And Then There Was One

My cat died today.

I don’t know what to write.

I’ve been trying for weeks to compose an appropriate goodbye post for the cat we lost in September, and now this.  I am overwhelmed.

I can’t think about either of them without a huge lump in my throat and water in my eyes.

It’s hard to type.

Rusty and Poupon.

My babies.

Dear Rusty,

A few months ago, you walked out into the yard as a seemingly healthy cat.  When you came back inside, you started sneezing and you really never stopped.

You got sick.  Maybe there was cancer growing inside you for years.  We will never know for sure.  All those diagnostic tests, and we never got an answer.

None of the medicine worked.  You couldn’t keep the liquids in your stomach.  The pills made you gag.  The shots had no effect.

You got i.v. fluids and oxygen too, but nothing helped.  You declined quickly.

In mid-September, we took you to the vet to have you euthanized.

It was one of the most difficult decisions we’ve ever made, but your breathing was labored, you had lost four pounds, and your energy was sapped.  It was time and we knew it.

Today, I feel relieved that you aren’t suffering, but watching you in those last few minutes was a heartbreak I can barely stand to think of, much less communicate here.

You were a big cat – tall, muscular, imposing – over sixteen pounds in your prime.  You were once a graceful and merciless hunter, catching birds in our small backyard whenever we let you out for a minute.

As you aged, you were still keen on the low slink through the grass to get a butterfly or lizard, but you generally did a lazy flop in the sun just short of your target.  Too much trouble when there’s a plate of Friskie’s just inside the door, I guess.

We got you and your brother over ten years ago, when I was pregnant with our son.  You were my faithful companion then.  We spent hours together, curled into the corner of our fat blue couch, waiting for the baby.  You seemed to know that I felt sick to my stomach and a little bit sad most of the time.  You fit perfectly in the crook of my arm.

You were such a comfort to me then – more than I was to you those last few weeks, I’m afraid.  I am sorry for that.  You should have had a fat blue couch and a fat blue mama to comfort your weary body around the clock.  I sat with you as much as I could, but life interrupted a lot.

Your brother and Poupon seemed to know you had something scary.  They really wouldn’t get too close to you in the final days.  Just typing that makes me so incredibly sad.  You deserved more from all three of us.  You really did.

I loved you, Rusty.  I hope you are healthy and happy somewhere now.

Dear Poupon,

Today was difficult.  I took you to the vet and got confirmation of what I already knew.  I had to let you go.  I held you for a while and I said goodbye.  I cried and I watched as the doctor administered the overdose of medication that would end your life.

I had no husband or friend beside me this time, but it seemed appropriate that I didn’t.  You were a gracious, independent lady of great strength, and I know I am meant to carry that legacy on your behalf.

I was just thirty when you tumbled into my life.  You were a fluffy, flea-covered kitten, abandoned and crying in a nearby yard.  My neighbor came around with you in her arms and asked us all if we knew where you belonged.  She even posted signs and placed an ad, but no one claimed you.  I was smitten.

For a few years, you played second fiddle to a smart Russian Blue named Shadow.  When she passed away, you moved elegantly into her place.

You were a funny girl, my Fairy Princess.  You used to wait outside the shower door to rub your flyaway fur all over our wet legs when we emerged.  You used to chase things that weren’t there and occasionally, you walked into a room and flopped your Rubenesque figure right upside down with your feet in the air.  You stayed like that for long minutes, daring the boys to come anywhere near you.  And you chortled.

I’ve grown up with you, my friend.  What will I do without the sound of your sweet voice and the clicking of your silly toenails on the tile floor?  You were a ballerina.  A big, fat, beautiful gray ballerina and I will miss you so very much.  I love you, Pou.

 

♥♥