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  • Writer's pictureLiz Charpleix

Vale Parvi

I published my website a year ago, but wasn't happy with its design. For a few months now I've been working with the wonderfully cooperative, creative and competent Anthony Edmunds to create a website that I can love. Finally we've got it happening, and unfortunately the first post on the new site is a sad one.

Parvi at rest

In December I spent two weeks on a research trip to New Zealand, encouraged by my pet boarding home owners' assurances that they're used to accommodating old cats. Parvi was having his 17th birthday on the last day of my trip. When I picked the cats up, Parvi was floppy, which I put down to having interrupted his morning nap.

The floppiness did not resolve, so over the next three weeks, we visited four vets (thankfully, I still had plenty of space on the credit card after my trip). The consensus was that he did not have long to live, but, unwilling to accept that verdict, we persevered with his treatment. After all, when he was 16 years, 11 months and two weeks old, he was bright, naughty, loving and eating well. Why should two weeks away from home change all that?

But it had. He spent his days under the doona, crawling forward constantly, as if to escape the heat his body was producing, but unwilling to lie anywhere else.

Finally, as I cleaned him up after a toileting accident (though he was otherwise continent, usually determined to drag himself downstairs to the litter tray), he asked to be released from this undignified life. He wasn't in pain, I don't think, but he hated being syringe-fed and drip-hydrated. He went for one last, very long bushwalk, which I feared would be a one-way walk, but no, he tottered back home and we had a cuddle on the bed. He purred through his discomfort, one last cuddle.

I called my animal-loving friend Mel and she and her daughter Holly joined me in drowning my sorrows at the knowledge of what had to be done. The next morning, we said goodbye to Padma, and went to visit Dr Lynda. Parvi went to sleep quietly and painlessly.

That afternoon, Mel attended the wake I held for Parvi. He slept quietly on the table as we drank bubbles in celebration of a darling boy who'd lived a good life. For once he didn't leave muddy pawprints on the tablecloth (we didn't have a dining table for a long period, so he could never get his old head around the rules once we got one). We buried him in a [fake] fur lined casket and planted a Callistemon 'Dawson River Weeper' over his head.

Dawson River Weeping Callistemon for Parvi

It's a red-flowered tree, which the possums will love (this is a good thing, for a possum carer). All my other native blossoms are yellow, so (assuming I can keep Parvi's tree alive; my gardening skills are less reliable than my animal husbandry skills) it's going to be a glorious burst of brightness in my house paddock, just as my gorgeous Parvi had been for the 15 years we've lived here together.

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