Seventeen years ago two friends who were moving gave us a stray kitten that they had been feeding. They couldn’t keep it because their other cats wouldn’t accept it, and they were worred how well it would survive. Since at the time we only had one cat, we figured a second wouldn’t hurt.
Arana wasn’t thrilled with the new addition, having become accustomed to being queen of all she surveyed, but eventually they came to terms. Felicia, as we eventually named her, delighted in climbing the bookcases, leaping from there onto the tops of doors, and perching on my shoulder. After she was fixed she started putting on weight, which hampered her climbing somewhat, but didn’t stop her from trying.
After we bought the house, our menagerie slowly grew. Felicia took each newcomer in stride, the strays and the kittens being equally accepted. When Arana left us after a long illness, Felicia accepted the role of Old Lady as if born to it, curling up on the heat vent or my wife’s lap as the mood took her. She would deign to join the others at dinnertime and assert her right to first choice of the food bowl. Oddly, she never cared much for people food and seldom tried to steal from my wife’s plate like the others.
In recent years she began losing weight, but the vet assured us that this was not unusual in older cats. Last weekend, however, she did not come upstairs to take her accustomed place in our bed, and when suppertime came Sunday night she stayed on her heat vent; when I picked her up and took her into the dining room she just sniffed at the food and walked away. Monday I came home from work and my wife said she couldn’t find Felicia. I checked all her usual hideaways, then started checking the rest of the house until I found her in the storeroom closet. It was decided that a trip to the vet was in order.
When our friend came to drive her to the vet, we noticed that her fur had taken on a distinctly yellowish color. Blood tests confirmed that she was suffering from severe liver damage. After several days of treatment, including force-feeding, we were given the news we had feared. Further treatment would do nothing but prolong an uncomfortable existance.
So after work today I went to the vet and said goodbye, then held her while he prepared the injection. She was so weak that the vet thought he wouldn’t need to give her the usual sedative, but Felicia wasn’t going to go that easily. Even after being put to sleep she had to make things difficult; her veins were so small the vet had trouble with the final shot.
Next week I’ll be returning to pick up her ashes; she’ll be joining Arana in the back yard come spring.