The Big Yellow Book

Seeing the World from Both Oculars-- a Bananaslug's Journal


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Sometimes the slightest little things...
bigbananaslug
bigbananaslug
...matter more than anything. She was a tiny thing, a grey tabby who never in her life weighed more than 9 pounds. We found her at our seasonal campground at Millbrook, IL where she and her littermates had been abandoned by some accursed optimist who told him or her self that the kittens would grow up naturally in the wild...


She was the only one of the litter who was friendly, and we had her until our friend Todd started his truck and she bolted. Todd and Jill got her a day or so later and she came to live with us just shy of five years ago.

She was Le Kitten so named by our Francophone Canadian friend, Maj. Yvon Savoie, Canadian Forces, retired. And for five years, she was my cat. All of our other cats have been Betsy's but Le Kitten was mine. She loved me unreservedly, even when I didn't really care. She loved to sit on my chest and lick my nose, and purr.

She had a really loud purr, especially for such a little cat. She was bright, and she was bold, and she never wanted to go back outside...I guess her experience as a feral cat was quite enough of the big wide world.

And as the smallest cat, and the youngest, it was a surprise that she ruled the house with an iron fist. The other cats, even big old Manx cat Cody the Toadman who was twice her size, acknowledged her as the boss cat within days of her arrival at Chez Bananaslug.

What was amazing was that she swiftly showed the Corgis who was the boss in the house. One of my most incredible memories of little miss Kitten was standing openmouthed and watching her riding Toby the corgi down the stairs, swapping at his ears with both her front paws. Toby never mouthed off at her again, preferring "Yes, ma'am, No, ma'am" to being killed by a cat who weighed one-fourth what he did. None of the other dogs ever challenged her. If she was on the bed and she didn't want company, the dogs suddenly found lots to do to keep themselves occupied on the floor. Or better yet, downstairs, where they wouldn't accidentally arouse her ire.

She loved my wife, and when I was on a trip somewhere, she'd sleep on Betsy's electric blanket but when I was home, it was like no one existed for her but me. I've never had that happen before. It humbled me, and awed me, and was sometimes quite uncomfortable-- what had I done to deserve such uncompromising adoration, and from a cat at that?

She was fine and feisty last week but I woke up on Thursday morning with no Kitten in bed, trying to wake me up by patting me with her paw to get her morning petting. I found her downstairs, sitting on the back of one of the armchairs in the living room, and when I picked her up to take her upstairs, she seemed a little light... but she was purring, and she loved me. And last night she slept on top of me all night long.

But something was wrong. Betsy and I went out to breakfast this morning, and when we came back, we could see that her skin had begun to turn yellow. We called the vet and took her in. Dr. Lisa Phipps at River Heights Vet in Oswego IL did tests and xrays, while Le Kitten visibly sickened in my arms. I thought she might die while we waited for the test results. She was jaundiced, incredibly anemic, and her little heart was enlarged one and a half times normal, and still she snuggled in my arms, purring loudly as if to tell me that whatever happened, it would be fine. Her little lungs were filling up with fluid, and we called Andrea to come down to the vet hospital.

Dr. Phipps, herself with tears running down her face, prepared the shot, and with me holding her, and Andrea and Betsy petting her, and with the purr going strong until the very end, we sent her great soul to the Rainbow Bridge to be forever young. She went quietly and with dignity, as you would expect from such a great little lady.

Le Kitten, aged not quite five, will certainly rest in peace until I come myself to the Rainbow Bridge to be reunited with her and all my other furchildren. And she will sit on my chest and purr and lick my nose once again.

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(Deleted comment)
Oh, Walt, I'm so sorry.

I'm sorry for your loss. You gave her all you could for the time she was with you; that's all you can ask for.

What a tragic loss. My sympathies.

Coincidentally Mevennen (a.k.a. author Liz Williams) wrote this yesterday about grieving - http://mevennen.livejournal.com/643083.html - mostly its about humans but there's a whole comment subthread about our four footed friends

I'm sorry for your loss.

They seem like shooting stars sometimes, briefly coming to brighten your world, only to fade out again.

Lady Bast, take up Le Kitten in Your arms. Comfort her, restore her to health and vigor, and ease her waiting time, until her people come over the Bridge to her.

Oh Walt. My heart goes out to you and to the family. At least she had you and you her for that brief while. And bothe lives were brighter for it.

Dave

::hugs:: It never gets easy, bro.

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