|Carbon, June 8, 2005 to August 17, 2016|
Today I earned my angel wings. I'm sad about leaving my family, especially my sister, Tabby, but I'm glad to be feeling whole again in mind and body.
The above picture was taken a few years ago, when I was still feeling well. Within the last year, I've really been failing. I lost a lot of weight, my fur on my tail and sides got so matted that I begged Mommy to cut the mats out (which I hated doing) without a struggle. I yelled for food and followed everyone around for bites of theirs, so Mama Shawnee nicknamed me "Shark". She trained me to sit on the footstool in the kitchen and wait while she cooked omelettes, then she would give me bites of the egg and meat.
Within the last week, my mind's been failing, too. I've always been super-smart and alert, but lately I've been not listening, not responding the same way to others and things, and taking a while to realize when I needed to use the litter box. Well, that last one has been for a few months now, actually, although up until the last few days I would go try if someone said to.
Last night, Mommy came down the hallway to find me being a loaf (normal) with a glazed expression on my face (very not-normal). She asked me if I was ok, and it took me about a minute to focus enough to look up at her, and then I had a confused expression on my face. I didn't know how I'd gotten to that spot, why I was there, if I'd been headed somewhere else, or why Mommy was worried! She asked me if I wanted a hug or a cuddle, and I meowed sadly at her. My meow changed, too, from what it had been. I sounded as lost as I felt.
Mommy picked me up and gave me a huge hug, then carried me to a chair and sat down with me on her lap. She gave me another big hug while some of the other cats gathered around to sniff me. I tried to tell her that I was ready to go to the Bridge. The others knew it, too.
Early this morning, Rori ran to get Daddy, meowing her head off. Daddy didn't know what she was trying to tell him, but she sounded and acted very worried. Daddy asked Mommy, but she didn't know why, either. Once she woke up, though, she knew.
I was in my box lid in the dining room, where I loved to hang out and nap, but whenever anyone else approached the food or the water, I ran to them and beat them up. Then I ran back to my box lid and lay down again. Tabby was supposed to go on one of her animal-assisted therapy visits, but I beat her up, too, when she tried to eat breakfast. She was so upset, she ran and asked Mommy what was going on with me. Then she wouldn't leave the part of the room I was in, choosing to watch over me even though I wouldn't let her snuggle.
Truth be told, I didn't even recognize the other cats as my family today. All I knew was they were trying to get my food and my water, so I defended what was mine. I feel very sad about that, and I hope they know I didn't mean it personally.
Daddy and Mommy discussed what to do, but it was more like when, not what. Mommy called the vet, Mama Shawnee, and Mama Cai, while Daddy called Mama Erin and texted Debbie and Kimila (friends of ours who loved me). Once the purrents were ready, Mommy tricked me into the carrier bag and zipped me in. I tried to get out a few times, and ended up sticking my head out while we went out to the car, but Mommy was holding my head. I actually did better on the car ride than both Daddy and Mommy thought, but especially better than Daddy thought I'd do. I kept my pee in my body, which is a big thing for me on car rides, and hardly yelled at all. My purrents petted me while we traveled.
At the vet's, there were a lot of dogs on one side, but the other side was pretty quiet. Daddy checked me in while I lay in the carrier on the quiet side on Mommy's lap. Then Daddy held me for a while in the carrier, too. He reassured me that none of the doggies would come and get me, and told me none of them were Mixx, the one who lived with us until recently. Mixx lives somewhere else now; long story, and not ours to tell, but not by anyone's choice.
It was going to be 20 minutes for a room if my purrents wanted to be with me when the vet put me to sleep, or they could take me back right away if we didn't need a room. Daddy can't deal with being in the room emotionally, too sad for him. Mommy sometimes does and sometimes doesn't. She felt that it would be best if it were done as soon as possible, so the vet tech took me back. At 2:15 pm, I went to the Bridge. They wrapped me in a thin blanket that had been donated for that purpose and put me into a cardboard box, then taped it up and took my body out to my purrents. Mommy and Daddy both had been crying, and cried more when they got into the car.
At home, Mommy opened the box and took my body out, after uncovering my head and paws. Autumn wanted to hop in the box, but no one would let her. Then she saw me in there, and left the box alone. Daddy let everyone know what had happened, and he and Mommy petted everyone. My sister sniffed me, nuzzled my ear, sniffed my paws, and slowly walked over to Daddy. He told her how sorry he was, but that I wasn't coming back, then she walked over to Mommy to the same response. She slowly walked back, and conferred with Missy about it. One by one, everyone came to pay their respects. Sherbet didn't want to come up to my body, and hissed at Mommy when she went over to him to have him smell her hands, so she didn't push the issue. Starla was carried over to me, sniffed me, conferred with Tabby, then figured it out and ran to the chair. Daddy carried the twins in from the other room. Freya kept thinking that I was just sleeping, and came back many times to check on my, thinking I might wake up. Mommy got Rori, who took the news badly and bolted back down the hallway.
Daddy dug a hole and buried me by the cedar tree in the backyard, by the roses where Miss Marble is buried. That's the toughest part emotionally for him: digging the hole and laying the body to rest, then covering it up. It's so final. He and Mommy are going to keep the blanket I was wrapped in and use it in the carrier for the others for vet visits and things like that. They also have a clay double-paw print that I made for them at the vet's, with my name stamped below my paw prints.
I love you all, purrents, friends, sissy, nieces, nephews, and extended furmily! I'll wait for you here at the Bridge with the other angels.
P.S. How appropriate that today's Black Cat Appreciation Day!