Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You Never Know When...

When buying a house of one's very own, all of us have different lists of things that are 'important' to us. Whether its vinyl siding, paved drive, 4 bedrooms, dual heat pumps, gas range, walk-in attic -- the wants are vast & varied.

The first house I bought, when I was single & living on my own with my sister, had vinyl siding, a paved drive, multiple baths & room for the 2 of us (or 1.5 since she came & went a lot). But what I really wanted in my new house were... cats. I had a cat growing up & thought they are the coolest animals. I'd stand up and argue with anyone who didn't think they had as much or more personality as dogs.

On Labor Day, 2001, I set out with my group to find the two most perfect cats to take up residence in my house. I only had one 'type' of cat in mind - an orange tabby; the other cat color didn't matter as long as I ended up with a male & female. I had names picked out.

We left a little pet store in Southside with Roxy (Roxyann) & Riley (Riley being the orange tabby; Roxy was a little multi-colored kitten very attached to Riley. I picked them because they were sleeping together, wrapped in each others' paws). Armed with all the goods that two little kittens could need, we went back to my house to introduce them to their new home. The kittens & I were a happy little family. They were full of love and mischief and fun; making me laugh & keeping me on my toes.

In the process of getting the usual kitten shots, it was discovered that Riley had FIP - an incurable disease that, in his case, affected his neurological system. He crossed the rainbow bridge the day after Christmas 2001.

Roxy suddenly became an only child and loved the attention. She learned to fetch better than some dogs I know and was full of life enough for that little house. I taught her to walk around outside on a harness and leash & she love all things green, so the outside was perfecft for her!

But she didn't stay the only child forever... we welcomed her new little brother, Schmoo (Moodles) in July of 2002. I wouldn't say they 'hit it off', but they played together & tolerated each other. Roxy definitely let him know SHE was the boss & he was ok with that - probably because he's a mama's boy.

We morphed into a new family unit dealing with the changes most lives have - jobs, significant others, moves, dogs. Oh yeah, when I moved in with, & soon after married, my boyfriend, the cats & I went to live in his house with his two DOGS - those smelly, noisy, sloppy critters - Jake (Jakester) and Sydney (SydSyd). What a transition that was! I recall having to go INTO the reclining sofa to get Schmoo out. He was hiding in such a way it almost required assistance from the fire department!

Eventually there came to be a little peace in the valley (though some days that's still under debate). The cats have their space. The dogs have theirs. And look out if ever the two shall meet!

I have mentioned previously in my blog the story of Miss Roxy & her diagnosis of cancer. I've talked about the decisions that have been weighing heavy on my mind. In the end, we decided not to put her through treatment. I couldn't do it to either her or me knowing the cancer would eventually come back & we'd find ourselves right back in the same position we are in.

My little girl has been at home with us, going about her daily routine, though it's a bit slower & involves more sleep now. She's lost weight & the cancer has pushed her left eye from its socket in a manner than might make some people turn away. Through it all, she's been a sweet, loving, tolerant, beautiful little kitty. She's amazed our vet, my family & me. Knowing she doesn't have a lot of time left, I have taken extra pictures, given more pets and talked to her every chance I've had.

This week her eye has become really bad. Though she doesn't seem to notice it, I know it must be painful and unnatural & when I think about myself having to deal with something like that, it's unfathomable how she's still so much herself.

But Cop'er & I decided this week we needed to make the best decision for her. She's starting to look more like skin & bones in addition to the change in her eye. And though the surgeon optimistically told us we might have 2-4 months with her, we don't.

Last night, I slept in the room she has been occupying. I loved on her, talked to her & told her how much she means to me.

Today, Cop'er & I took her to cross the Rainbow Bridge... on her way to be with her brother, Riley. We stayed with her until the end, whispering how much we loved her, what a brave, beautiful kitty she has been & when we will see her again. It could easily be one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I didn't know that 9 years ago a little furball would steal my heart the way she did.

I love you, baby girl. RIP.

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.
~ Washington Irving

No comments: