cats & critters

In loving memory of Athena, my guinea pig

Friday morning, I woke up shocked to find my little guinea pig, Athena, had passed away. It looked like she had gone peacefully in her sleep the night before. At first, I really hoped she was just sleeping, and my heart sank and tears streamed down my face to see that she was gone. I knew her time was coming soon because I had her for over two years. Although some people say guinea pigs can live up to 5, even 10 years. However this guinea pig was rescued from being someone’s dinner, she was most likely inbred and had some genetic issues, so it’s actually quite amazing she lived this long. I’m so happy that she was able to experience life, rather than being someone’s food. After life with Athena, I really do have a soft spot for guinea pigs that I’ve never had before, and I definitely want to have more in the future. They make wonderful pets!

Athena really loved her two sister kitties, Venus and Luna. And they loved her too. They would play together — pawing her through the cage, she would run away but then run right back and do that twitchy thing that guinea pigs do when they are excited. The cats would pretend to pounce on her, but with the cage locked they could never actually hurt her. If I did leave the cage unlocked, I would watch them. If I took Venus on a vacation (just for the night) and leave Athena at home, the first thing Venus would do upon returning was run up to Athena’s cage and greet her. Athena actually trusted the cats more than me, even though I was the one feeding her! I always wonder what pets think when another pet dies, if they realize right away, or if they understand what happened. I’m sure they are going to miss her as time goes on.

We live in a society that tries to avoid the topic of death at all costs, or pretend it doesn’t exist, until it smacks you in the face. So when someone close to you dies, it’s a very strange feeling. It’s also hard when a pet dies, because they become such an integral part of your life, in many ways they were much closer to you than any other human was. You can never tell someone “it was just a pet” or “it was just a guinea pig” — it was a life. I do believe that her spirit has passed on somewhere, that is has begun a new journey, but it’s incomprehensible to know exactly where she is, it’s a mystery. I hope that she is reunited with her family, or still at home with the cats and me, or somewhere safe.

I went on a long walk this morning out in nature, and it was comforting to see that life is all around us, that we are never alone. I do feel especially lonely right now but I know this is just an illusion. Especially now that it is spring, there are so many trees and plants growing. I saw a pack of ducks and geese and young goslings swimming around. I really do love animals.

Let me know if you have been affected by the loss of pets, and maybe any thoughts or advice. I do want to get another guinea pig soon, probably two together because I know they are very social animals, but I’m not sure when would be too soon.


6 thoughts on “In loving memory of Athena, my guinea pig

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