The best belated wedding gift we could have hoped for...and saying good bye...

Sohrab and I are having a difficult week.   We made a very hard decision about our dearest Betty-cat on Thursday afternoon, after watching her fade quickly over the last few days.  

We rescued her two weeks after our wedding, and she helped turn our first year as a married couple into a very special one indeed.  Betty was part of  every major family celebration for a year, charming everyone she met with her friendly disposition, aerial acrobatics, and intense golden stare.   Every evening when we came home,  one of us would stand a little ways away from the door, ready to catch her as she sprang out of the apartment, meowing and rolling on the hallway floor before dashing down the stairs to call at my sister's door, sniff at strange shoes, and wind around any bicycles in her path.

Betty had many nicknames.  We often called her "Mad Eyes Betty" - especially when some hapless housefly caught her attention. She'd turn into a feline laser tracking device - ears pointed forward and eyes agleam as she followed its progress around the room.    We also called her "little Pervert" as she loved to walk into the washroom when one of us was showering, where she would casually take over the small bath mat after scratching at the wicker laundry hamper.   The one time Betty went into heat, we called her all sorts of nasty things, but we loved her even through that bizarre, hilarious, and sleepless weekend.   In her first few months with us, she was still very much a kitten, and we'd sit very still at night as our feline furball zipped and zoomed and zowied her way around the apartment, from shelf to couch to carpet at a blistering pace - we'd warn each other "Betty's gone torpedo!"

Betty loved to observe her apartment domain from high places.  Her favourite spots were the china cabinet in the Trove and the tall bookshelf in our bedroom.    Many nights, the outline of her large ears poking out above the bookshelf was the last thing I'd see before sleep - and the soft thud of her landing on the bed in the morning was my alarm clock.   We kept a pale green fleece at the foot of the bed, and she would often sleep there.  She seemed to derive comfort from that blanket, often purring and kneading at it with her front paws.   We both became accustomed to keeping our legs ever so slightly bent when going to sleep, to accommodate her presence.   I suspect we will continue to do so for a while longer.

When we found out she had feline leukemia, we were sad, but hopeful, as many cats mount a successful resistance and trounce it.   Unfortunately, this was not the case with Betty-cat.  The virus was there to stay.   We knew our time with her was limited, and we lavished her with the best food, lots of cuddles & playtime, and all sorts of improvised toys.   Betty ignored the pet shop doodads, but would go kerwonkers with any little plastic top from a box of juice, or a bunch of twist-ties snarled together.

Over the last six months, we (and her excellent vet team) watched in awe as Betty battled back from episode after episode - she even managed to live with a large mediastinal tumour,  barely permitting it to slow her down.   She responded well to antibiotics, prednisolone, LTCI, two chest drains, and a blood transfusion but eventually she began to fade for the last time.   The cancer entered her bone marrow, she became severely anemic, her breathing became laboured, her movements slow and uncertain...and we knew we had done everything we could for our sweet little girl.   As hard as it was to come to the decision, it was evident that the time had come to say good bye to our amazing little fighter, our mad-eyed spider hunter, our home welcoming committee, our purring morning alarm clock, our living room aerialist, and the best belated wedding present anyone could have hoped for.

On Wednesday night, Betty-cat somehow jumped onto the bed one more time (she was barely able to support her own weight that day - I still don't know how she managed that leap),  and pushed her little face into our hands before making her way back down to the floor, where she stayed til the next morning.    I like to believe she was saying good bye.

We miss you Betty-cat.   Thank you for being part of our family, and for filling our home with so much radiance, courage and love.


Maia said...


Lorri said...

This made me cry. Again, so sorry.

Elsa said...

I'm so sorry, I know its hard when a pet dies, I went through a loss too some time ago

Elizabeth said...

So sorry for your loss, MJ. She's a beautiful spirit and will be sorely missed.

Marise said...

oh my god, I'm crying now :'(

These farewells were beautiful, both from Betty cat and you.

Good night, Betty cat xxx

My deepest sympathy to you and Sohrab.

RK said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, MJ - living with an FIV cat, I understand how heartbreaking it is. You are in my thoughts.

Aline said...

I'm very sorry for your loss. I lost the most precious, loving Mini Pinscher 4 years ago, and I still feel like crying when I think about it. He was 13. I understand your pain completely. I hope you can heal and only remember the love you three shared. That lasts forever :)

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