|My cat died two weeks ago, at the age of 14 and a half.
This is the first post I'm making here, even though I've been a fan of the site in a long while. Maybe it’s weird to make the first post when I don’t have a cat anymore, I don’t know. Maybe it’s part of a grieving process. Maybe it’s because I love her so much I feel like there’s a hole in my life, now that she’s gone, and I need to tell someone about her. I know everyone thinks that about their cat, but she really was special and one of a kind.
When we got her, she was a month and a half old, but we knew her practically from the moment she was born. The mother belonged to a family in our neighborhood, and me and my sister (I was in fifth grade and she was in the third) would go there every day to see her until she was old enough to come home. It was love at first sight, for us and for her. From the first night, she slept with us in our bed, and followed us around asking to be petted and carried. I never knew another cat who liked to be held like that, but she thought she was a human baby, until her last days. She was so affectionate. Every day when we’d come back from school, or my parents from work, she’d come and greet us. If one of us was sick, she’d follow that person around the house, even to the bathroom, and sit on them and purr whenever they stopped, until they got better. She’d sit with us at the table at every meal – get up on one of the chairs, her head just peeking, and stay like that until we finished dinner. If we were watching TV, she’d join us, on one of our laps (in fact, she got so used to us watching the news on 9 pm every day that if we weren’t on the couch at 9 she’d sit there and complain until someone came, because that was her evening cuddling time and she was a creature of habit, especially when she got older). Everywhere we’d go, she’d follow – if my parents were working in the garden, she’d come to personally check every plant they planted, if we were hanging up laundry, she’d come sit by and watch. She’d sit on our books and board games and newspaper and keyboard. She even tried to sit on our hands when we were using the computer’s mouse. She always wanted to be part of everything. If we went away, even if it was only for two-three days, we’d pay someone to come and play with her, not just feed her, because she hated being alone. She always got agitated when she saw suitcases, because she knew we were leaving her. When I left for uni she was so angry at me when I came back that I started calling home on skype – I’m not kidding, I swear – just so she would hear my voice and see my face and realize I haven’t abandoned her. She would always rub her face against the screen.
She was always rather spoiled and we were doting and as a result we took her to the vet a lot, but she wasn’t sick very often. When she was a baby she had asthma attacks but they passed when she got older. She was allergic to all kind of anti-flee stuff, including the collars – the one time we tried she started frothing at the mouth and scared us to death. She threw up hairballs all the time even though we brushed her 2-3 times a day (always on the rug beside my bed, so I’d step in it first thing in the morning). She never had a large appetite and was very picky – at her heaviest she weighted 2 kg. We bought her the horribly expensive gourmet pet food but what she loved most was corn and hummus, she’d go crazy over them, and also pastrami (the real, expensive deli stuff, obviously). This past year she’s been getting a little less healthy – slept a lot more, was pickier with her food, took care of herself less – but we thought it was part of getting old. We took her to the vet a few times, and he changed her food, cleaned her teeth, but generally he agreed. Then two months ago it got obvious something was wrong. She’ stop eating, and we’d take her to the vet, and he’d give her an in infusion and diagnose something, and she’d get better, and in a week we would be at the vet again. Each time he diagnosed something else – a general infection, diabetes, a problem with her kidneys, a urinary tract infection, an infection in her teeth. The last week she wouldn’t eat at all, even her favourites, and wouldn’t get out from underneath my sister’s bed. She even peed there. So we took her to the vet again on Wednesday. He felt around her stomach for ten minutes before he decided she had a tumor. He said we had three choices – let her live like this until she dies naturally, put her to sleep, or open her to see if he could do anything, though he wasn’t hopeful. We decided on the surgery. In the end, when he opened her, there wasn’t much he could do. It turned out she had a chronic condition, a thickening of the walls of her intestine, which thickened over the years until no food could go through. She probably had it since she was born, which was why she ate so little, but it only got really bad these past two months.
I’m comforted by the fact that she was suffering, and she isn’t anymore, and by the fact that we gave her the best home we could, while she was with us, but it doesn’t make losing her any easier. She was so much a part of me and my life that everything reminds me of her. When I hang up laundry, I keep waiting for her to show up. I wake up in the middle of the night because I’m used to her 3 AM cuddle bootie calls. I still look around before I vacuum, because the noise used to scare her. My clothes still have cat hair on them. There’s still the squashed up spot among the tea herbs where she liked to sleep. And every time I see something white out of the corner of my eye, I turn around, expecting it to be her, and then I remember. And I wonder if it will ever get any easier.
Edited by author Fri Sep 28, '12 10:00am PST