Ella Fitzkitty

I said good-bye to my kitty today. She had not been eating or drinking for quite a while. Honestly, I'm not even sure what was keeping her alive, but I could not let it go on any longer. I tried everything to tempt her: treats, turkey, milk, cheese, canned food, etc. For a while, she was eating a few treats a day. The illogical part of my brain thought maybe I would just feed her treats instead of food, but obviously that was not a good long-term solution. I was also concerned about the fact that she was no longer drinking any water. I was still giving her the Pet-Tinic, and I believe that was the only fluid she was getting. I have not needed to clean her litter boxes in quite some time.

She did something very strange the other night. On Saturday evening, we had gone to a concert in the park. After the kid had taken a shower and headed off to bed, I settled in to watch "48 Hours Mystery" on TV. Now, the cat door has always been left unlocked, but Ella seldom came upstairs. My husband was sitting at the dining room table, fondling the comic books he had purchased at the convention earlier in the day. We heard the cat door swing open and then close with a thunk. Ella ran under the dining room table. The dogs were lying around like a bunch of carcasses and didn't notice anything. Nonetheless, I ran over and scooped her up before the Boxers regained consciousness.  She was just a jumble of bones covered in striped gray fur, all jagged angles in my arms. I settled back into my chair and held her in my lap. She climbed onto my shoulder and nuzzled into my neck. I am allergic, so I started sneezing shortly thereafter.

Now, Ella has never been a touch-feely sort of girl. That's why this event was so unusual. My husband has always joked that Ella is like a stripper - she can touch you, but you can't touch her. Over the years, sometimes she has permitted me to pet her and sometimes not. Sometimes she would allow me to run my hand along her spine just once and then she would hiss at me. Occasionally, I would even get a sound swat from a claws-out paw. So, it was definitely unusual that she would climb into my lap and then stay there for a while.

I held her until I couldn't stay awake any longer and then passed her to P. It was bittersweet to spend that time with her. I could tell she was in a lot of discomfort. Any time I shifted in my chair, she would mew in a way that told me there was pain there. The dogs, oddly enough, were leaving her alone. I don't know. Maybe she knew she was dying. Maybe they knew she was dying.

She died in my arms this afternoon. There was not much left to her, so the fatal fluid took effect very quickly. The veterinarian checked for a heartbeat and confirmed that my little tabby was gone. Dr. S left me alone in the room so that I could finish my good-byes. I laid Ella on the blanket-covered gurney. I arranged her tiny body so that she looked . . . comfortable, I suppose. I covered her still, small form with the baby blanket I had brought along. I placed my right hand on Ella's ribcage and clutched a wad of Kleenex in my left hand. And then I cried longer and louder than I have in a very long time. Finally, I leaned down and kissed her cheek and said, "I love you, Ella Fitzkitty. You were a good girl."

I will miss my strange little cat. My ninja kitty, who could hide in spaces seemingly too small for a gerbil. I hope they have some good hiding spots on the other side.