The vet told me it was the last best decision I could make for my baby girl. The one that would close her eyes. End her life.
So it was.
She had a bladder tumor. She could not find the litter box. Sometimes I would wake up covered in her urine because she’d lost control in the middle of night—so I would change the sheets, my pajamas, and go back to bed.
She could not stop it, so I did not get angry. I just cuddled her, sighed “Oh, baby girl”, and did what must be done.
Now she is gone.
Puck. Pucker. Bak-bak. Old girl. Grumpy Puck.
She was mine, from 8 weeks old. Mr. Alexander locked me into a room with three kittens. Naturally, we went home with one.
Those first few months I carried her in my 1990’s overalls front pocket or in my arms to keep the older cats from beating on her. Once she’d been assimilated, she was into everything, full of mischief and fire and trouble.
Puck. From A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
She also followed me everywhere. Cuddled on my lap. Slept on my chest overnight. Curled up in the curve behind my knees when I slept on my side.
19 years, she did this.
She also took years off my life when she climbed onto the screen of my 6th floor apartment, knocked out the screen, and then clung to the brick until I rescued her. She took another year off when nearly got hit by a car racing across the road after she’d escaped from our first house.
She played with laser pointers and had the highest jump of any cat I’d ever seen. She came when I called, knew how to ask (demand) food or fresh water. If you petted her long enough she would drool with satisfaction, and when she napped deeply, she would snore. She would patiently follow me around until I found a seat so she could jump up on my lap, find a comfy spot, and take a little catnap.
Even more, she would let me hold her like a baby. Utterly trusting as I carried her about the house, whether she was three years old or thirteen or nineteen.
In the last days I would put her in the litter every few hours, just as if she were my toddler. I cleaned up after her when she used my bathroom rug or Mr. Alexander’s blue jeans instead. I fed her special prescription food for kidney disease—and she was excellent about telling me when it was time for food. She’d sit in the center of the kitchen, staring at me until I got out the can. Even if it took 10 minutes because I was putting dinner together, she’d stay there. Waiting for me.
And on the morning of her trip up the rainbow to the Great Kitty Playground in the Sky, I laid on the couch with her for an hour, letting her sleep and snore and drool with happiness on my lap.
When the moment came, I held her until her eyes closed. I wished her luck. And I let her absolute trust fill my heart.
Pucker was mine. She always will be.
But when I went to bed last night, there was no kitty curled up on my chest.