Saturday was not a happy day in this household; in fact, it was downright sad.
For days, I had become increasingly worried about Bella's health.
You remember Bella, don't you? I blogged about her just a few days after she came to us, on March 28th and every now and then afterward.
But on Saturday, October 28th, seven months to the day of her arrival, I felt that she must see the vet. She had been constipated for too long, and I had visions of her becoming extremely sick over the weekend when it would be very difficult to track down a vet. I knew they were only open on Saturday morning, so into the carrier she went: not exactly happily, poor thing.
I was in great fear and trepidation: on one hand, fearful that this would be the time for her to leave the living, but on the other hand, also fearful that she would be given temporary but perhaps invasive intervention only to continue to deteriorate. Neither outcome would be a happy one.
The vet diagnosed her kidneys to be failing and the prognosis was not good. Yes, Bella could possibly be rejuvenated to some degree by medical procedures that would have required anesthetic and subsequent hospitalization. But that measure could only provide temporary amelioration at best.
We couldn't do that to the girl. And so we let her go. We shed tears, just as I am shedding a few more right now as I type this.
I have put this photo on my computer as the wallpaper (background image).
As her name suggests, the girl was a beaut and had a very sweet personality to match.
Bella deeply insinuated herself into our hearts and lives in those seven months. She was almost a constant presence with her need to eat about a half dozen small meals per day with a little laxative mixed into each little offering.
There was much laptime, and wherever she chose to begin the night, whether upstairs or downstairs, I would find her in her little bed in the hall outside our bedroom in the morning. I imagine that had she been able to jump onto our bed and snuggle with us she would have, but it was beyond her. Almost as soon as I would arise, she would call out insistently and herd me downstairs for first breakfast. Yes, the old man and the old cat, both somewhat arthritic, would hobble downstairs together in those very early hours. I didn't mind. And in fact, I wish I could do it for her again.
I have marvelled that we miss her so much after just seven months, but I think it is due to her almost constant presence and companionship. We have had and have loved other cats, but she was more constantly with us if you know what I mean. And so we miss her much, even after such a short stay: too short a stay.
When we got up from watching TV last evening, Sunday, I experienced another flowing of tears because it would have been time for her last little meal of the day. But she wasn't there, just as she wasn't at the door to great us when we came home from JJ's hockey game this morning. (Rocky has been gone for seven years, and I still sometimes almost look for his greeting.)
As a bit of proof of her presence, I offer her final two photos, taken just a few days before her departure.
She had never done this before, but as I was trying to eat lunch, she was able to find purchase on the armrest by climbing over from Sue's chair because she never could have jumped up there from the floor. Of course this made eating somewhat difficult, but I didn't have the heart to shoo the elderly lady away, and so I let her stay there for as long as she desired.
Later that same afternoon, I snapped this shot of her on Sue's lap. I usually come up to my den to putter and quite possibly nap after lunch, and more often than not, when I would come back downstairs, I would find Bella on Sue's lap. (Sue doesn't like herself in the unflattering, harsh light of this phone photo, and I understand that, but at the same time I am smitten with the poignancy of the two gazing at each other in what turned out to be Bellla's last photo.)
So that's Bella's story and both my eulogy and catharsis of sorts. I have tried to make a nice composite from her photos, but sometimes things just don't want to come together properly, which is both disappointing and frustrating, and I gave up the project. I should have taken more photos and had more material from which to draw, but there was always tomorrow for that ... until there wasn't.
In the meantime, more for my record than anything, here is a list of the blog posts that I have written in the past seven months. The penultimate one in the list, All About Bella, gives more or less her complete story as we know it, except for this update. of course.
We Have Cat
The Cat Still Lives
The Cat Takes Precedence
Lady Bella Arbuckle Update
All About Bella
The Cat Got Me