Our Cat Died (And It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye)
Eleanor died today.
It was the day I had been dreading for two months, but, for her sake, had been eager for since yesterday.
I don’t like cats. I mean, they’re fine. They’ve always just been THERE. You know, crawling all over your lap when you’re trying to eat a taco or batting a rubber ball around the house at 4:40 a.m. when you’re trying to sleep (I’m looking at you, Gus).
Eleanor was different, though. When we lost Gus and were ready for a new cat, I picked her out from the Secondhand Hounds website (look at that picture!). I saw her furry body with her white furry chest and stubby legs and I had to have her. Never in my life had I wanted to cuddle something so badly. Her given name was Snickers (really).
I remember going to the foster’s home and hearing her say that nobody wanted her because she was “too old” (she was 1 1/2 at the time). I had been in a panic because surely SOMEBODY was going to snap her up—LOOK AT HER! It broke my heart that, well, there was no need to panic. A couple of weeks later she was ours.
We were told that she wasn’t a lap cat and she didn’t like to snuggle. I don’t know what cat the foster had been living with, but Eleanor was most certainly a lap cat. Actually, she was more of a chest and neck cat. She loved to curl up with Danny, her body on his chest, laying cheek to cheek with him.
Just like any proper obituary, I’m going to list some of her favorite things:
- Every night at the same time, she would jump up on the bed. First, she would lay on my chest and snuggle with me and then she would move to Danny. I would always have to have a particular blanket with me (if my bathrobe was on the bed, she was OUTTA THERE).
- Every morning, when she’d hear me get up to pee, she would do the same routine as she did the night before. She would get her snuggles and go on with her day.
- She loved to watch Timberwolves games with Danny. Actually, she wasn’t watching much of anything because her face would be pressed against Danny’s the whole time, but you get where I’m going.
- She loved to play “What’s That Moving Around Under the Blanket?” We’d move our hands under the blanket and she would swat at it with her little paws. She also loved a good, swingin’ shoelace to bat at.
- Girl loved her some catnip. Get her a bag and it would be everywhere, with her rolling around in it. Oh, Eleanor, our little party animal.
- She also loved sharing cans of tuna with me. Who’s going to share a can of tuna with me now?
- She didn’t meow a lot, she wasn’t a whiner. She was a dignified, pretty girl who loved us as fiercely as we loved her.
At the end, she stopped eating. She stopped snuggling. She certainly didn’t want any catnip. She spent her days curled up on a red blanket in the basement, eyes wide open. Sometimes we would find her curled up on a pair of Danny’s slippers next to the washing machine (cats are so weird).
Even though she found it difficult to walk and her body was down to only a few pounds, she would give out a squeak when we would appear, ready to give her pets. Much to our surprise, she appeared upstairs in our dining room at 11:30 last night. It was so difficult for her to breathe and her footing was unstable, but she made the long trek up the stairs to say goodbye. It was both heartwarming and devastatingly heartbreaking.
She knew it was time.
This morning, after making short rounds to our room and Eliot’s room, she found a spot on the rug. The wonderful, beautiful, angel of a vet came and Eleanor went oh so peacefully, in the best kind of way. We had given her lots of pets, lots of kisses and said “I love you” over and over.
I can honestly say that this is the first time I TRULY understand and completely feel the loss of a pet. How it feels just like losing a person, a family member, a friend.
I absolutely adored this cat. Unlike with people, there’s no drama, no regrets, no hurt feelings, no being pissed off at them because they stole your boyfriend in college (or whatever). She just loved us with all of her fluffy softness, holding us cheek to cheek for the 5 years that we were lucky enough to have her.
Now, in her honor, I’m going to go have some tuna hot dish for lunch. This one’s for you Eleanor. I love you.
Thank you so much to Dr. Parks at Nokomis Pet Clinic and Dr. Keller at Animal Emergency and Referral Center for being so kind during Eleanor’s illness. And thank you to Amber at MNPets for giving Eleanor such a peaceful send off today. It made a world of difference.