Monday, October 23, 2006


We're keeping this one  - He said, as my husband held her up to show me the runt of the litter for the first time. (Which sounded strange, coming from a man who didn't even want a cat when we adopted her mother) Her first meow was almost silent, it was so faint. From that moment on, the two of them became attached. He was the first to see her, the first to hold her. Her first hiding place was his boot; she was so tiny, she could hide right in the toe of it.  She was born on June 9th, 2002. We named her Patches. We often laughed at her because she could get herself into some of the most unimaginable predicaments. Just this time last year, we discovered how allergic she was to yellow jackets. We were raking leaves in the back yard, which got them stirred up and angry enough to swarm around us. Patches and Stephen were playing in a pile of leaves when we noticed the yellow jackets. Patches began chasing them which made Stephen laugh so hard, he fell over and nearly lost his breath. I ran to him, picked him up and brought him in the house to protect him from the yellow jackets. I yelled, "come on!" to Patches, but she was having too much fun and ignored me. The next morning, I looked at her and realized her head was too big for her body. We realized that obviously, she must have gotten stung the day before.  This was her first visit with the veterinarian for yellow jacket stings, but not the last. Just a couple of weeks ago, we had to take her to him again for the same thing. This last time, her reaction was a little worse but after a day or so, she was back to her old self.
It makes me so sad to type this -- We lost Patches last night. I still can't believe it when I think about it. Yesterday morning around 4:30, she meowed at my husband to let him know that she needed to go outside, like she's done every morning for four years.  She usually went outside to do her business and play a little, then she'd come back in by breakfast time. I started calling her yesterday morning and she didn't come. She' s done this before, especially when she was having an extra good time, so I've learned to not be too worried until evening fell and she still hasn't answered our calls. That's what happened yesterday. I stepped outside a few times to call her and she didn't come. The husband got home sometime after 5 from work and I told him that I called her all day and she never came. He began to walk around and called for her. He called and told me that he found her in a tree in the woods behind our house. After he started calling her, he could hear her meowing back to him, like she was pleading for help. He went to borrow a ladder from a neighbor and he wanted me and Stephen to come out to the woods so we could be there to go get help in case he fell because she was pretty high up there. He warned me that this was not your typical, cat in a tree situation. Apparently, she had climbed way up in the tree and fell into the fork in the middle of it and got wedged in it. At that point, we thought the hardest thing was to get her loose and down to the ground. But after he finally unwedged her and climbed down with her, he tried to see if she could walk and she couldn't. When he first climbed down with her, she looked so relieved, but then, within minutes, she started going into shock. He rushed her to the animal hospital. I thought for sure, she had a fracture, but she'd be okay. Then I started thinking about how long she may have been wedged in that position and I started to worry about her circulation. My next thought was, amputation. But I never thought she would develop blood clots that would move to her heart and end her life. I'm guessing that she must have also had some internal injuries from the fall. At about 7:30-ish, the phone rang and it was about her. She's gone, honey. I just watched her take her last breath my husband said as his voice began to shake from trying to hold himself together. He lost that battle when I began to cry. Actually, I was sobbing. He composed himself enough to ask if I wanted to have her cremated or bury her in the yard. I didn't even have to think about it. Even though we're renting and not planning to stay here much longer, this was her home. She loved it here. So, he brought her home, we each said our good-byes and we laid her to rest in her favorite spot in the yard. The spot she liked to lay in and roll in the dirt and play. Stephen was the only one who didn't cry, and that's because he doesn't understand death. He probably thought she was sleeping when he pet her for the last time and his daddy covered her with the blanket. He tried to wake her up. We told him that she's gone, but she'll be waiting for us at rainbow bridge. I don't believe that God would create something that lives, breathes and loves with a heart like ours, and not give them a spirit. I just don't believe that.   
We're both very hurt and sad. I can't even bring myself to throw her food and water bowls out yet. I guess that would sound silly to someone who isn't an animal lover. But Patches brought much joy to this home and to say we'll miss her would be an understatement. I didn't sleep well last night and I noticed that the hubs tossed and turned, too. For the first time in a long time, we could both stretch our legs out on the bed without having to worry about kicking Patches off the end of it, and we just couldn't get comfortable not having her there, I suppose. I finally got up at 4:30, which was about the time she always wanted to get up. I watched my husband sleep and I thought about how difficult this must be for him. He was the first one to hold her when she took her first breath and he was the one who held her as she took her last. She loved us all, but he was her pick. That's how she would have wanted it.