Today is the first day in 6 months that I’ve awoken and felt full of life without an ounce of dread for what the day might bring. Last week I had 8 cats, this week I have 7~ My beautiful little black beast has passed on and now she lives in my heart. I know she’s there, because I can feel the weight~~ all 2 pounds of her.
She was my loyal companion for 16 years. Like a faithful servant, she would run to greet me when I came home, come to me when I called, and sit by my feet like a sentinel. She was pure goodness and she became an icon in this house~ my husband referred to her as the *moral epicenter*. Unlike us, or the other 7, she never displayed anger or distrust~ she didn’t have a mean bone in her tiny little body. Everyone that met her was immediately taken with her and I know she’ll be remembered by many. She was like Glinda the good witch~ she floated through life in a sea of sparkles and the twinkle in her eye could pull you in like a Siren’s song.
I always assumed she would just die from old age. She was Siamese and I always pictured her as an aging, opium smoking, heavy lidded, silk robed geisha. She had survived a few near fatal accidents so I knew she was strong~ I never thought it would be a slow, undignified death for her.
It started with the farting. I’ve heard people joke about kitty farts, but I’d never heard one, myself, and none of the others ever did it. This girl, omg, she farted like an old man! They were loud! You could seriously hear them on the other side of the house. Looking back, I wish I’d realized that was a sign that something was wrong. I attributed it to old age. Hell, my granny farts like that~ I figured that’s what old “people” do. Eventually, they got more frequent, and they began to smell… horrible. We mentioned it to the Vet and he suggested we start feeding her “old lady” food that would be easier to digest. It didn’t change anything.
One day, last July, we realized there was a serious problem. This poor little beast, my little black dear, was shitting blood~ massive amounts. It was inky black and thick. The Vet explained that was not good~ it meant the blood was coming from way up inside her, most likely her intestines or stomach and that usually meant cancer and did we want to have her put down. The room started spinning. Put her down? What the fuck was he talking about? This wasn’t supposed to happen.
We chose to treat her symptomatically. We would become her faithful servants.
Our goal was to keep her happy and safe. To try to repay her for all the joy she’d given us. The other seven had reverted to pack mentality, they knew she was dying and their instincts told them to attack the weak to save the strong. They lusted after her special food and treats. We hoped they would understand and not harbor any resentment~ towards her, or us.
We gave her daily IV sub cutaneous injections to keep her hydrated, vitamin pastes to rebuild muscle tissue, and medicines to control the diarreah. Within a few weeks her coat became full and lush again. For a short time, she actually appeared happier and more beautiful than ever…just short of radiant. Because she was incontinent, she required new bedding every day, sometimes a few times a day. I began using that as an excuse to clean out my closet. Anything I’d not worn in a year, she got to piss on.
If she was in pain, she never expressed it. Not until the very end. I don’t know if that was due to her breed~ the Siamese are known for their stoicism. Last week was a bad one. We could tell something was different~ the disease had progressed… it was taking more of her from us and she was slowly fading away. The burden of the disease made her head hang low~ very atypical for her, a proud cat who had always held her head high~ she would even sleep sitting up sometimes!
She had always been a slender cat, she was a runt, and I don’t think she ever weighed more than 10 pounds, but when she got sick, the weight dropped rapidly. She was like a skeleton with fur. Her large eyes looked even larger. At the end she couldn’t have weighed more than 2 pounds. On Tuesday, we decided that if she could make it through the weekend, without showing signs of recovery, and barring an emergency, we would have her put down on the following Tuesday. The Vet would come to our house, we’d have a few people that were close with her and we’d celebrate her life and her passing.
When I came home Friday night, I knew we were at the end of the road. Sadness filled the air like a heavy storm cloud. I made a bed for her with my best cashmere piled high~ no more hand me downs, I wanted her to have the best. I stroked her fur and looked into her cloudy eyes for hours. We gave her some herbal rescue remedy to keep her calm. Eventually, her breathing became very slow. It was mesmerizing to watch. I would think it had stopped and she’d suddenly lift her head and look around to find my eyes. I told her I’d never leave her. I didn’t want to, but my eyes betrayed me, and I fell asleep around 4am… and awoke around 6am to find her lifeless.
Our journey was over. The weight of sorrow is a heavy one but it’s her pure loving nature that will leave an permanent imprint on my heart.