infinitepryde: (Pirate Kitty)
[personal profile] infinitepryde
RIP Willow, 1999 - 2015.

If we hadn't adopted her, she'd've been put down in a couple of days, with all the other cats from the shelter as a major respiratory virus went through.

The first vet we talked to, who worked with us and several friends to nurse her through that virus, told us that we shouldn't expect her to live past three; she was just too young when the virus hit, and it would interfere with her growth and with her eating patterns, and the relapses and the secondary infections would do a number on her.

She made it to fifteen.

Ten days ago, we took Willow in to the vet's for dehydration and not eating. Turned out she was losing a badly infected tooth; but the vet took X-rays, and those showed a massive shadow in her chest, almost certainly one or more tumors occluding almost the entirety of one lung. We opted to treat the infection and make her comfortable for however long she had left.

A week ago, we brought her home. And she has spent a week being handfed her favorite foods on her imperious stare or commanding meow (and purring so hard while eating that her whole body shook and she could barely aim her head), and haunting her favorite places, and sitting between me and my laptop purring until she drooled from happy, and sleeping on the corner of my husband's bed with his hand draped over her as he slept, and watching her people and being cuddled and petted and loved. She took rounds around the house -- all three floors. She watched us playing World of Warcraft -- she *loved* watching us playing that. She used to watch us playing EverQuest when she was younger, and she'd leap up and bat at the screen, and we'd announce "A small gray lioness has popped" as an explanation for why we were suddenly AFK. Cat spawn in the real world, time to deal with that.

She understood doors, and she'd angle a leap at a doorknob so that her paws could catch it and she'd swing it open with her weight. She understood outside, too: outside had snow and rain and icky things. When we were in California, we could leave the outside door open, and she'd never venture more than three feet away ... and if we weren't in sight inside, she'd dart back in in a panic.

She was fascinated by running water, though she never figured out how to turn faucets off and on. She loved stairs; when we came back to NY and she had stairs inside the house, for weeks she'd spend time just running up and down them for the experience.

She hunted mice; my husband found her with a mouse tail (just the tail) while we were in California, so he knows she did, and she survived a week without problem living between ceiling and floor of this house, and we're pretty sure that's what she ate then.

She loved linen closets -- which just means she was a cat. She was fascinated by string, but never tried to eat it, and never tried to eat cords. She played fetch. She chased her tail, which was as long as we'd known her only half a tail, and was eternally startled and offended when she caught it.

Last night she went primly down the stairs to sleep in my old bedroom, where we spent most of last summer's evenings, me spinning and watching Netflix, her seated among the pillows looking on. She's been sleeping there for the warmth, lately. This morning I found her still there, and petted her, and she purred, but it had the high-frequencies in it ... and I knew she was hurting. My husband was home all day, and he discovered that she was no longer using her back legs properly, and not one of her front ones, either. He held her for hours, cuddling her and petting her, offering her food, comforting her when the smell threw her into seizures and vomiting. (He's allergic to cats; but he was never allergic to her. Not till today, when suddenly the rash broke out on his arms.)

He left her alone for a little bit, snug in her favorite spot on the heating grate up on our floor, and when he came back, she was gone and the door at the bottom of the stairs was wide open. With one and a half functioning legs, she'd dragged herself down the stairs, down the hall, into the farthest room from my old one, and tucked her head under the blankets where they draped off the bed and onto the floor.

We put her in the carrier and took her in, and she didn't protest the carrier at all, and purred when we came into the vet's. (She hates the vet's. But we're convinced -- last time we took her in, she was calm then too; and we're convinced she remembered being a kitten, and how after she was at the vet's she felt *better*.) And she lay with her head on my husband's hand, and he told me quietly that she'd been doing that all afternoon. And he's convinced she understood that it was time. We stayed with her, and held her, and petted her, and wept over her. She was never alone when she didn't want to be. Not for a minute. And she was still trying valiantly to be a purrbox up until ten minutes from the end, when the pain and obstructed breathing were finally too much for her and she settled for nuzzling our hands.

St Gertrude of Nivelles, if there's anything to this saint business, and if you loved cats as you're reputed to ... if cats have an afterlife, I hope you'll say hello to her. (I'd ask you to put in a good word for her; but if you say hello, and she grasps that you're a Good Person, she'll do the rest of the convincing herself.)

Dad ... if she gets up there, please don't let John chew on her too much. She thinks she's tough, but if they got in a spat, John would win in a heartbeat. (I'd give her good odds holding her own against Monty, though.)

And the purest testimony for what she was like that I could ever have:

"Do you want to get anything to bring home?" I asked my husband as we were driving back from the vet's, and the inveterate, allergic dog-person-from-birth answered, quietly, "A cat."

G'night, sweetheart. We'll miss you terribly. But you were happy, and you didn't suffer too much, and that's what matters.

Everybody else... know you're loved. And as always when these things happen ... make sure the people and pets you care about know they are, too.

Date: 2015-01-12 11:46 am (UTC)
epeeblade: (Default)
From: [personal profile] epeeblade
*hugs* I'm sorry for your loss. This brought me to tears. Going to go cuddle my dog now.

Date: 2015-01-12 01:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*hugs back* Thank you. And thank you for going and cuddling your dog. :) That's the best memorial she could have, really.

Date: 2015-01-15 12:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am so sorry for your loss. I grieve with thee.

Date: 2015-01-15 03:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]


It's good to see you. In case you hadn't guessed. :)

Date: 2015-01-15 03:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]


It's good to see you. In case you hadn't guessed. :)

ETA: ... I am preserving this for posterity: I was so excited I botched my posting. :)
Edited Date: 2015-01-15 03:44 am (UTC)


infinitepryde: (Default)

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