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Sunday, March 28, 2010

On Loss and Love of a Beloved Pet

Yesterday I was out of town and got a call that my cat once again was barely able to walk. I had just taken her to the animal ER the following Sunday after returning from Texas, and now my daughter was following my tracks. I feel so helpless, so far away, but I have family responsibilities that have called me away from home as well. When they ring me, my husband tells me he does not think she will return from the ER this time, and I feel as if I have let her down by not being there.

I have had this cat for 16 years. The children and I picked her out from a now defunct pet store. When I brought her home she was covered with fleas and half dead. She developed runny stools and to this day I believe it was my husband and not the vet who saved her life partially by taking her off the medications the vet had prescribed. She was so small he would tuck her in the pocket of his shirt and carry her around to keep her warm. When she got a tad bigger and feeling better, she would climb his tree as if it were a tree trunk to reach his arms. He was leery of my getting another animal knowing how I suffered with the loss of previous pets, particularly my beloved Pupik, and because of his own vulnerability to attachment. It is hard to lose what you love. Today as I write this, part of me thinks he is right.

Kitti soon wormed her furry little way into all of our hearts. At first she was partial to my husband, but she then took up with me and has been my constant companion at bath time, while doing chores, and at bedtime. My daughter showed her at the 4-H cat show and won. Kitti rode my shoulder like a parrot at times or would wrap herself around my neck while I sat at the computer or while I was doing household chores. When I had the flu one time and was so very ill, she guarded my bed and kept me company the entire time, refusing to leave me except when one of the others fed her or she had to use the kitten's room. She became my furry alarm clock that always kept me on time at work. Mostly, she became a beloved family member. I will miss how she misses me when I am gone and how she pretends to be angry at me for leaving for just a few moments when I return as if to say, "I'll forgive you this time, but don't let it happen again." At home we joke about how she does not approve when her servants go missing for any period of time.

There are too many memories and too much love to recount on paper. Sometime or another, she suffered a back injury. We don't really know what happened, but it is beginning to cause nerve impingement and arthritis that is affecting her ability to walk and use the kitten's room. Right now rest is helping, but it seems to be happening more frequently. I had accepted that the kidney problem would end her life rather early, but now find that it will more likely be the spinal cord injury.

Yesterday, she made it home. When the time comes, I will not have her leave this world alone if possible so that she is not so very frightened, but I dread the moment when I must say that final goodbye. And I will suffer a loss that will haunt me for the rest of my life and that nobody can assuage: only time. This will serve as my notice to the world that I love this purry, furry little being and I will be forever grateful to her for her presence in my life. I only hope she understands how much I love her. My comfort must be that she had a good life with our family.

The vet says to try to keep her from jumping so today my husband and I will attempt to jump proof her favorite perches. He is building stairs for her to use for her chair and my bed. I had bought step stools before and she would not use them, but hopefully I can train her to the stairs. Here's hoping for another year or two at least.

1 comment:

  1. don't feel guilty - if she is 16, she has lived a long and full life. My daughter had to put my Socks to sleep the day before I flew home from Warsaw in February. She was 17. I still miss her very much.