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A few weeks before leaving for my photographic trip, I was housesitting for a close friend of mine. My friend happens to look after one of my cats, Starex Bellatrix Carina
(due to a no pet policy where I live). Recently, my friend started looking after her parents' 15 year old cat, Kosmo, as he had not been well. Kosmo developed a limp in his front left paw and had lost his appetite. The vet said that Kosmo may have had a stroke, and, X-rays revealed that his heart had enlarged to three times its normal size.
The vet prescribed some pills as well as a quarter aspirin every three days. He didn't like taking his pills, and, would cleverly pretend to have taken them. When I'd come back to his room, I'd see two little white tablets sitting there on the carpet where he had spat them out after I left the room! I got wise to it and started squirting some water into his mouth to make him swallow. He didn't like me for that, but, would still allow me to scratch his chin and cheeks right afterwards.
When I started housesitting, I became quite close to Kosmo (I'm a cat person). Kosmo slowly started showing signs of improvement by walking on his front paw where previously, it was buckling under his weight. He started scoffing down his chicken liver pate meals and didn't mind his cat biscuits, either.
Bella and Kosmo tolerated each other, but, if they happened to get close, there'd be hissing, grumbling and on a few occasions, Kosmo took a swipe or two at her with his good paw.
Kosmo lost his voice a few years ago, but, if he wanted to, he could still make soft meowing sounds. It was quite unique, though, as he would aspirate some air first and then meow; it was like a cackle then meow. I got used to it and thought it was very cute. Kosmo started visiting me in the middle of the night; he would jump off his bed in the spare room, walk over to where I was sleeping, to say hello and steal a pat. Or, sometimes, to meow for some food. He would also come and sit at my feet when I was eating food and would often prop himself up to let me know that he was also interested in my meal. I would gladly share.
I was at Fox Glacier on the night of the 15th of September, when my friend rang to tell me that Kosmo had taken a turn for the worse in the preceding few days; he hadn't been eating and just lay on his bed all day. She took him to the vet to find out what was wrong. X-rays revealed an inoperable tumour on his heart. It was only found now as it had gotten a lot bigger. The vet said that he didn't have too long to live and my friend was left with the decision to either come home and find him lying motionless, or, worse, make the rotten, gut-wrenching decision to have him put to sleep. After much discussion and thought, she chose the latter. I bawled my eyes out when she told me that his time had come. I'm wiping tears away as I write this now, too. How silly -- he wasn't even my cat!
I dedicate this stream of first light painting Walter Peak, moments after the sun had risen, to Kosmo. I will miss your quiet voice and your midnight visits.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
1s f/16 at 150.0mm iso100