It has been 64 hours and 18 minutes since I lost Nugget. Gradena Golden Nugget was a Supreme Grand Champion Alter under TICA. A title he earned when we did such things. More than that Nugget was a constant and steady companion in an ever-changing and challenging world. He arrived here as the third of our altered bengals. He was gentle and sweet. He never got angry and interacted freely with everyone. He followed me around, asking for fuss, as I watered plants.
Nugget loved to be involved and joined us for yoga, rebirthing workshops, repotting plants and various zoom meetings, since the very first lockdown. He is the last of the old guard and the oldest cat we have had here at 16 years of age. He helped make new cats and kittens at home as well as helping us raise kittens. He purred as soon as I was near him. He patiently let us clip his claws and bathe him. He loved playing fetch and even at 16 was spritely at climbing and jumping. His favourite spot was standing on my shoulder as I went about my tasks.
No words can express the loss I feel. To many the loss of a pet is no biggie. If that’s the case why am I spontaneously bursting into tears as I proceed to go through my regular day? I am making important decisions, taking assessments and exams, going about my daily chores. I am repeating to myself that losing a pet is the natural order of things, but when I stop and think of him, as I very frequently do, I feel unimaginable pain and loneliness. I’m a woman of logic, trying to find simplicity in everything; I expect to feel sad. The duration of that sadness unknown. The heartache and devastation are intense, but today feels like the moment he passed. I’ve slipped into survival mode.
His passing made a non-cryer like me wail in pain. For hours. Every ounce of pain and any slights I felt before felt insignificant compared to the emotional insult of losing Nugget. The ache in my heart has persisted since he went downhill. I dream of him and feel his energy trying to soothe my anguish of never hugging my boy again.
I have been through some stuff in life, particularly over the last 3 years and Nugget was a constant support. His presence alone was soothing. As I said goodbye to him for the final time, I was alone in a piercing silence that shattered any resolve I had left. These feelings of loss and devastation are also an experience in life. I just find it surreal that I go through this whilst non-pet owners may scoff. Losing a family member is something you may freely share but telling colleagues, “my cat just died,” just doesn’t adequately cover what I am going through. It doesn’t convey that I have lost a pillar of emotional support and security I have been taking for granted for the past 15 years. This constancy is only exceeded by the relationship I had with my late mother.
He wasn’t just a cat, he was a source of pure love and affection. He was calm and soothing. In this chaotic life, he aided my tranquility and now I have to find what he imparted within myself and bid my beautiful boy goodbye. Run free, sweet Nugget, over the rainbow bridge and be one with the bliss beyond.