We had to put down one of our cats over the weekend, and it happened very suddenly. I alternate between forgetting that she’s gone, being depressed when I remember, and accepting the fact that it happened probably in the best way it possibly could have. She was 12, and she had a few health scares over the last few years including arthritis and recently thyroid issues. But she got through each one, and had started taking her thyroid meds (which was a HUGE victory given just how much she didn’t want to do anything we wanted her to do). Then out of nowhere she got a blood clot that paralyzed her, and the vet said there was nothing we could do.
She was a great cat. She was fiercely independent, vindictive, sneaky, and affectionate only when it suited her.
When she was a kitten, we briefly taught her to both give high fives, and to fetch. This lasted a very short time until she decided she was over it.
She liked to steal things. When we moved out of one apartment, we found her huge stash of socks behind the couch. She lost interest in socks at some point but then liked to steal crinkly plastic wrappers and bread (she never ate the bread, only chewed on it). When she saw you were on to her, she’d grab it and take off. We had to put groceries away quickly.
She was methodical. If you had something she wanted, she was patient. She’d sit in the shadows of the room, scheming. She’d move closer, casually, looking the other way, stopping to clean herself. She’d end up close enough to maybe test the waters by slowly reaching out to put a paw near it. You’d shoo her off. She’d bide her time until the very moment you let your guard down and then BAM. Claws in your pizza crust. Or a paw in your cereal bowl. It was always funnier than it was annoying.
She was smart. When you tried to play with a laser pointer, she would play for about a minute before tracking the laser back to your hand, and attacking your hand instead. She understood that rules only applied if we could see her. You’d hear her on the kitchen counter, but by the time you got into the kitchen, she’d be on the floor, looking at you innocently. But if you did manage to catch her, she was defiant. I once walked in to her on the dining room table, ignoring my yelling at her, and when I tried to take her off, she sprawled out and tried to swat at me.
I’ve never seen another cat hold a grudge like she could. Once someone came over with a little jar of strawberry lip gloss. She was curious and sniffed it, only to reel and run out of the room with a look on her face like she had been hit. A year later, the same person came by again. Kitty walked into the room, saw her, got that same look on her face and took off.
Like most cats, she accepted pets until the moment she did not. Unlike most cats, she did not then offer a warning strike, but would immediately go into full attack mode. And even if you moved back quickly, she’d continue towards you to really ensure you understood her displeasure. I have a scar on my arm from the first time we vacuumed around her.
She could be really sweet when she wanted to be. In recent years, she started sitting on laps at times, but mostly she liked to sit next to you, loudly purring, often headbutting your arm or leg, hard. Sometimes the headbutts were requests for petting, but other times she’d act offended if you tried. She was difficult to figure out. Sometimes we’d catch her grooming our other cat, who she usually pretended to hate. But when the other cat would attempt to reciprocate, or when she saw us watching, she’d attack her and run away.
She would never have wanted to put up with being sick or dependent on us. Her arthritis was going to catch back up with her at some point, especially since she wouldn’t eat her damn glucosamine treats. (She generally refused to eat anything that wasn’t her dry kibble. She wouldn’t even eat tuna.)
And when the blood clot happened, she came and found me rather than hiding. It happened while our normal vet was open, and we were able to both be there for her. In many ways, it was the right way for her to go. I don’t have regrets about it. But I miss her.