Remembering Benny Chatting with Martine and Kate yesteday at yulblog, we were all reminded of how we needed to see and honour departed loved ones before cerimoniously committing them back to the earth. Benny was sixteen when he died. He came into my lfe, like most of my furry friends, as an abandoned cat. He was brought to me by a young neighbour who had been handed the cat one day in July. Someone in the process of moving decided they didn't want the little fellow anymore, and asked this little girl if she did. Knowing her mother wouldn't let her keep him, she came to me. Benny, was a real charmer. In fact, he managed to get one of my other cats, Edith, pregnant, before I realized that he was old enough to do so. He lived a pretty happy and eventful life--he actually managed to fall down an elevator shaft in a loft I rented in Old Montreal. He had a habit of sleeping on my head and digging his needle-sharp claws into my scalp when it was time for me to put food in his bowl. He'll always be remembered for being "Benny, the lap dancing cat" because he would roam from lap to lap at dinner parties looking for affection (kind of like his mistress). He'll also be remembered for the bad breath he had in later years and for being the life of the party at my mom's 80th birthday celebrations. Benny died in my arms a few weeks after that event, after quickly coming down with something pretty much incurable. Rather than subjecting him to trip after trip at the vet's, I decided that he should be allowed to drift away in the spot he called his--with me in my bed on the fluffy duvet. I finally nodded off and when I awoke in the middle of the night, Benny had, too. Death had been pretty much unknown to me up to that point. When I discovered his little lifeless body beside me, the "ick" factor that accompanied other encounters I'd had with dead things wasn't there. It was just Benny, as soft as ever, but still...oh so very still.

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