but I had hoped there would be more time.
Granted I have been expecting this post for months, so there has been time. But not enough.
There never is enough time.
Especially when you have a 17 year old cat who has been slowly getting thinner & thinner. One who has a bloody abscess on her paw that never really heals. And who, despite being inside for 3 days eating & drinking, added nothing to her litterbox in all that time.
I knew it was coming. It was inevitable really, but I had hoped there might be something we could do. That I could take her to the vet today & they would say ‘oh some antibiotics and this special diet & she’ll be fine’
Even though I knew in my heart they’d tell me it was time to let her go.
I didn’t want to have to make that decision so I had been cowardly putting it off all last week.
Thursday morning when I was getting ready to mop the floor Pandora was dithering about going outside & I nudged her out so I could clean. She spent most of her days laying in the sun on the front porch, then she comes in at dinner time & stays the night, going back out after breakfast. No reason it should be any different this day.
But it was.
I finished cleaning, did some other things & looked out on the porch. There were cats out there like always, but not Pandora.
OK, well sometimes she lays under my van or in other shady places so I didn’t think much of it.
Until she didn’t come for dinner. When it started to get dark I searched around the yard and called her but she didn’t come. She wasn’t there at the door in the morning like she always was when she stayed out overnight. I searched the yard again more thoroughly, looking in the sheds and under them, looking under the brush & tree branches, but there was no sign of her.
And I knew why. There could only be one reason.
She was gone. I sat by her brother’s grave (he died in 2006) and cried for her, dying alone outside, wishing I’d kept her inside, wishing I knew for sure she actually was beyond pain & suffering & not stuck someplace slowly starving to death. I searched again later in the day & again on Saturday, hoping I’d find…something, anything but where ever she went, it' wasn’t on our property or was so deep under something I can’t find her remains.
We got her & her brother as kittens from a coworker of mine in late June 1993. They were born on Memorial day
All she ever wanted was love. She was always on me, petting was not enough. She had to be on my lap, in my face and both my hands had to be petting her. Getting her to settle down & lay near me was almost impossible because as soon as I took my hand off her she was back stealthing her way onto my lap, getting under the book, nudging my hand, bumping the book out of the way “pet me! pet me!! pet me!!!” She stealthed everyone. You’d be sitting there talking, having a drink and suddenly you would look down & not only would there be a cat on your lap, but you’d be petting her. With no memory of how that came to be.
She and her brother were inseparable until the day he died.
She tolerated the boys, though bringing home Mayhem was pretty much enough for her. She decided since we would insist on bringing these stinky noisy grabby furless things into the house, she would go outside where it was quiet & safe. She and Buddah and our other cat Nefer decided they would be indoor outdoor cats, emphasis on outdoor after Mayhem joined us.
She & Buddah have been with us all our married life. For over 9 years they were our only babies & we indulged them & cosseted them & worried about them just like we do the boys. Havoc learned how to interact with other babies & toddlers from them. He used to head bump people’s hands when they looked at him, knowing that was how you asked people to touch you or hold you. He’d slowly brush up against other 14 month olds because that was how you greeted your peers. He met our friend’s 7 month old for the first time by gently butting her in the chest to say hi. He had the patience to pet Pandora endlessly when he was 3, maybe finally giving her enough attention, if just for a little bit.
A few months ago she started getting thinner but nothing was noticeably wrong with her. She developed a growth on her paw but it was benign & not hurting her or causing her any trouble walking. She was just old. Then about 10 days ago the growth split into a bloody abscess and I noticed she wasn’t just thin but skin & bones. It was creepy to pet her because she was just bones. It was like petting a skeleton. So we brought her inside more often to make sure she was getting enough food, though the younger cats had always been very respectful of Revered Very Old Lady Cat & would step away from the food or water bowls when she came over. They would lay near her & keep her company but I doubt it filled the void left by Buddah’s passing 4 years ago.
She’s with him now I hope & I hope she is filled with all the love she wanted so much in life. I pray the Lady will hold her in her arms and give her all the petting & attention she wanted so much in life. I pray her passing was gentle and painless & I wish I could have done better by her at the end.
A part of my heart has gone & it will probably be awhile before I don’t look every morning for her on the porch. Rest in peace Pandora. You are dearly loved and dearly missed.