Today, July 3, 2007, Ms. Kitty the Cat was euthanized at 10:47 a.m. She was approximately 19 years old, or about 93 in people years. She mostly died of old age and failing kidneys, perhaps “failure to thrive” if a death certificate had been issued (one was not).
We adopted Kitty from the Albuquerque Humane Society shelter on April 13, 1990. She came into the shelter pregnant, but the powers-that-be felt she was ‘adoptable.’ The shelter vet aborted her kittens and fixed her at the same time. Her bobcat-belly fur spots took a long time to grow in. I wanted to adopt a black and white cat similar to our one that had died of feline leukemia. It was down to the black and white and Kitty. We were in the visiting room with Kitty, and at the last second she put her paw up to Mark’s face and gently patted his beard. That was that. They both sneezed all the way home.
Kitty had been failing the past few months, down to 4 pounds and very frail. Yesterday she lay on our chests for hours, too weak to pat Mark’s face. This morning as we observed her head hanging in her water bowl, unable to drink, we both knew it was time. The euthanization took less than 3 seconds. She died peacefully, with both of us stroking her head and gently holding her tiny front paws. In her eyes, I saw her life light fade to death’s dullness. There was little discernible difference between her living and dying presence.
Those of you who knew Kitty over the past 17 years have your own stories to tell–both good and funny ones of her galloping through the house like a wild-west pony, man-handling the 60-pound dog, curling around one’s neck like a living stole. One summer she captured the fancy of a small male box turtle who lived in the backyard. They would play hide and seek in the tall grass. Others will tell of her uncanny ability to adhere to those who most disliked cats, including climbing onto the back of one such person and refusing to vacate. Most will remember that she loved to snuggle on one’s lap, especially if one held a brush in one’s hand. She purred and purred with satisfaction, and when one lap was used, she’d move to another.
We know that we gave Kitty 17 years of care and love and life. We know that life evolves into death. Yet we will miss Kitty’s antics, presence and energy much more than we realize. May we all live as long and loved a life as Kitty did. May we continue to adopt adult animals from shelters and rescue groups and give them many years of hope and life. MR