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I walked with my family into the vet, my eighteen-year-old cat in the box we carried between us. She had kidney failure, and was going to be put down.
She had always been my special friend—she would sleep on the end of my bed, she had literally lived her whole last two years in my room, her litter tray, food, and water had all been in a corner near my heater. She was my cat, and I had loved her.
We walked slowly into the room where a vet was waiting, with a syringe full of greenish anaesthetic, next to a metal table, where Rudi, my cat, had spent a good part of the last month or so lying while the vets tried to keep her alive. Today they were going to kill her, and she would never lie next to me while we slept, snuggled close together, again. I started crying, but no tears came, because I had cried myself dry when I had heard that she was going to be put down. She mewed softly as I stroked her.
The vet approached with the syringe. She poked it into a vein on Rudi's hind leg, causing her to start, but she calmed down as I kept stroking her. The greenish liquid started to drain into my cat.
Only a quarter of the injection went in before her eyes rolled backwards.
It was saddening to see how little strength she had left to oppose the chemicals; how she gave up so easily. She had never been an energetic cat, although once or twice she had brought me a mouse or a lizard, but now she let go as easily as if her paws were greased, as if what she was trying to hold onto was as insubstantial as jelly.
We went home, Rudi's body wrapped in a towel. My cat, a friend better than most humans, was a corpse lying in my arms. And I could never form a bond that close with an animal without betraying her memory, and so she left an empty space in me that would remain for years to come.
We buried her in the middle of a flowerbed in our front garden. Two paving stones, surrounded by foxgloves, marked her grave. I cried again, dried as I was, to see her go down into the ground like that, finally.
We had a mock funeral; we all stood around her grave and threw flowers onto it.
None of us said much, but we all cried. And the agapanthus and roses and foxgloves and pineapple sage all lay on the paving stones, and we went inside to sit around the table silently.
Ironic, isn't it, how probably before long it was widdled on by one of our other cats, Toby or Little. Or perhaps the stray grey cat we had once met, aptly named The Starving Million by my grandmother. But still my cat was buried then, no matter how abused her grave might become. And that was a finality, something that would remain, unchanged, buried under thirty centimetres of dirt.
Alex Pappas, 7D.