Requiescat Aeternum

[Content Note: Today’s topic deals with pet loss, and hints at animal mistreatment. I won’t share specifics, but if this is something to take into consideration for your own mental health, that’s totally ok with me. I encourage you to skip today’s post, and instead check out some of my earlier writings for today. We’ll kick it some other time, how ’bout that?]

Our family’s owned cats for quite some time, starting with a stray girl cat who adopted us back when we lived in the old neighborhood, about two years before we moved to this one. We then took on another cat from a butt weasel neighbor who treated the little guy so badly, all so they could get back at a relative of theirs who originally owned him and couldn’t keep him, and make a statement.

That neighbor came over to our house one day after we took our boy cat in, and as soon as that neighbor started talking to us and spotted him, the neighbor taunted him. He hauled ass into my room, screaming and crying the whole way as he bulldozed my bedroom door open. He buried himself in the stuffed animals on my bed, and was shaking as I gave him some petting time.

Yeah, totally not normal behavior for a cat. That led us to believe that something happened to him during the months he was at their house, and that neighbor played a role in it.

We left that neighborhood, and that creepy butt weasel neighbor in our dust while we were at it. The cats were coming with us, that was for sure. Our boy cat was now officially safe, and the move guaranteed that he’d never have to deal with that neighbor again.

He was safe, and so was our girl cat. She avoided that neighbor like the plague before she found us, so maybe she knew that neighbor was no good.

Boy cat and Girl cat lived their lives at our house, chasing each other around, swatting at each other. He liked to go into the basement and meow around, with his little kitty concert echoing across the concrete-covered brick walls. He picked on her and sniffed her butt while she tried to eat, and she swatted him and hissed in response every time.

Girl cat died of kidney failure almost 10 years ago, however, she was also likely older than the 2001 birthdate the vet figured for her on her first visit since she was a stray.

A year later, Girl cat 2 came along when someone my family knew didn’t want her and tried to send her back to whatever shelter they got her from. They had promised to send us the records they had for her, but that never happened. Girl cat 2 was eight years old when she came to our house, and stinkpot personality or not, she had a place here.

We took her to the vet to establish care for her, and they gave her a clean bill of health up until about three years ago when she had started losing a tiny bit of weight. The vet ran the geriatric tests for her even though she was still technically too young for them as a precaution due to what Boy cat was going through.

Everything came back clear, and we were able to turn things around for her in the weight department and maintain it. We mixed her dry food with some olive oil, and she loved that. Girl cat 2 was her normal grumpy self, trilling and chattering whenever we’d talk to her or whenever we’d approach her.

Until this past week, when she started losing the weight again, and she started having accidents. Nothing smelled out of the ordinary to indicate kidney failure like with our other late girl cat, so that took that out of the equation.

We figured that we’d keep a close watch on her, and once we got to the new house, the first place that grumpy girl would be going is the vet for a checkup.

She then started having trouble getting around in the couple days, struggling to jump up onto the counter to lick at the faucet, and onto our beds. She was still up and down and everywhere, so I had held out hope that if she could make it until the vet clinic opens up, I’d take her on my bike and we’d camp out in front of the vet’s office until they started their business hours.

She spent Sunday afternoon in my bedroom window, lounging in the sun with her head resting on a folded up cloth dinner napkin as the wind howled outside. She wanted down, so I picked her up, and carried her over to my bed instead.

Before I sent out one of my remaining assignments for work, I wrapped her up in the fleece blanket to remind her of Mama, and to warm her up, since cats love fleece for that reason. I had to leave to go pick up more boxes from the store on the off chance they still had some by that point in the day.

Since the signal wasn’t coming in so great on account of the wind gusts, I turned on the Roku and found some old Popeye cartoons on the public domain channel to keep her company. She loved watching the Toon In with Me block on MeTV, along with Nightly Business Report, the local weather channel, and the NASA channel on Roku.

When I came back, she wasn’t where I left her. I looked around, and saw that she made it to the bedroom door leading out into the dining room. She was behind it, and behind the draft blocker-thing I’d made for the winter months, so she was safe from getting stepped on or tripped over.

She let out a soundless meow, which she did periodically even in her younger years when she wanted something. I picked her up and carried her back onto my bed. I wrapped her back up in the fleece blanket, and put a damp washcloth next to her nose since it was feeling a bit dry.

While I worked on my remaining assignment for my day job, we talked for quite some time. I asked her what she’d like for me to do, and told her she would always have a home with us, no matter where we actually lived. I told her that the new house was gonna be great, and that she would love it just as much.

I would stop to give her little kitty smooches on her head, and she leaned her head in for them just as she had done ever since she warmed up to us. She also loved having her little white paws kissed too.

I told her about the countertops in the kitchen, just right for her to jump on the way she did with the ones here, and the open floor plan of the basement for her to catch any mice she found for us. There wouldn’t be any carpet for her to tear up, but she would get a new scratching post, along with a new litter box as a housewarming gift, though. I saw some at the pet store the other day, and I’m going there tomorrow to get it.

She was safe here. She will always be safe here.

I reached over to give her a pet, and checked on her after I sent out my remaining assignment. She had turned cold, and I turned on the overhead light to get a better look at her.

Sunday was her last day in life. She died in her sleep at 16 years old, and crossed the Rainbow Bridge just after midnight on Monday morning. I reached over, and it took every ounce of willpower I had to keep from screaming at the feel of her stiff, cold remains, and at her face. [EDIT 2-26-2023: The original link is gone. A new one is in its place.]

I’ll spare you the description on that. I still feel chills thinking about it.

I took the blanket I kept in the carrier, and picked her up with that. It made things marginally better, and wrapped her up in it.

The end came so quickly for her. She likely had some issues before things accelerated this past week, more than what she let on, like cats do when they’re not feeling so good.

I take comfort in knowing she had 8 years of wonderful with us, and that she died an old lady in safety. Whatever she suffered in her old life, it’s all over now for sure. She’s now with Boy cat, and he’s probably picking on her in whatever hereafter they’re in.

It will be a while, but if she finds another cat who needs help like she did and sees fit to send them our way, that cat will have a forever home with us.

After the move, I’m gonna frame a picture of her in her younger years to hang up on the wall to commemorate her. I’m also gonna have her remains cremated and returned to us.

Over to you, readers. Have you lost a pet? Share your stories below if you’d like, and let’s talk.

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