Saturday, June 25, 2011

Goodbye My Friend

I came home from my last trip out on the ocean for work two days ago and walked in the door to find one of my cats greeting me as always at the front door.  I sat my bags down and kissed Gareth who sat on the couch reading some office work.  I went to check on my little girl cat who was missing and found her sleeping under the sink in the kitchen.  This is a spot where she normally slept curled up in a big round bucket that was supposed to be used for cleaning, when I bought it, but she had other ideas for it and turned into a bed.   She lifted her head when she saw me and left out a soft meow as I patted her on the head and said hello.  I just figured she was tired or comfortable and would come see me later that evening when she was ready to stretch her legs.

As the evening wore on, I went to check on her and she wasn't in her spot under the sink anymore, but I found her in her other spot which is a little box tucked in the corner of the living room where she liked to sleep and hide.  I didn't think much of it because there were times when she slept alot and then would get up in the middle of the night and roam the house full of energy from all the napping she did during the day.  That night was no exception and when I heard her roaming the house and playing I just thought it was a normal night for her. 


The next day I went out to do some errands and Gareth was at work when I returned.  I was greeted by both my cats at the door as usual and it was feeding time so I got my boy cat a can of food and she has a routine to follow me to the bathroom where she climbs on the sink to get a drink of water after I wash up.  I noticed as she was drinking she had trouble swallowing the water and realized something wasn't right. 

As the evening progressed I noticed she stopped eating and drinking, so I gave her a little bit of vanilla ice cream that she always loved.  She ate it and I thought maybe she just had a sore throat or something.  I kept my eye on her throughout the night and noticed she kept going from spot to spot as if she couldn't get comfortable.  She also kept going into the bathroom to play with the water which she always done since she was a kitten.  This is one cat who loved water and would climb in the shower with me and get wet.  But as she got older, she grew out of that and would only play in the sink or wait til after I got my shower and then go in and play in the puddles left behind. 


Around 2am I noticed she still wasn't drinking water or wanting food and I started to get really worried.  She being almost 18 years old didn't have the strength to go that long without food and water.  At 4am, my other cat came and sat next to her as she laid by the back door.  They touched noses and looked at each as if comforting each other.  Around 6am she got up on the window seat and watched the sun rise and I sat with her talking to her and petting her.  I called the vet when they opened and made an appointment to get her in to be checked.  I decided to get a shower and as I was doing this she crawled into the tub with me, meowed, and not wanting her to get wet quickly turned off the water. She splashed about in the puddles as if she was a kitten again.  Then laid down out of exhaustion and gave me a sad look. 


At this point I was fighting back tears and telling myself they could give her some fluids and she'll be back on her feet.  But when Gareth got home and saw her lying in the tub I heard him whisper, "Oh no, its not good."  And it wasn't.  We took her to vets but she was diagnosed with kidney failure and as I held her in my arms, wrapped in her blanket, I talked to her of all the journeys we had been on and told her she had one more journey to make and that this time I wasn't going with her.  I told her I loved her and thanked her for the many years of love she had given me and the family.  She had been brought home from the humane society home by my mother and became the family pet.  When my parents died I took her in and she has been with me every step of the way through all my travels and adventures.  She was the last link of my current life to the past life I had with my family and the place where I grew up.  As we gathered around her, I held her in my arms as she looked into my eyes she passed away. 


Its been a full 24 hours now without her and I feel heartbroken and lost.  This is the first day that is she is not there when I look for her.  I expect to see her walking by on her way to something that interested her or tossing a toy around or crawling up on my lap to get a scratch.  There was a plant on the back porch she always nibbled at and I would yell at her to not eat the plant.  It still has the bite marks from her last snack attack. 


My other cat is now walking around just as lonely and lost and sad as I am.  He jumps into my lap and gives me such a sad look.  Every noise the house makes he looks excitedly as if she made the noise and when he realizes it was just a noise he lays down on the floor, head between his two paws and mourns for his friend. 

I can find comfort in knowing that I got to spend almost 18 years with my little friend.  Still, saying goodbye is never easy and when someone you love goes from being a part of your life to just a photo of a memory on a shelf you realize how fast time goes by and how short of time we have to spend with each other on this planet.   I'll never forget my little friends passion for life and how even on her darkest day, she found time to play in one last puddle and enjoy being alive one last time.  I love you, my dear friend.  Goodbye.


22 comments:

Jen said...

I love you and I'm sorry for your loss. I remember playing with her as a kitten at your parents house and at your place when we came to visit you in Dublin. I wish I could give you a hug right now.

Anonymous said...

I am crying after reading this post. Truely sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

RIP

WranglerMan said...

I am so sorry for your loss!

Mike said...

Very sorry for your loss. Story made me think about life differently.

Jay Simser said...

