I had to say goodbye to one of my six kitty friends yesterday. It was very unexpected.
Thelma seemed fine until Saturday morning when I noticed she wasn't eating her breakfast. She was also breathing too hard but when I tried to get a hold of her she ran off. She's one of the outdoor kitties that were born in our woods 12 years ago. She was the only baby we couldn't socialize to be a house cat after we trapped and spayed them. She lived outside with her Mommy cat and only came in if it was really, really cold. In spite of her house phobia, she was really, really sweet. I never saw her hunt or bother with any of the little varmints the other cats like to bother. Her thing was to lay in the sun in the yard and I could always count on her being there.
We spent the weekend trying to catch her. She would run under our neighbor's shed just out of reach. She wasn't alone. Mommy cat was always at her side so I knew something was terribly wrong. They usually don't get along.
I let her be and told myself that if she came to me for help I would take her to vet, if not I would have to let nature take its course. I was in agony all weekend worrying about her and feeling so helpless.
Then at about 2 pm yesterday I noticed her laying out in the sun. When I tiptoed over thinking she'd run, she lay there and meowed at me. She cried and cried and I knew that she knew she needed my help. After a few hours of tests at the emergency clinic they said it was time to let her go. It was either severe heart disease or cancer and it had progressed too far. I had no idea she was even sick. The vet said it wasn't unusual for outdoor kitties to hide their illness. None of this made saying goodbye any easier. I cried like a fool the whole time. I'm still crying.
When it was time to say goodbye they lit the candles in the waiting room and brought us into a quiet room that had a big thick blanket on the floor. She had been given a sedative and oxygen so she was more than happy to lay there on the blanket with me until I was ready to let her go. I told her what a good kitty she was and how much I loved her while she peacefully went to sleep. I promised her I'd get her back to her beloved woods so I am having her ashes put in a sprinkling tube. My beautiful blue-eyed girl.
She was the first of our four babies to leave us and it hurts like hell. Not to have her knocking me down every morning for food when I feed her sister Louise is going to take some getting used to. I see a lot of tears in the days to come.
*On Sunday I anticipated a not so happy ending so I wrote a bunch of pre-posted blog posts about what I had been doing all weekend trying to take my mind off the impending heartache. I don't want you to think I am not grieving and have moved on. I don't work that way. I'll be curled up on the couch with a box of tissues and a big bag of potato chips listening to The Year of Magical Thinking for the umpteenth time for who knows how long. It's pretty sad that I've gone through this so many times that I have a usual routine for this kind of heartache. But....no matter how many times I go through this it never gets easier. In fact, I think it gets harder.