Monday, August 17, 2009

Alone Now, 1996-2009

It's not a good photo of Betsy. She wasn't the most photogenic of cats. She often looked like she had a perpetual scowl. She was tiny, never more than 8 pounds. But she was a lover-cat, demanding of attention.

I made the incredibly hard decision to let her go today. She had deteriorated over the weekend. She did not want fluids and had almost bolted on Saturday. Giving her a pill for her kidney disease made her gag so I quit doing that. She was peeing on the floor. She ate everything but had quit gaining weight, losing what she had gained over the summer.

Part of me thinks she missed Rascal.

Early this morning, we had a bad thunderstorm come through. She was not in bed with me but came when the lightning got bad. She couldn't jump up onto the bed anymore so I picked her up. She immediately snuggled next to me and started purring. This has been our routine since February. She sleeps right next to me, purring both of us to sleep.

But this past week, her sleep had become so deep, I was not sleeping well because I was scared she would pass away at night. Over the weekend, she would come to me and give me a look that almost asked, "Why?" I had no answer.

This morning, she was not in bed when I got up for work. She came running when she heard me and ate everything I gave her. She follows me around, meowing, not pitifully, just meowing. I had a small shard of hope that if we just got everything under control, she could be better. But when I came home to take her to the vet, she was lying on the office rug. She looked at me, but never got up. And as Dr. Labek and I talked, she slept. She was ready however unready I was. I told her I loved her, kissed her forehead and let them take her away. They will call when her ashes are ready for pick up. I picked up Rascal today.

Now my house is empty, really empty. No cats. No daughter. I have not begun the clean up. Her food dish still sits on the floor. The litter box is still in the back room. The towel she slept on with me today still on the bed. I have gone to get tea and find myself looking for her. I had to wait as I don't think she could see very well anymore nor could she hear me well. I looked down to make sure I wouldn't sandwich her between my legs. My face is raw from crying.

This is Shakespeare. He passed away in August of 2005. He was my bud. Everyone loved to pet him at the clinic, which, you could tell, embarrassed him. He was a very beautiful cat.

He was the runt of a litter left at a pet store where we knew someone. He was sickly when we got him but we nursed him to full health. He loved to jump on me when the sun first came up, walk up my body and take ahold of either my lower lip or my chin and bite just enough to awaken me. He always slept on my ankles. He loved to play fetch too, with these bouncing balls we found at a neighborhood pharmacy. He was not a cuddler unless you had food. Then, he was in your face.

These two are Half-Pint, on the left, and Penney, on the right.

Half-Pint was so named because she weighed exactly 8 ounces when we got her. Eight ounces is half of a pint. She was one of the cats at my mom's husband's farm. She was also sickly and we had to nurse her back to health, but she was feisty and very funny. She loved to lie in crazy spots that had sunshine. She would jump on me in the morning and walk the length of my body to put her forehead somewhere on my face and purr, in an effort to get me to get up. She would cuddle but she loved to sit on your shoulders. As this would impede what you wanted to do, we would call out, "I need a 'Pint-en-dectomy!" and someone would come remove her.

As she started life a farm cat, this stayed with her. She was hit by a car when she would not come in one night in April of 2006. I had to go to a meeting for work and I could not get her back inside. I found her in the street when I returned home.

Penney was a stray who turned up pregnant at the sister of our next door neighbor. Once the kittens were born, she was spayed and they began looking for a home for her. She was the most mellow of cats. She was a lover. She wanted to be with me all the time. She wanted my lap whenever I sat down, going so far as to jump up on the table and smash the newspaper when I read it in the mornings. We could never get her untrained from jumping on the kitchen table. She would sit on the edge when I did dishes, meow and reach out a paw to touch my back when I would pass by.

She was 3 years younger than Shakespeare and they were the only cats in the house for several years. They would chase each other through the house. It was okay for Shakespeare to chase Penney, but he would hiss and spit when she did it to him. Once he grew too old for the chasing, Penney and Half-Pint played together.

Penney was a gorgeous gray. Photos don't do her any justice. Light danced off her fur. And, like Rascal's, it was incredibly soft. That she was a lovable cat just made it so much more fun to pet her.

I let Penney go in August of 2007.

And here is one more picture of my Rascal cat. It was a warm spring day and I had thrown open the house to air it out.

Yes, I will get cats again. I had already decided, when Rascal died, that I would take a bit to recover, once Betsy died, but I would get cats again. I will get 2. There are always cats who need homes. Val, from the vet, has 2 she wants to get rid of because she's not home to properly care for them. "Ms. Montague, I can't think of anyone who would take better care of them than you would." But the wound is raw and I don't think I should make that decision right now. It is time now to be just me and my memories and move forward.

Beverage: English Breakfast


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