Our beloved feline friend passed away last Sunday. We're so sad.
I wanted to share some photos of her with other animal lovers here on Kos, as a way of memorializing her long and wonderful life. All pets are different and make individual places in our hearts; she's left a hole in mine that will never fully heal. They have their own personalities and foibles, their singular ways of loving us, training us, disciplining us. One cannot be replaced by another. But for those of us who are lucky to have them, they weave a lifelong chain of joy, companionship and unconditional love.
Here is my paean to one sweet, powerful, unforgettable animal friend.
She came to us at 3 months of age, 6 months after her beloved predecessor had passed away, in answer to a small index card I put on the vet's bulletin board:
"Wanted, one feisty, female kitten."
She was born of a suburban rescue cat who presented her rescuer with 3 kittens, the pregnancy unknown to rescuer or the vet who examined her. She called our number and asked, "Just how feisty did you mean?" That simple question set the tone for our lively and happy 15 years together.
We had hoped we could keep her with us longer but her last six months were challenging. She was pretty much herself mentally and emotionally, still carrying out her normal routines and behaviors as best she could, and not in pain. Still going outside but for short periods. Not as fond of the snow as the old days but still preferred to "go" outside during the day up in the country.
We'd been traveling between city and country often recently, and she seemed to enjoy the familiar car trips and change of scene. She liked watching people out of car and apartment windows, and fire escape visits from birds and neighbor cats. Her appetite was pretty good, better lately so we were hopeful. But honestly, she just couldn't stop losing weight, hyperthyroid and on medication for more than 2 years.
The last few days were spent up in the country and she stayed very close to us, positioning herself next to (and under) our feet, always keeping one of us in sight it seemed. Even following us into the bathroom. I guess she knew. She had become really thin and delicate, with that hyperthyroid look, so unlike her jocky, rounded, muscular self even last summer. But she took a short walk with me, following like a dog as she always did.
On her final morning she didn't come into the bedroom to get us up as she did normally, but meowed once, loudly from the living room couch, clearly calling out to me. I picked her up and brought her into bed where she stretched out along my side under the covers and stayed for quite a while--not really typical for her, so independent. She'd always preferred the foot of the bed. I wanted to warm her up because her feet felt cool.
When I got up and went into the kitchen she followed me toward the fridge as usual, wanting the roast chicken we kept for her, but she was weak and sat down in front of the blowing kickspace heater under the sink. I put a heating pad on her preferred chair and she stayed there watching me as I read and had coffee in the next chair. She never was much of a lap-sitter. We gazed at each other with the familiar little signs of affection between old friends. After about 30 minutes she went down on the carpeted floor, moving with difficulty, her back legs not really cooperating. I woke up my Spouse and we both gently stroked and spoke to her. She was gone 30 minutes later, just passed away.
Our hearts are broken at her loss but we take comfort knowing she will stroll and hunt and play forever in the Elysian Fields for she was a good, faithful and valiant friend.
She rests now near the stream and woods she loved, by the gazing ball where we planted tulips and poppies. There's a bench overlooking the stream just behind for watching the sun set. She used to sit there with me.
Farewell darling--beloved kittenish friend, great striped hunter, powerful tree climber, catnip-gardener, jocky and dog-like mommy-protector, playful, well-traveled, woods-and-city-wise, outdoorsy and independent daddy-companion, softest cat in the whole wide world.