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26 January 2009 @ 01:42 pm
Sunday 2009  
It was minutes, perhaps seconds, before the life was to pass from her completely. She wasn’t dead yet, and we didn’t know she was dying. She had been weak, after losing nearly half her body mass through various infections that had wasted her and taken away her appetite. She had been getting weaker, and the previous day we had found a trail of urine which broke just before it reached her litter box.

For all her months of illness, through the dreadful emaciation, as an agile and lively carnivore was transformed into little more than a skeleton with fur, I had avoided becoming emotional. My wife had supplied all the necessary tears.

But it was that moment, when she suddenly became so weak that she couldn’t even sit up and could barely even move a muscle. It was that moment that I broke down. I couldn’t stand to see her that way, her last modicum of strength failing. I cried, and I cried, and I cried.

I didn’t know she was dying. I collected myself just enough to put her into her carrier as my wife called the 24-hour veterinary emergency center. The cat had been spending a lot of time in the security of her carrier lately, and it seemed to me she was trying to walk in but just couldn’t even get a muscle to move. I lifted her in, and it seemed to me that she lay down, but perhaps her body just collapsed. For all I know now, she may already have been dead.

We didn’t know she was dying. We rushed her to the clinic, and the nurse said she would take her in back to take a look. My wife had barely begun filling out the intake form when the nurse returned, “She’s gone.”

We don’t know what caused her death. From our description, the nurse thought it might have been her heart. I can imagine that months of weakening and weight loss and several courses of antibiotics hadn’t left her heart in very good condition. And I don’t imagine that the special food we fed her to help her gain weight – the high-calorie mixture that had made our bathroom walls smell of liver after months of force-feeding – helped matters in that regard. Anyhow, for whatever reason, she was no longer alive.

It’s Monday now. Ten years ago, when our last cat died, I took the next day off from work. That wasn’t an option this time, because I work at home now, and there are things that need to be done. But nothing will get done very efficiently. The edges of my nostrils are sore, the way they get when you’ve had a cold for several days. My nose has bled three times in the past four hours. I think that’s a record.