a pretty little thing

My dad dropped me off at home a little while ago.  We had been at the emergency vet clinic with Stella.  Now I am too wound up to go to bed, so I am drinking tea and wondering how you can feel so sad about losing a cat you claimed not to even like very much.

When I got home from work I noticed that Stella's usual skitteriness had been replaced by a strange complacency. I didn't think much of it at the time though, and by the time I was thinking about going to sleep she didn't seem any worse so I went to bed.  I woke up at midnight and looked at her down at the bottom of my bed; she looked terrible.  Her eyes were glassy and I could tell she was uncomfortable.  The thing I disliked the most was that her pupils were the tiniest of slits, though they should have been dilated in the dim room.  When she didn't move away when I pet her for a length of time I got really worried.  She's just not the sort of friendly cat who lets you pet her very much or hold her on your terms. 

I got up, found that the vet up the street opens pretty early and decided that I would be waiting on their doorstep when they got there in the morning.  I couldn't get back to sleep though and after watching her for nearly two hours and seeing a definite decline since midnight, I called my dad and we went.

Stella was given oxygen and examined.  It was determined that she was suffering an extremely low blood sugar, the cause of which was likely a tumour on her pancreas.  When presenting the options the vet himself did not sound very enthusiastic at all about surgery, which my dad and I both found surprising.  It's not often you hear of a vet recommending euthanization as the best option anymore. 

A nurse brought her in so I could say goodbye and they wanted to know if I wanted to be with her when they gave her the needle and wait with her.  I thought I wanted to do that but my dad put his foot down and said no.  I think he was right, it was hard enough to let them take her away.  It was clear as I scratched her ears for the last time that she did not know what was going on anyway.  It was also clear she would not have made it through the night at home and although I am not happy about the decision I made, I am glad that her suffering was not prolonged.

Stella was a cat that Kevin had to have and then abandoned (he abandoned her years before he abandoned the rest of us), and in the last year and a half I have certainly held that association against her.  I would often look at her and think about why I insisted on him catching her from the neighbour's yard in Hamilton and bringing her here, seemingly just so I could have a constant reminder of how everything in my life got fucked up.  Somewhere over the course of the last eight months she got it in her head to destroy my red chair and went about it with single-minded determination, which made me even more mad at her.  Her behaviour was often rather offensive – she would clean herself immediately after anyone touched her and constantly skittered off at the slightest noise or movement I made.  Routinely she would beat the shit out of 15 year old Poco despite being half his size.

But recently I felt like she was making a big effort to be my friend.  She started sleeping with me at night.  Sometimes I would wake up and find her perched on my body giving me the hope that someday she might feel comfortable enough to sit on my lap even if I weren't shrouded in a blanket.  She seemed to want to be near me more than she ever had in her 8 years, and would sit behind me on the couch and curl her tail around my neck and purr in my ear. 

She had a sweet little meow, and a very ladylike way of stretching her front paws out one at a time.  And as my dad often said, she was "a pretty little thing."  I will miss her.

10 thoughts on “a pretty little thing

  1. I’m so sorry Les. These little furry things have a way of working their way into our hearts…even if we don’t want them to.

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