this time, he won’t come back – a love-letter to affe
When I was 12 (which was yeeeeeeeeeears ago – actually, about 15) we got a new family member – a small kitten who would’ve otherwise been put down. We had lost our cat Roope about 2 months earlier when he was only 5 years old and we all wanted another cat to keep us company (and be adored). The tiny kitten was named Affe by my father (we only later found out that Affe means monkey in German), and became a calm but strong cat, who brought us gifts in the form of rats, mice, snakes and once, a squirrel. He was an outdoor cat, but did mostly sleep indoors (except in the summer). When he was still a kitten, we took him to the summer cottage and let him roam. He was lost for about a week and just as we were giving up on ever seeing him again, he showed up, thin, scared, covered in ticks, but well.
Today, he passed away at almost 15. Last time I visited my mum’s place a month ago he was still going strong, despite being so old. For the past couple of weeks he didn’t eat well, and 2 days ago he started breathing in a strange way. This morning, as my mother was taking him to the vet, he died. I’m glad he didn’t suffer for too long and I’m glad I’ve always given him as much love as he has permitted me to each time I’ve visited – but it will be weird going there now and not feel the weight of that fluffy, squirmy (he didn’t like being lifted very much…), forest-smelling beauty. I miss him a lot, more than I dared to think I would. But I’m also very happy that he did come back that one time so I could grow up with him, smell him, feel his warm fur and see the excitement and the laziness that somehow seemed to combine seamlessly in that small being.
It is mostly for my own peace of mind that I’m going through my pictures of him and posting them here, but you’re welcome to enjoy the journey with me.
This is one of the last pictures I took of Affe, in the beginning of the year. He was still very curious and aware of his surroundings…
… and aware that he was the most beautiful person in the house.
I loved the little X he had on his nose…
He lived for 15 years, despite crossing a pretty big road every day. Sometimes we heard from other people in the village that he at times came and slept in their garden, if they gave him a bit of food. He was mostly after the food and attention, but at the same time, he spread warmth around him – and not only for us.
Snow was never a problem…
… nor was summer.
Christmas was always fun, with all the toys to play with (a decorated tree, gift wrap…).
Like for everyone, it was also a bit tiring.
He was an outdoor cat, but he also enjoyed the warmth of the house very much, and the constant access to food most of all… I really appreciated his company.
He even had the chance to meet Amira, the cat me and my partner live with here in Helsinki. It ended with her kicking him out of the house for a couple of weeks (despite her tiny size).
I miss him incredibly, but I’m also very happy about all the time I got to spend with him. The most important thing is that he had a good, comfortable life, a lot of freedom and didn’t suffer much near the end. Bye – I miss you, Affe.