© Copyright 2003 by Linda Elliott-George
Half cat…half me…half he. So you caught the math error three halves make more than a whole? It’s true when I refer to Cindy. Her cat half is the half that we see; black fur, green eyes, little black nose to rub on me demonstrating her affection or leaving her scent thereby laying claim. “They belong to me …they think I belong to them. Really she is a completely free spirit.
The half like me, moody, showering us with love one moment and distancing her the next. She demands what she wants when she wants it. If demanding noises don’t work she cunningly turns on her purring power and manipulates through softness and warmth. The me part is yielding when I wrap her in the towel and hold her while Alex pries her jaw apart to shove the tablets down her throat.
The Alex half is tough as nails. The Alex half will fight and bites his finger occasionally when he is administering her pill. When she was well she could hold her own against just about anything. She doesn’t give up and she doesn’t take no. She simply finds another way. The Alex half is loving too and with a strong independent spirit, even now when she is in effect a prisoner in her home, and at times a prisoner in one room. Even now when she is sick and chucking her food up each and every time she eats.
Cindy has a tumour in her tummy. The Animal Health Clinic in Newmarket did an ultra sound and saw it. Alex says, “I didn’t see it.” If he didn’t see it he can pretend she is getting better. He seems to have a block to prevent the pain of good-bye and in the process prolongs pain of a different kind.
We prolong the pain in her stomach that she can’t verbalize to us, the pain of not being able to enjoy such a basic need as eating. I don’t think she is stupid and before we began the drug therapy she simply stopped eating. She was fading fast Nature’s way … until we intervened. I believe if we let her outside in the state she is in she would crawl into a hole and let her spirit go. Alex says he still sees her will to live. He believes the tablets make her reasonably comfortable and she seems to enjoy our company when we are here, A few hours a day. Yet, I see he sitting on the stairs alone even when we are here. It is almost a year and only progressing from bad to worse. We’ve sedated, and medicated and tried every cat food imaginable, people food and even dog food. We’ve tried ¼ tablet and ½ tablet. We’ve tried whole tablet. We’ve tried feeding her on demand as much as she wants. We’ve tried withholding, giving only wee bits at a time.
I lie on hands and send my energies into her. I am sure Alex too is working mentally at trying and heal her. I believe if she were meant to be better she would be getting better. It is not as though we haven’t tried! Maybe there is another lesson here. Alex says, “People admire you for being honest but they hate to hear the truth!”
I am being honest with myself when I cry for her leaving as I hold her on my knee. I know she is going somewhere else. Am I giving up? Or am I facing up to the inevitable. Alex says, “I won’t give up on her.” I know Alex made a similar decision before with another animal he loved.
Will the pain of helping her go be any worse than the pain of helping her hold on?
“We talked last night about Cindy. Actually, Alex talked I listened. We are running out of options he says. I think it is back to the Vet tomorrow morning and see what else can be done. If there is nothing else that can be done, well … I think the time has come”.
Cindy isolates herself on the stairs all night. She doesn’t sleep with us as she has been. Morning comes after a thunderous storm, with deafening rumblings and lighting bolts. Alex puts Cindy in her plastic crate.
“Are you coming or staying here?”
“I’m coming with you.”
“Are you sure?” he asks. Looking directly into my watery eyes.
He carries her crate out the door I follow and lock up walking to the van.
“Are you driving? He asks, as I stand preoccupied at the driver’s door.
I walk round to the other side to slide into the seat and he places Cindy in her box on my lap. I cannot hold the tears in as I stick my fingers through the spaces to touch her nose.
At the Vets Alex asks, “Are you coming in?”
I just shake my head, unable to speak.
I wait in the van and wonder … honestly, I wait for him to bring her out still, unmoving in the box.
About twenty min and out he comes. The door opens and the box is presented to me. Her little eyes are wide open and she looks at me.
My heart leaps with joy and surprise and I open the end to put my whole hand in and cuddle her wee head.
Alex gets in the other side.
“We now have an Olympic cat!” She got two injections of anabolic steroids. The Vet said that should increase her strength and muscle mass and if it works she will be in a stronger position to fight. It’s actually cat cancer. If she shows some improvement by Friday we will know it can help and she will have an injection every week. If it doesn’t help… hum … he pauses, we will cross that bridge when and if we have to. She still has some fight left in her. She looked right at the Vet as if to say … do you know who I am? … I belong to them!!!” When she is ready to give up, I will know. She’s had that kind of life that creates a fighter. Captured off the street by the animal catchers. …Lived in the shelter for months …than came here
We arrive home and I place Cindy’s box on the landing. The door opens and she comes out. She’s here for a while longer.
Alex speaks, ”I know it is a roller coaster ride of emotions. We will just have to ride it.”
Three days and she hasn’t eaten anything, but she has been drinking. She has not used her litter box since she had the injection. We talked about her last night and this morning. Yesterday is the first day she has not been at the open door to greet us when we arrived home from work. She still purrs when we lay a hand on her head.
Alex talks about tomorrow being the day.
“What will happen when you take her to the vet?”
He will give her an injection and she will just go to sleep.”
“Then what? Will you bring her home”?
“If she dies here then I would bury her here. If she goes at the hospital I think we will have her cremated and I will bring her ashes in the box like the dogs up there”.
I gaze toward the box holding remains of his beloved dog.
“We have two other cats who have been extremely patient through all this. They’ve been put out and not got as much attention as they would like. We’ve been very occupied with Cindy, as she needed. If she were buried out there they would be affected and not in a good way.
"What do you think”? He asks.
“I’ve never thought in such terms before. I can agree with that.”
The tears drip down my cheeks. Alex’s eyes are glassy. He reaches for my hand, pulling it toward his and kisses it. I feel such a huge love and ache all at once. I’ve never felt loved by a cat before. I didn’t know it was possible.
Cindy spent all night on the step, halfway up and halfway down.
“Are you coming with me?”
“No, I reply softly. I came on Monday and I wasn’t able to come in.”
“You don’t have to justify your choice.” We hug tightly.
I go up the steps where Cindy sits in her vet crate. I put my hand in to caress her head and lay mine close so I can hear her weak purr. He head slowly lowers to be flat on the towel. Is she breathing? I can’t see her body rise and fall!
He comes to the landing.
“Pussy.” He says softly. She lifts her head and looks at him. I close the door and bring the box down one step at a time. Alex is taking his workbag to the van and comes back for Cindy. He kisses me and goes out the door. Why couldn’t I go and support him with this? I stand at the kitchen window with a Kleenex to my nose and tears streaming down and Alex blows kisses off his hand as he drives off with the little black heart-melter.
I kept myself busy outdoors and the other two cats hovered near by as I worked in the flowerbeds. They rubbed against my leg and came close for pets. I think they know.
At 11:30 a florist van pulls up.
“Linda?” The driver asks.
He presents me with a bouquet of yellow carnations, white asters and yellow mums. All tied together with a big yellow bow. As I bring them to the house the tears come again. Oh Alex. I open the envelope and read the note. The ink has run like it has had wet dropped on it. … tear stains?
“Thank you for loving
me. I will be with you always.” Cindy.
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