The cat has not died. No worries. She continues to systematically destroy every nice thing that we own, and to inspire an ever-mounting sense of regret in Husband that he did not put his foot down when we merged our homes together about her tagging along.
He could have simply said there would be no room for her, since he was bringing enough furniture with him to take up all available space and eliminate any possibility of us buying new things together that would be ours. (He may have even said this, come to think of it. But who brings all of their entire life of furnishings into a second marriage?) He could have accidentally left the door open and she could have slipped off into the woods before the car left the driveway, making both Husband and some lucky coyote happy.
But here she is, and of course there is room for her. In fact, it turns out all of the rooms are for her. In the absence of mice to hunt, as was her assigned vocation pre-merger, she has gained a good five pounds and spends many hours a day sprawled out across the house, flaunting her fuller figure. When her current nap concludes, she jumps off the couch or bed with a prominent "thunk" that shakes the lighting fixtures, leaving behind a noticeable ring of cat hair on said furniture, stops to dig out a few new shreds of wood from whatever door jamb or chair leg she comes across on her way to selecting her next resting place and then promptly begins her next nap. And that is the sum of the cat's life.
Husband has tried to curb her appetite for shredding wood by bubble-wrapping and plastic-wrapping cabinet corners and stairway rails and the legs of many objects. This is a pretty effective deterrent, but makes me feel weird, like he may think any one of us could be a danger to the furnishings. And when I explain the purpose of the wrapping to visitors, they usually respond with "I was wondering what that was for," which means, "that is all kinds of OCD weirdness right there." Somewhere between Husband's OCD and my own condition (I call it "normal"), we find our bliss. Unless the cat has climbed into my lap and dropped 14 pounds of dead, furry weight onto me until she's good and ready to withdraw, which is a surefire way to kill a blissful mood.
Oh, cat. By my count, you are the fourth cat I have ever had. And you will be the last. I am so done with pets, and I can't help but feel the teensiest compulsion to hurry things along this time so I can finally get some new things. Cruel, you say? Oh, I'm not going to hurt her. Or stop feeding her, or anything else along those lines. Tomorrow I'll probably pour her a saucer of coffee from my own mug as usual, and she'll thank me by shedding a second animal's worth of fur on my bed while I'm away all day, maybe slicing a few fresh stripes in the bathroom doorway. We'll go on this way until, like all previous cats, she comes down with some bizarre cat ailment and slinks away to die, or doesn't slink away and forces me to take the less desirable route of removing her misery for her. That's how it is with cats. Whether we like it or not.
If only all of the nice furniture stores around here would stop going out of business, I'd have a lot more patience.