near her stomach that was believed to be cancerous. This explains why she was eating, but was forever so skinny. These conditions are normal for an old cat and the vet even said that for a twenty year old cat, it wasn't bad at all.
Over the next two weeks, her illness took a rapid turn for the worse and although her nose stopped running, her weight did not improve. Maybe through her nose infection, her limbs became weak and strengthless and she was unable to climb back into her 'xiang pear' box, which is only eight inches high. On the Saturday, she was still able to eat on her own, but by Sunday she needed support before she could eat. In the early hours of Monday, her muscles retracted quite seriously and she had no strength to go to her litter tray. After she had been, then she turned and flopped back into the pool of urine before she gave out a few calls. With each call, my heart became more painful.
Illness and morale were both on a downward tumble and on Monday evening, she was not eating or drinking.
With nothing more we could do, the vet suggested we gave her an injection. I said: Give me one more day.
Twenty years is not a short time and from my time in Form 1 to drawing comics today, we have both witnessed each other growing up. It was fate that she returned to me just before she died, allowing me to share with everyone snippets from her life in this magazine. To be honest, people have selfish desires and I have always loved Gold Granny more. I hope she will forgive me for a frosty reception at times. Yesterday evening, she was in my arms all the time and even if her ears are deaf, I still spoke to her saying all the things I had not said from the last five years. Her muscles are no longer in her control, with no reactions from the cushion to her movement. When she first arrived at my current place, she loved to sit at my feet and I would shoo her away because I was afraid that the castors from my chair would roll over her tail. In the past, when she was weak from littering, I helped deliver her babies, a little life amid the blood of the placenta. My greatest shock was when I lived in Wanchai and she accidentally fell from our seventh floor balcony onto my neighbour's verandah on the first floor, but she did not suffer any injuries. It would seem that she has used up all of her nine lives and as I watch her life fading, she urinated a little and died in my arms.
She just waited for my mother to come and see her one last time, the rest of the family did not make it in time. This is a little regret amid the fulfilment, but we are grateful to her for all the joy she has brought to the family in the last twenty years and not to forget all the cat hair. Thank you 'Ah Fei' - Silver Granny's real name.
In the end, I spent a little money and sent her for cremation. For me, I did not want her to be sent to landfill and end up in the foundation for some real estate company's new luxury development or in some land reclamation project thought up by the government. She will have some dignity in her next life and not limping in her step like she did in this life.
Photos:Silver Granny in the 80's looking young and beautiful.
Silver Granny's four Silver Children.
Family portrait: Silver Granny and Silver Granpa, who died a few years earlier.
Silver Granny's elegant positions lying on the AV shield.
Living with animals from an early age, birth, old age, illness and death has been experienced on many occasions and becoming accustomed to the pain of departure has developed into an emotional and sensitive outlook. Thinking I had matured, thinking I was mentally prepared, but when it really happens it is still so very hard to bear. This feeling will only understood by people who have faced the departure of a pet or a relative. This issue, I can still write, but not draw. Please forgive me, readers.
The 'xiang pear' box that you love, I will keep. Go well on your way!
2nd August 06 4:15 am