in may of 1990, a friend of a friend of mine asked me whether i would mine sitting for her fiance's cat while they looked for a cat-friendly apartment in their new hometown out of state. though my then-fiance was allergic to cats, i agreed to watch misty for two weeks.
two weeks came and went, and susie called to arrange to pick misty up--it had to be by 11am so she had time to get her to the vet for her shots, because the kennel insisted. "kennel?" i asked. "you're going to put her in a kennel?" little did i know, susie and bill had no reservation at any kennel. they knew as soon as i heard a kennel was in the offing, i'd insist on keeping misty until they found a place.
it worked. i begged my then-fiance, who of course indulged me (as he did with pretty much everything), to let us keep her until susie and bill found a place that would let them take misty.
in july, susie came into the office and asked, "so, how would you like to keep the cat?" i tried to hide my glee. apparently bill had found a place, but it didn't accept cats. i asked geoffery, who said (of course) okay.
when she'd come to stay with us, misty would slink along walls and avoid us. she would pounce on us, biting and clawing our legs, drawing blood on our calves, any time we walked past. she seemed to hate us. but geoffery picked her up and held her, much to her chagrin, every night.
eventually, she learned to love this, and him, and me. she began to seek us out for attention. within a year or so, she'd gotten to the point where she'd insist on coming to sit on my lap any time i was stationary. or on my chest. she was addicted to me, and to him. those were the best years, and they lasted a long time. geoffery got to name her--we hated the name misty--and he chose "kuan yin," after the boddhisattva of compassion in chinese buddhism, which he was studying at the time. our running joke was that she was named after a goddess of mercy, and she was very big on the goddess part, but not so much on the mercy part. (she was never very nice to anyone except us, and us only when she felt like it.)
she was sad when geoffery and i split up in the late 1990s, and she was great comfort to me through some difficult times. she adored andrew from day one, despite his allergies. fortunately, he didn't seem particularly allergic to her. he'd greet her daily with "hello, beast!" and she'd curl around his legs whenever he'd walk.
she seemed to stay youthful and sprightly despite her years--nobody could believe she was as old as she was--until the last year or two. age, a rude move into a new home at an age when she probably didn't need a move like that, adding two dogs to her life, and...finally...thyroid disease all took their toll. months ago, we saw a decline in her health. weight loss, antisocial behavior, unhappiness, yowling, change in litterbox use, loss of appetite. the vet helped us help her for several months, with medication, change of foods, and closer supervision of some behaviors. but the end was inevitable.
and today it came. after several days of not eating and rapid worsening of other symptoms, i finally realized that what i had been wrestling with for weeks--thinking it might be time to discuss euthanasia with the vet--was actually upon me. lots of talk with friends who've gone through this and lots of introspection, and of course talking to the vet, all made for a long morning.
so the vet arrived this morning and gave her a tranquilizer. she fell asleep in my arms, in the sunbeam in the kitchen bay window that she loved more than any other spot in the house. i stroked her until she was completely relaxed, then we moved her to the kitchen island for the final injection. thank goodness for house-call vets.
the dogs said goodbye sadly, sweetly, and with curiosity. they loved their kitty, even though she really didn't like them one bit.
she went very, very peacefully. i have a migraine from the crying, and i can't seem to stop cleaning. i miss the girl she was in her good times, but i'm relieved--so relieved--that her suffering is over. i gave her remaining thyroid pills to the vet to give to another patient who couldn't afford them; i'll offer her littermaid box to a friend with two cats, but the rest of her food and dishes i'll offer to a shelter. i look forward to that.
the woman who came to remove her body, deb from chartiers custom cremation services, was wonderful, compassionate and sweet. i told her i thought she must hate doing what she does for a living, as i began to cry again when i petted kuan yin goodbye before deb covered her with a towel to take her away. but she said she really doesn't, that everyone she meets loves their pets, that she never meets people who are mean or cruel, and that even people who don't connect with other people connect with these pets. that's honor and integrity if i ever encountered it.
so it's a sad day. i'm grateful for my labs. i wish my head didn't hurt so damned much, as i have just tons of work to do and i have no idea how i'll get it done, between the pain and the emotional distraction. and with company coming this weekend, i don't really have the luxury of putting it off until then. ugh.
my, what a rambly post. no apologies there. you can imagine why.