It’s been a week, now, since I woke up to find my oldest kitty, Felicity, an orange and white tabby, in much distress. She tried to get up and walk but her legs would not support her. I had noticed she had not eaten at all the day before and that she had looked quite wobbly. She was 20 1/2, quite a long life for a kitty and she was my first pet, found at an animal pound in eastern Pittsburgh during my seminary years. (I had grown up with kitties but had never taken on one as an adult because I traveled so frequently). It was March 2 and I was getting Veeka ready for school and I had a sad feeling this was it, so I told Veeka to pet her and essentially say good-bye. You can see Veeka stroking the kitty as she lay, collapsed, by the water bowl.
After Veeka left, I managed to get some fluids into the kitty but it was tough going. I called the vet to say my cat was dying and could I come in. By the time the poor thing was lying on the table at the vet’s office, she was breathing shallow breaths. Her body temperature was so low, the vet tech could not even get a reading. I had gone through this with my little Tenacity, who died six years ago and I knew that when the body temperature drops like that, it’s a matter of hours. We discussed options but it was clear the kitty was fading fast. And so at 9:35 a.m., Felicity died.
When Veeka came home from school, we buried her in the back yard with an appropriate song and daffodils cast on her grave. It had just started to rain. I do have one more kitty, Serenity, age 19 1/2, left, but my little tortoiseshell has kitty dementia and tends to howl at various hours of the night for no discernible reason. She sleeps 90 percent of the time, curled up behind the harp and I don’t doubt her journey over the rainbow bridge will come within the next year. I do miss Felicity, who was far more sociable and would often in recent months beg to be taken into my lap for some human comfort.
Two days later on a Sunday, I went to the morning service at the Naval Academy chapel to hear a visiting speaker and to show Veeka the grounds. As a military family, we used to drive about the grounds all the time 40+ years ago and it was so strange to be back there. Veeka and I loved walking along the waterfront in the cold but sunny weather. Afterwards, we attended the baptism and celebratory party for Ashton Louis, the newly adopted son of Grace and Jeff Kuhner and it was a bash to end all bashes: More food, wine, champagne, balloons, party favors, a DJ, prizes and guests than anything I’ve been at for some time. Kind of took my mind off my little kitty. Veeka was voted the best dancer there – she never stopped bopping about the dance floor and everyone was amazed at her talent. Pretty good for a six-year-old.
This past week, I’ve dug out my old brown book of Hans Christian Anderson fairytales and today got her started on “The Wild Swans” and “The Ugly Duckling,” two of my favorites. Up til now I’ve always had to have pictures for Veeka to be interested in a story but now she’s able to listen and taken a story sans illustrations. She’s about to lose her fourth tooth, so my little moppet continues to get bigger. This weekend is being spent hard at work on a pile of freelance assignments that came in all at once plus try to keep to a strict diet I’m on (conveniently during Lent) to get off some pounds that have crept on over the years. One of the things I have do without is caffeine (!) as the Fat Flush plan makes you go off anything that keeps your liver from metabolizing fat and apparently all that morning joe slows those processes down. It’s all protein, fruits and veggies and lots of flaxseeds, flaxseed oil and cranberry juice I’m buying in bulk from Trader Joe’s. It’s stricter than South Beach! But the weight going down, am glad to say.