Next month it will be a year since my cat Gimli disappeared. I still grieve about it. I still miss him terribly. He was amazing: so full of life, such a huge personality, such an imp. I loved him a lot. I haven't been this broken up since my first cat, Isis, died in 1988. I don't know why I bond so strongly with some of my cats. Maybe it's because certain of them have personalities that synch with mine in some mysterious way, and that fulfills a need for me that I don't fully understand. I've had so many disappointments, so many dreams squished, made so many bad decisions in my life, and maybe the affection of these inscrutable creatures is a kind of psychological balm. They're always there, consistently loving, yet unpredictable and fascinating. They know when I'm hurting and are content just to sit with, or on, me and commiserate.
A quick lick on the nose or a head butt from a lithe, sinuous, amazingly athletic predator goes a long way to make up for slights or other fallout from humans who really should have more understanding. That feline companionship is truly comforting when I'm sick or in physical pain. I always feel terrible when they're hurt or sick and my efforts to soothe or heal them don't seem to be working, or just take longer than I'd like to see results, because they're always there for me. They are perhaps not exactly my "children", but I am responsible for their well-being. I love them, and can't imagine life without them.
If I die while still harboring cats or any other animals in my life, I can only hope that some caring individual would take them in and care for them until the end of their lives. I guess I should set up a will with a section in it for just such a contingency. My husband is a good man, but I wouldn't want to burden him with the care of so many animals after my passing. He enjoys the cats on his good days, but taking care of animals isn't something he ever asked for. As I write this, a very old lady cat is sitting in my lap. She started out semi-feral and is now retired from the feral life. I hope I can end my days as gracefully as she is doing, and with my fur as unruffled.