Today, we had to say goodbye to the best cat we’ve ever known. We went to bed with a cat who seemed fine and woke up to one whose body was shutting down rapidly. We thought we’d have years and years of loving Clair and, instead, we had to deal with letting her go. We’re still trying to figure out how to deal with the quiet she’s left in the house. My only consolation is that two separate vets lost their cats to the same thing and both said that you never see it coming and that it’s fast. She had a massive obstruction in her intestine, most likely adenocarcinoma (yes, I had to look it up), that wouldn’t have been operable, wouldn’t have responded well to chemotherapy, and our poor kitty wasn’t stable enough to survive either, anyway. She was twelve years old and we loved her immensely.
I had Clair since my college days. She was the first pet I ever owned, on my own. She was a Ragdoll, chocolate pointed, although her white furry toes and white chin spot made her “pet quality” instead of “show quality”. All this meant was that I could afford her more easily. Ragdolls are known as the dogs of the cat world: they come when you call them and are friendly and affectionate. Clair could have been the poster child for Ragdolls everywhere. She always wanted to be where people were; she was always waiting at the door to greet you when you came home. She never ran from company and she would demand attention if you so much as looked at her. If you had papers on the table, she’d know and appear solely to lie on top of them. She was fluffy and cuddly and soft.
Clair watched cats and dogs come and go from our household and never so much as meowed in complaint. She took everything in stride, probably because she knew she would always be queen of the household.
When Travis moved in, Clair became his cat. He loved her and spoiled her, most likely more than I did. Cat beds showed up in every room of the house. Stools and chairs were placed strategically so she didn’t have to jump so high. Treats and catnip flowed like no other. She was definitely loved and she reciprocated by following him everywhere he went. From room to room, she was like his shadow.
Clair loved boxes and bags. Put an empty box on the floor, she’d be in it. Put it on a table, she’d find it. Laundry baskets were equally favored. I think her favorite “bed” was Travis’ suitcase. Anytime it came out for travel, it would be covered in Clair-fur before too long.
Clair loved to drink out of water glasses. If you turned your back on your glass, chances were it became hers. If she couldn’t reach the water with her head, she’d dip a paw in. She also loved drinking from the bathroom faucet. Travis would always leave it trickling when he brushed his teeth so she could have a drink. Spoiled cat, I tell you.
When the weather turned cold, we knew we could expect some furry company on the bed. She would settle into her cat bed (on the nightstand) when we went to bed, but before long we’d find a tail in our face, a paw on our head, and a rumbling body snuggled between the pillows. The dogs sleep on the floor, but Clair slept anywhere she wanted.
We started giving Clair a little wet cat food in the mornings. She, in turn, would remind us if we forgot. I also found out Travis would sneak her some turkey breast meat if he made himself a sandwich.
Clair enjoyed being up high; I guess so she could survey her domain. Travis built her cat shelves that led above the television and she would hang out there every night with us. If she was lucky, she’d find a little sprinkle of catnip on her shelf, courtesy of Travis. She only fell off once, after some vigorous rolling around in catnip.
We’re having our kitty cremated and we’ve ordered a nice box (definitely not a modestly priced receptacle) for her. It has a place for a photo and it has a little engraved plaque. Maybe we’ll place her back on her cat shelf.
You never expect to leave the house with a cat and return with an empty carrier. You never expect how much a little cat integrates into your life. And you certainly don’t expect how quiet a house can be without her, even with three dogs still running around. We miss her so much.
More pictures here.