Well, my baby girl cat, the first cat I got on my own when I moved away from my parents’ home, has passed away. We were on our way to the vet’s office for a second opinion on her condition, and she died in my lap on the way there. I suppose it really is for the best, that most likely the vet would have recommended euthanizing her to spare her any more suffering anyway, and at least I was spared from having to make the decision. But after months of worrying over her health and weeks of the torment of watching her basically waste away, it was sort of a strange way for it to end. My neighbors helped me take her to the park and dig a grave for her, and I buried her wrapped in one of my baby’s soft baby blankets.
I am wracked with guilt that I did not do enough, was unable to afford the extensive tests that might have diagnosed her a bit earlier. But intellectually I believe by the time she started showing symptoms three months or so ago, it was already too late. Cats just don’t really complain.
But that’s all I’ll say about that. I won’t even talk about how she got sick, except to say that we never even got a definitive diagnosis, but we suspect it was either saddle thrombus or cancer.
What I want to do is remember her and honor her. She was a good girl.
About two weeks after I moved out of my parents house to be on my own, I was already missing having a cat around the house (my Mom’s cat, Jasper, and I were buddies,) so I went to the Humane Society where I lived. I picked out a pretty little black kitten they had named Angel, but when they went to examine her and give her shots, she kind of…freaked out… and they said that maybe I should pick another cat. I was disappointed at first, but then I saw a thin but pretty cat with tiger stripes (believe it or not, I had never seen a “tabby” before and I thought she was so unique-looking.) They had named her Shasta. She was, at best guess, approximately a year and four months old. I took her home and renamed her Evangeline, after a character in a Clive Barker novel I really liked.
She became my baby. Whenever I lay on the couch, she was never far behind, hopping up to curl up next to my belly. She would “talk” to me and I’d mimic her sounds, holding whole kitty conversations with her. This eventually encouraged her to be…quite vocal. Sometimes I couldn’t shut her up.
Once, at my old job I found a My Little Pony horse in the parking lot. Some little kid had probably lost it, and it seemed a shame to leave it, so I took it home, washed it, and gave it a hair trim…and it became her “baby.” She would cuddle with it, sit and stare at it.
I wish I had been thinking of it at the time; I would have buried her with it.
At our next apartment, she and I had a lot of fun chasing one another to and from the bedroom. I’d run and hop on the bed really fast and she’d come charging in after me, then turn around as I chased her back out.
She wasn’t too happy when I brought Methos home a couple of years later, especially since when he got to be bigger than her, he would chase her mercilessly, wanting to wrestle and play. Still, she took every opportunity when he was not around to cuddle with me. She was probably even less happy when we ended up keeping the Bengal cat we were fostering, but Chloe didn’t mind playing with Methos, so I think that helped a little, because he had someone else to bug besides Neeners. The only time it was an issue was when the two of them would gang up on her to wrestle.
She would come into the bathroom to keep me company while I took a bath, and she’d sit on the edge of the tub and dip her tail in the water like a fly fisherman, then take off through the house with a dripping wet tail.
Neeners was my buddy. She made me laugh. She let me cry on her fur when I needed to. I wish I could have spared her any discomfort, but I try to take solace in the hope that I gave her a better life than she might have had if she had stayed a stray on the streets or been passed over too many times at the shelter. I will miss her, and I’m sure my other cats will miss her. But I will never forget her.