This morning I came out of a Honey BBQ flavored twisted Frito induced stupor and saw my cat sitting in the hallway. She looked generally Ok, but I know she is not. OK, that is, in going to be all right and live forever, so I don’t have to deal with the loss of her. She seems to be watching something, something I can’t see, and nothing in particular of this plane.
I picked her up and put her on my chest, feeling the freezing cold of her paws, ears and tail, which I know is from my administration of a thyroid transdermal medication goo I smeared on her ear last night. She purrs, her sweet body and fur is silky in my hands, and I weep at the joy of still being able to hold and touch her, but feeling and knowing without a doubt she is going, moving towards death. She is deaf, has been for some time, but still gives out a little”mrrh” when I touch her. She has the look of a cat already partly in the spirit world. Hanging out in the hall is yet another new senior behavior.
Just a minute ago I missed her, frantically searched for her, found her crashed out on the back cat station. The cat station is a low bureau with a folded bath towel, water and dry kibble. All the cats in our house know this is the center of catdom, and all visit or hang out there to establish periodically that they own us and belong, which they do.
I took her to a new vet two days ago, and it was confirmed her blood pressure and heart rate are sky high. I’ve known for weeks at least her metabolism has been racing, and the two pumps of goo twice a day aren’t enough. Because I know that chemical, medicine though it may be, affects digestion and I hear her gut do a soft Urrrp everytime I pick her up, I stupidly, selfishly had given her less and become erratic about making sure she got her supposed to be twice a day application. In my defense, she did urp up stomach fluid and barf up some food here and there. I have mightily lied to myself that my guy is the one who is impulsive and inconsistent in taking care of our cat, and now I know so clearly he is not. I’ve been terribly neglectful and full of shit about it.
I put off taking her to vet again even when I knew her breath and heart have been far to fast for days, wallowing in some delusional idea there’s nothing more to be done except have the vet suspect I’ve fallen down on my job, which I have, and possibly being told I should put her down. I’ve now found out the prices for euthanasia, cremation and burial. The new vet called me last night and has given my orders: 4 pumps of goo once a day, blood pressure medication to follow, two pumps of it for a week also.
I know I will write this now, dress, eat, do the house chores, then go to the DMV to take my driving test, come home and then go somewhere else. Time will pass. She may die at any moment, and, unlike any other thing I have ever experienced in my life, I feel my grief and love for her so completely that I am alive like never before. I need to write this now.
My dear One, I love you and I need to tell your spirit just how much you have filled my life. When you came into our life, you were a kitten and the answer to a desperate prayer of mine. My guy had broken his leg, had a cast from his toe to his hip, and was living in a van in a boat storage yard with people illegally living there. I was stuck in a limbo of never being able to get my life together enough to leave my mother’s life and houses. I had prayed for a sign, even asking to be shown if me and my guy were supposed to die because we were worthless, nowhere losers who our families did not respect or care about.
You showed up, a soft gray and orange little kitten with dainty little white feet at the yard. Though you were fed kibble by the people of the yard, you were this sassy little stealth thing and my guy couldn’t catch you. You weren’t spayed or particularly safe at that yard. There was a mean old tom who’d beat you up and try to rape you periodically. There were other cats and a dog competing for food and affection. There wasn’t always clean water for you to drink. One time you got drenched with transmission fluid from the many vehicles you lived under, and if we had not have gotten a vet tech friend to bathe you and remove it’s toxic effect on you, you might have not made it.
You started taking refuge in the van because it was a safe place and my guy started to feed you things like tuna. You were the light of his daily life. You were swift and clever and used to sit on the foot of his cast, out of reach. The day came when he had healed enough to have his cast cut off down to his knee. This sudden change in his mobility was beyond your comprehension, you didn’t know things were different, and he caught you with his hands. Then the love began.
To me, at first, you were just another cat my guy was obsessed with. As the months went on, I saw how special you were to him and you began to be special to me also, though I didn’t dare hope we could have you having witnessed the sticky and unpredictable nature of relations in the yard. We got you spayed, and free of transmission fluid. Months went by, and I knew the living in the yard had to come to an end sooner or later. My guy had drug and alcohol related anger outbursts. He broke some things that were ours. We had been paying a sort of rent. The woman of the host couple devised a way to expel us, never imagining she could have simply told us they needed us to leave. She smashed up some things in the yard and told her partner my guy had done it, baiting him to plan on beating my guy up and driving him from the yard. The man of the couple bragged to others he was planning on it. It happened when I was not around.
My guy, still in a partial cast, was yelled at, and literally shoved and pushed out of the yard into a dirt ditch. The host guy doing this dared my guy to hit him, which would be grounds for calling the police. My guy walked to a mutual friend’s house and called me. Temporary arrangements were made. You were still in the yard. We knew we had to find a place to live and get you out of the yard. I couldn’t do it for me or my guy, but I could do it for you. It was touch and go for agonizing days and weeks. We had to come in stealth, take you out of the yard, and place you with a friend we paid to house you while we got an actual home.
You were the brightest light in our lives. When I finally bought the home, and we brought you here, you disappeared and we had to find you several doors down. There was the time you got trapped under the foundation of Scott the fisherman’s house next door when he was making repairs and I could hear you meowing somehow and we got you out. What you’ve endured for 20 years with us is unbelievable. I’m so sorry for the craziness which has been a mainstay of your life with us. We have so taken you for granted.
I remember the joy of playing with you almost daily in our home which was a shambles and needed work for years. I remember taking to you to mom’s land and housing you in the upper studio of the tractor barn. You adapted so perfectly there on water and kibble. And you adapted when mom died and we brought you back here. I remember the terror I had for years that I couldn’t afford to feed and vet you properly. It took a long time for me to learn how to take care of you, and your older age has not been easy. I know you’ve had to deal with overfeeding, renal failure, fleas, other cats, being over handled, a lot of neglect, our temper tantrums and fights, untrimmed claws catching in things, falling, hurting, being bored out of your skull, wounds and being handled too much.
You are the most beautiful soul and being. I love you and I can’t imagine living my life without you. When I have been lost and hating my life, there was one thing I was sure of: that I did not want to leave you. This does not mean you can’t be really annoying. You know somehow you are the queen of us, and, in particular the guy. You are the key to our hearts. Thank you beautiful being, for sharing your life on this earth with us.