Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Down to a Magnificent Seven

You might think that in a multi-cat household, I would barely notice when I lose one.

That's not true in the least.

When I come home from the veterinary clinic knowing one of my animals will never return, the missing piece of the puzzle is palpable.

It's not just me who feels it. The remaining cats jostle for pecking order, and there's a perceptible hole in the dynamic for a while until the animals adjust to the loss.

Last night I drove through a heavy snowstorm to get Felix to the veterinary hospital before it closed. Felix is an elderly grey tabby cat I rescued dumpster-diving outside a Jack in the Box fast food restaurant in San Diego 13 years ago, and he's currently the oldest cat in the house. Because of the familiar distress signs I noticed before we set off, I knew when I bundled him into the carrier that he might not return to my cat house.

His health had been deteriorating slowly but surely over the past several months, ebbing away his quality of life. The slow decline made the decision to take his life a difficult one.

Day by day, he began to withdraw from the cat clutch, and them away from him, leaving him to nap alone. He stopped playing and appeared to be in pain at times, even though his tests showed all systems normal. He grew thinner, and just recently the bones on his spinal cord felt more pronounced. The wide-faced tomcat cheeks began to hollow. And when he was sitting or lying down, I could tell he wasn't completely comfortable.

My old cat was simply fading away, a little bit at a time.

The surviving pride of cats -- now down to a Magnificent Seven cast of characters -- help ease the pain of loss. But there will never be another Felix, and the holidays will be dimmer without his friendly spirit in the house.

Goodbye to a survivor and a friend.

* * *

This will be a grief-tinged holiday season for me. I lost Opus in October, and now Felix is gone too. The house feels quiet and lonely without them.

To read about the battle to save Opus, click to And then there were eight.


Anonymous said...

Oh my darling niece you know only too well how much I understand your grief. Wow I think you have had enough. Losing two kitties in one year is heartbreaking. I am so so sorry to hear about Felix. Rest assured they are all playing on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge reaching for beautiful butterflies. I can only hope Felix will find my beloved Tiger and keep him as a new friend. Love you heaps. Your Auntie in Canada

Shelly Patton said...

The quote Ken left on your Facebook page is so fitting.

Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it happened. -Dr. Seuss

I hope you are smiling through the tears, Carreen. I know Felix would smile at his memories of being with you. He would smile for you, and for himself, and for all you brought to each other’s life.

R.I.P. Felix. You did good.


Animal Rescue said...

Personally I have never heard about this event before so it was really interesting to read it and to know something attractive and new.