There’s no good way to start this post. Lizzie Cat is gone.
If you’ve been around the blog for any number of years, you’ll know my home, lovingly referred to as Bedford Manor, is also nicknamed Catford Manor. We had started a column, Life With Lizzie, but didn’t write too much. How could I find time to have her write when I was too busy loving on her?
Lizzie was more than a pet. She was a piece of me. She was the reason Egyptians worshipped cats. And while I wasn’t going to blog about our loss, I’ve been finding my outlet ~ and support ~ through my private Facebook posts. I realized so many people feel the same about their FurFamily. Being a nonhuman doesn’t make them any less valuable or integral to the family.
Sure, she didn’t get a say in the family budget, unless it was her catnip allowance. Decorating tips? Rip here, pee there was kind of her Bohemian style.
In the mornings, she would walk me to the door and sometimes I’d feel so sad and guilty for having to leave. In the evenings, she’d welcome me back with a meow and a flick of her tail.
It’s the little things now I’m noticing. How when I do dishes she’s not wrapping around my ankles. When I’m cleaning she’s not following me from room to room. I miss her “Meow-Mom” call from the other room when she wanted me to play with her. I miss her flopping onto my left arm when I wanted to write but she wanted to cuddle.
I miss her. I miss her deeply. For sixteen years, this cat slept in my arms. Licked my tears. Played with my shoestrings. She loved to nip my fingers and nuzzle my face until I couldn’t breathe. Every night she would climb up the bed, walk across the pillows to her spot. If I was watching TV with my back to her, she’d stay on my pillow near my head. As soon as I’d turn over, she’d move off the pillow. I’d have to lift the covers for her. She’d nudge me, turn a circle, and lay down with her back to me so I could wrap an arm around her. I’d snuggle her up with hugs and kisses, and she’d drape a paw over my arm and push her nose into my hand. And that’s how we slept for sixteen years.
I didn’t know she was sick, although in retrospect the signs were there. I’d been dreaming of losing her. She was moving slower. In the last two weeks she was vomiting.
Last Tuesday, she started twitching, but it was just her tail so I didn’t pay attention. She was on the sofa. I got ready for bed, gave her a pet and said, “Come on.” She usually follows me. I was exceptionally tired. I woke up four times in the night calling for her. She never came to bed. But I couldn’t wake up enough to go find her.
Wednesday morning, she was on Dot’s bed. She rarely went into Dot’s room, even when Dot lived at home. That was the other cats’ territory. That room was for Fluffy and Sparkles and sometimes Iris. Lizzie’s territory was my room and the living room. So I went in and loved on her. I laughed and asked, “What are you doing in here?”
It had been a colder night, and the other cats slept on my bed. I thought, maybe she just felt like being alone even though that was out of character. I went to get my iPhone to take a picture. Can’t wait to send this to Dot. When I returned, she was trying to walk. But she was staggering. And I knew.
And my heart sank. And I held her and kissed her and cried. No! No! No! Not my Lizzie! I called my mom. And then I called my boss. I had to get her to the vet. As I was leaving a message for my boss, I looked but couldn’t find Lizzie. I panicked. Did she fall? Was she under the bed? Where was she?
I stepped into the hallway and saw her walking away from the food dish. Walking. So maybe it wasn’t bad. Her gait was slow but normal. Maybe she just had a sore paw. She let me love on her again, her meow was almost normal. I called everyone back and said, “No worries. I’m going to work.”
I worked. I came home. Lizzie was back on Dot’s bed. And once again she didn’t sleep with me. But when I went to her, she purred. She didn’t nuzzle, but she let me cuddle. And on Thursday morning, she purred and flicked her tail and for the first time in two days, her eyes seemed more focused.
I left food and water for her, and went to Thanksgiving.
But we knew.
After the big dinner, I came home. She was restless. Dot’s pillow. Foot of the bed. Afghan. She couldn’t get comfortable. And I couldn’t bear to see her feeling so terrible.
I fixed up the rolling cube that she loved to sleep on. I put her blanket on it, her bear, and sprayed it all with the eucalyptus-peppermint pillow spray she loves so much. I rolled it into Dot’s room and left it by the bed. I snuggled up next to her and she let me stay. Then she stood up and carefully stepped onto the cube. Gently, slowly, I rolled it into my room next to the bed. And we tried to fall asleep.
At midnight exactly, she stepped up onto my bed, onto my pillows. She didn’t want to snuggle, but her being on the pillow was good enough for me. I could tell she didn’t feel good, was still lethargic, but she wanted to be near me. Tomorrow was Friday. Tomorrow the holiday would be over. Tomorrow we would go to the vet.
She woke me at 6:30 in the morning. She cried twice for me. I found her on the shower floor, weak, fallen. She couldn’t move. She could barely breathe. She had dry heaves. I tried to open her mouth to see if she was choking. She bit my finger, hard. So I called the vet. They weren’t open yet. I called the emergency pet clinic and told them I was on the way. All while trying to get dressed and get the cat carrier ready. In between each call I rushed back to Lizzie and loved on her. I cried with her. I encouraged her.
Then I called my mom. And less than a minute later, Lizzie was gone.
For two days I blamed myself. I fought the truth that it was just her time. And I am reminded, over eight years ago, she was ill, like this. And we took her to the vet. He told us she had an enlarged heart, arthritis, and weakened kidneys. He gave her six months to live. We took her home and loved on her. He gave her six months. We gave her eight and half more years.
Catford Manor is a little darker now. And although I deeply love my other cats, there will never be another Lizzie. I will never get another pet. She was my one in a million. She was my goddess.
I am blessed that I was home with her, that we loved on each other in the last moments. I didn’t wonder or worry. She held on through the holiday itself. She tried for one last snuggle. She gave us a wonderful life.
In upcoming posts, I home to share with you antics of the other residents of Catford Manor, and their cousins Zoey and Romeo.
There is no good way to end this post.
And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!