My cat is dying. My cat that I have had since college, for over 15 years, is dying. And if you are not an animal/cat person...well, you might want to stop reading because you probably won't understand.
So as I said (for those of you still with me), my old cat Annabelle is dying. I got her in college when she was a kitten. I was just as impulsive then as I am now. So one day my roommate Kelli and I decided to get a kitten. I saw one of those "free to good home" ads and headed on over. She was the last kitten left...and she was adorable!
We had a new little addition. She really was a good cat...although she attacked Kelli's legs quite often. I think she sensed that Kelli wasn't really a cat person. Once the kitten cuteness wore off, she lost interest...and Annabelle attacked from time to time. It was always good for a laugh because Kelli is and was a bit (read: extremely) dramatic.
So she basically became MY cat. When I was away for a 5 week study abroad program during the winter of 2000 in England, Ireland, and Scotland, I left notes all over our apartment...
Did you feed Annabelle today?
Please feed Annabelle!!!
Don't forget to feed me...I'm starving. Meow.
If you don't feed me, I will attack you in your sleep. Love, Annabelle
Well, I guess she fed her because Annabelle survived.
The next year I graduated from college. Annabelle and I packed up and moved back to my parents' house for about 2 years.
Then I bought my first house. Annabelle and I moved into the house together. I was petrified most nights and wasn't a huge fan of living alone. I would lock all the doors then go up to bed...and then lock my bedroom door too. Annabelle would always sleep at the bottom of my bed on those nights.
About 6 months later, my now husband moved in and she tolerated him just fine. But THEN we went and got a Saint Bernard puppy. I'm sure she was pretty pissed but she didn't let it show. The two became good friends.
The next year we got married AND moved to a new house...with the dog and Annabelle in tow.
Over the next 9 years, I had not one, not two, but THREE children. I also had a home daycare for four of those years. Annabelle took it all in stride. She let the kids pet her, pull her tail, poke her in the eyes, and I am sure much much more...
She's been there through it all. And now she's dying.
The other day I was petting her as she struggled to breathe. Although she doesn't seem to be in pain, seeing her like this hurts my heart.
I try to spend some time each day just petting her and giving her extra attention. Yesterday, she seemed to be staring at me as I pet her. You know how cats do. (And it can be creepy and eerie.) But she kept staring.
So I looked at her as I was petting her head and said, "It's okay Belle...we've had a good run, girl. Thanks for always being there."
She seemed to be satisfied with that.
And it's true...she's been there for 15 plus years, and we sure have had a good run.
I wrote this post last night. Today, after I got home from work, Annabelle was struggling to walk. She tried to come into the room but was gasping for air. I sat on the floor next to her and pet her. Slowly she laid on her side and took a few last breaths. I like to think that she waited for me...
Tonight we said goodbye to Annabelle. And again I said, "We've had a good run, Girl. Rest in peace."