Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Every time I look at Mystic just now, I realise that he’s taking no notice of these famous words of Dylan Thomas.
Those of you who’ve followed any of these CATALOGUES will know that Mystic, Fluff and Felix were already old when they came to live with me almost a year ago. Mystic already had skin cancer, but was still physically strong and imposing, and it was clear that to the ‘boys’ of 16 he was still, at 18, the leader they followed admiringly (Fluff) or resented bitterly (Felix).
They’ve had their squabbles since then but I was touched from the beginning by Mystic’s tendency to wash any part of the other two he might happen to come into contact with during poly-feline cuddles with mummy. I suspect that whether he’s actually their dad or their older brother, he has played some parental role in their kittenhood.
The balances of power and tides of affection are now shifting. Fluff leaps happily upon my lap when Mystic has decided he’s had enough cuddle for today – which he now decides more frequently. Felix’s reaction is fascinating to me. He’s much calmer than he was, since his special kidney diet has stopped him feeling so hungry all the time. He’s not hitting Mystic so often! However, I’ve seen him several times stand close to Mystic and stare at him, sniff his nose (from which of course a bad smell now issues), and pat him tentatively with one paw. Yesterday he even touched foreheads with Mystic. However, this is not all good news, since he’s made up for it by chasing Fluff round the room now and then to maintain his toughcat cred.
Mystic is a gentle soul, and is wandering gently now along the path he needs to take, towards The undiscovered country, from whose bourn/ No traveller returns
Of course he may not perceive himself to be nearing the dying of the light, but he’s very calm and contented, and no cat-lover could avoid calling this resignation and dignity. He’s withdrawing from lots of things: eating less, seeking cuddles less often but snoozing in the next chair on his nice towel. He likes to be outside as much as he can, so I have had my wish that he might enjoy at least part of another summer. And he’s made it to 19; his baby brothers are both now 17.
His weight is coming off rather quickly, his nose worsens each day, his energy is lower. But there’s no sign of distress or pain, and while he’s eating enough to get by and enjoy his simple pleasures I won’t be summoning the vet precipitately.
His purr is fine – every time I hold him it reverberates till my teeth rattle. A lovely cat, a good friend. I hope he can stay for a little while at least.