Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Sad Affair

This has been a busy and sad week. I don't mind the busy but I could have done without the sad. I introduced Ernest, our new kitten last Friday and when Witt came home we had a great time watching him run around like a mad person outside and inside and through the garden.

Gypsy Slow Down


Gypsy Slow Down

 I have always loved cats and grew up with a black and grey tabby named Oliver. I loved it until it died when I was in college. I missed having a cat. When Witt is working at night and on the weekends, which he often is these days with his second job in the yard taking a ton of time this summer, I wanted some company. I finally persuaded Witt that I needed one and the drive back from the shelter with Ernest was a happy one. When I said that Ernest was trying to live up to his name I meant it, and his crazy antics finally caught up to him. As we opened the door that Friday night to go outside, he ran out after and the door closed on him, breaking his back. I know worse things happen, but there was nothing as horrible to me as seeing his tiny little body broken and lifeless and I thought my heart would break in two. After we buried him we sat on the couch in the living room and I cried and we drank a rum and coke which didn't ease the pain and I felt so bad. Guilty for closing the door accidentally, terribly sad for Ernest being gone and nauseous replaying the scene over and over in my mind. And Witt was sad too.

Gypsy Slow Down

The next morning Witt convinced me that I needed another kitten, that it hadn't been our fault and that we should go back to the shelter and see if we could adopt a sibling. I was reluctant to go, feeling like they might look on as murderers but we went up there and explained what happened. They were sympathetic and told us it would be fine to adopt another and I went back where the cat cages sit and I saw her. I didn't know whether it was a male or a female then but I did know that her coloring was similar to Ernest and that she was different than her two other sisters. She was by herself eating and when I picked her up she nuzzled her face into my shirt. I brought her up to the counter and when we found out she was a girl Witt suggested Hadley, which was Ernest Hemingway's wife. The fact that the kittens are brother and sister is a bit funny, but the name was perfect and Hadley was perfect and I loved her instantly. Witt had planned a canoe trip with a friend that day and I was not that happy to think of being alone but I knew Hadley would help soothe my feelings and we spent the day on the couch watching Antique Roadshow on PBS. Hadley was much more affectionate than Ernest and loved to curl up on my neck. Every time I hugged her little body close a little of the trauma of Ernest slipped away and I was comforted. That night Witt looked at her, curled up next to his leg and said, "Will she always be this precious?" I thought, life does turn around, even after a small crises.


Gypsy Slow Down

A week of Hadley was a week filled with not much sleep, as we felt bad locking her in the bathroom and she liked to play on her heads in the bed at night. I have so many little innocent scratches on my neck from her antics, she wanted to play but we just wanted some rest. It was also a week of a wonderful little voice welcoming me home and crawling up my leg just to get in my arms. She was so affectionate and so much fun. I took her to my parents house one day where she made my mom's little terrier her instant enemy, swiping at her face and sleeping in Gigi's bed. She had spunk, all one pound and seven ounces of her.


Gypsy Slow Down


Then Friday morning came.

I woke up to Witt telling me that Hadley had thrown up several times in the night. She was curled up on his chest on the couch and I cleaned the vomit up and got her to drink some water. She must have just eaten something bad we thought and I googled it and of course every site said something different but we went to work thinking we'd be worried if she wasn't better when we got home. Friday night she hadn't thrown up but she wasn't herself. We struggled with whether we should take her to the emergency vet, we'd just bought two kittens in the past week, not very cheap, and the emergency vet is costly. We finally said we had to and they gave her some fluids for dehydration and some medicine for her stomach, saying she should perk up on the way home. She didn't. The next day she laid around without eating or doing much of anything, crawling under the couch to get away from us, the kitten who constantly wanted to be on our heads. Witt got up during the night to give her water but Sunday morning was the breaking point. She got up from her bed and fell over onto the floor and something inside of me snapped. I couldn't believe it. This kitten was going to be taken away from me too. Wasn't the other one enough? Wasn't it? Against everything he wanted to do, Witt said we had to take her back to the vet. We rode in the car, Witt upset that the kitten was sick and frustrated at the money we were spending, me feeling numb as I stared at her lifeless body and stroked her fur. She wasn't purring.

The vet said that she probably had a type of feline leukemia and there was not much we could do, except run a few tests. We did and they came back negative which meant it was most likely another kind of leukemia which we could try to treat by hospitalizing her, running tests and treatments, of which her tiny body probably would not be able to handle. We needed to put her to sleep. They brought her out to say goodbye, she was wrapped in little hot water bottles to keep her warm and a blue blanket. I held her and her eyes looked at me but they weren't the same eyes as before. I don't think I've ever experienced anything as terrible as having to decide that something is going to die. I kissed her and cried into her fur and gave her back to the nurse. I went outside and sat on the curb and sobbed. It wasn't fair. The vet said we had done the right thing, but the right thing rarely feels good. When we got home I got into bed and Witt probably thought I wasn't going to survive. He had gone above and beyond for little Hadley just because it mattered so much to me and that's when you know you've married a good man. But now he wanted me to feel better, after all, it was just a kitten, I'm still here, what if it had been a child? It doesn't matter, it hurts and it was horribly, terribly unfair. It doesn't matter where you bury her, I'll never see her again.

I'm sitting here, by myself this morning and there is a cat bowl in the bathroom and a water dish but they are both empty.

And I miss her terribly.


Gypsy Slow Down

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