Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Roadkill: Requiem for a Ragdoll

Two weeks ago, I noticed that my ragdoll cat, Willow, hadn't been eating for a couple of days. And she wasn't sleeping by my pillow either. I took her to the vet where she had a physical exam and blood and urine tests -- a two hour visit. The vet ran the tests herself and said she couldn't find anything. Willow didn't have a fever, stomach pain, or heart murmur. Her urine was a bit concentrated, consistent with not eating. The doc gave me an appetite stimulant and some yummy food and sent us home.

All afternoon Willow became more and more listless. Finally I called Dr. Kitchen and said I wasn't sure--but I was very afraid that Willow was dying. The doctor told me to bring her right away.

I'm less than 5 miles from the vet but the afternoon drive time traffic was horrendous. Willow died as I drove her to the vet. I just sobbed, stuck in traffic for a half an hour with my probably dead poor girlcat. I couldn't tell if she was dead. She was limp; was she merely unconscious?
Was the pulse I felt in my fingertips hers...or mine? After 20 minutes or so, the pads on her paws seemed cooler.

Definitely dead, I thought. I got my camera and video taped her. Of course, I arranged her carefully on the seat so she had a composed dignity in death. I pushed down her eyelids...they wouldn't stay down. I screamed. I sobbed. I coughed. And I drove like a madwoman so I could get out of that damned car. Willow didn't care.

I hate it when stuff like this happens. Would I have liked it more if she died a lingering death of cancer? Not really. But I still hate the sting and shock of sudden death. Wilbur, my other cat, keeps looking around for Willow, even though I've explained it all to him a couple of times.

I've been looking for another cat to companion Wilbur. No luck so far.

So many of the rescued cats seem horribly damaged. The breeder cats seem horribly expensive. None of them seems like they can take the place of Willow.

There's a myth that no one is indispensible. As far as function goes, that may be true. But beyond function, in the realm of the heart, I think people (and cats) really are indispensible. Other friends, lovers, partners, mentors, and pets may move in occupy their own space in my interior pantheon, but they never really fill the niche of the one who is gone.

Bye Willow. You were a good traveller with a sunny disposition and a big heart.


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