I am so sad to hear this story. You will always have your little one with you. God Bless and Hugs.

Pedders said...

I am sorry =/
It incredible how these little fur balls become such an important part of our lives.

Mike said...

I remember coming to your parents house when she was a kitten and how she would play hide and seek with me. I'll miss her.

Anonymous said...

May she now be with your parents and someday may your family all be together again in a better place where heartbreak no longer exists.

Anonymous said...

I was touched by the line you wrote about how someone you love goes from being a physical presence in your life to just a photo on a shelf or a memory in your heart.

Myra said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. You always had stories to tell of both your cats and their great personalities.

American Irish said...

Thanks everyone for the nice comments. It feels so quiet here without her roaming around. My little boy cat keeps going over to the toys he shared with her and lays down amongst them, not playing with them, just being with them. Its sad watching him go through the mourning process for his little buddy.

Brian said...

Pets are an amazing comfort and relationship in our lives! I am so sorry for you on her passing. I have a dog "Wonder" whom I rescued from a shelter at 4 and now she is 10 and I am already anticipating the day : ( It will be devestating! Thinking of you! Brian

Ian said...

So sorry for you loss.

The New Me said...

sorry to hear this, i know how difficult this can be.

JonnyWVa said...

That was one of the saddest things I have read. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is when you someone you love passes away.

Snowy Canuck said...

Know that your four-legged friend is at peace. But you'll still feel a big void in your heart that time will take away the pain, but never the memories.

Your tribute brought back a similar goodbye years ago. I was away at university, and our family cat with the distinguished age of 21 was still very much in charge when I left in September. But when I returned for Christmas, my mother picked me up at the airport and told me that our big cat had gone downhill quickly in the last few weeks, and was now mostly sleeping in the warmest room in the house, which was the furnace room. But he was still making the effort to eat and drink, and the vet said that as long as that continued and he showed no pain or distress, to keep him at home and monitor him.

So I arrived home at midnight after a long journey and immediately went in and sat on the furnace room floor to say hello to him as he lay on a pillow and blanket my parents had put there. He was very weak, and had lost a lot of weight, but he raised his head as I came in, got slowly up and climbed into my lap, purring. We stayed there for about 20 or 30 minutes, me petting him, he nuzzling a bit, and the purrs never ended. After a while, still purring, he slowly got up, and went back to bed and fell asleep.

During the time he was in my lap, all the good memories came back. This cat had the uncanny knack of knowing when you were sad, and would come and stay with you to make you feel better. I hope that I returned the kindness in that furnace room so long ago. Because, in the morning, I awoke to have my parents tell me that he had quietly "gone to his last sleep" about an hour after I left him.

To this day, he has a very special place in my memories. I'm sure your friend will have such a cherished place for you.

rugbysex said...

This story brought tears to my eyes. I had my Nikki for 18 yrs. and his last days were so similar to your cat's. I never thought I was capable of getting so close to an animal. That was 10 yrs. ago and your story brought it all back as if it just happened. I'm so very sorry for your loss.

SpiritMountainGuy said...

Its sad when our friends or family, whether people or animal, leave us! We can live with the good memories of our lives together to console us! - V

Brian David Morley said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Steve, I lost my cat after twenty two years of love; the memory of her still makes me tear up...but please take comfort in all the years you had together, she couldn't have had a better human than you and your family, both in America and your new home in Ireland with Gareth

GVP said...

I'm really sorry for your loss. I had tears running down when I read this post which reminds me of my little girl. She was brought from an animal shelter a few months after I moved to Australia alone a decade ago. Many years have passed and she has cheered me up during my down time and stressful studies. I am studying to be a veterinarian and will graduating next year. She was diagnosed with chronic renal failure early this year by myself and coursemates. We knew she didn't have much time as her kidneys were no longer functioning properly. I did all I could to keep her healthy; the work-up, blood test and nutrition. I usually spent nights reading through journal articles trying to come up with a new way to treat her. Despite knowing that I have to say goodbye at some point, it was never easy

As part of my training, I had delivered bad news to pet owners and comfort them through their loss but while doing so, I much remained pretty much detached.

And because of her, I become interested in veterinary pathology and got accepted into an externship program after I did a talk on the condition. On the bright side, I will be working at UPennslyvania next year :)

There is no way I could got this far without her. I really miss having her on my laps while studying.

Mario said...

I lost my cat 3 years ago and he was the best. I got a chance to barry him in the backyard, as this was going on my two dogs simply came out side and sat right next to the grave I made. Which I know they knew what was going on, I played Love Song by The Cure! The strange thing is I still have his picture framed in my bedroom and was going to take it down but after reading your blog I'm not. I have taken in another cat whom I love but Kitty "His name name" will always be in my heart, love you Kitty!