Monday, January 28, 2013

ZARA


I had just learned that I would have to say goodbye to my cat of 13 years and didn’t think that anything would make that easier.  He was my first real pet and was the only thing left that connected me with my dad who had died suddenly in a car accident the year before. 
My husband and I had already agreed that if and when we got another cat, it had to be a female. After receiving Rachael Hale’s Smitten for Christmas, I had become obsessed with orange cats and knew that eventually, I would like to get one. 

Out of boredom  and curiosity, I went onto the local shelter websites and my heart skipped a beat.  There, on the screen, was a beautiful little female kitten named Zara, the name of my absolute favourite clothing store I discovered at 16 when I lived in Spain.  It was destiny.  Over the next few days, I begged and cried and pleaded with my husband that this cat was meant for me.  I even convinced him to take me to the shelter to meet her, where she nuzzled my neck and stole my heart.  I fell in love, only to be told that they didn’t know if she was available for adoption or not.  After waiting an agonizing 24 hours I learned she was on hold for someone else.  I balled my eyes out.  I actually cried like a baby, in public, at a craft show where I had a table set up.  I cried for the cat I had lost and for the cat that couldn't be mine.



About 5 days later I was at work and looking at the same shelter website again.  Her picture was still there.  It said she was still at the shelter.  It said she still needed a family.  I grabbed the phone and made the call.  They told me that there had been not one, but two families, two separate times, that had put her on hold and had never shown up to get her.  Fate had intervened.  I called my husband and told him to go and pick her up.  There she was.  This amazing little bundle of orange fur.  Waiting for me when I got home.  

Over the next few weeks she accomplished a number of feats, each one more amazing than the last.  She sat in the sink.  She purred so loud it seemed to shake the room.  She climbed the curtains.  She picked up my debit card off of the kitchen table and carried it away.  She curled up in the crook of my arm as I slept.  She pounced on our feet as we slept. She hid in the most brilliant places and opened  my heart.

As our family grew and kids arrived, she lit up all of our faces.  My son would stand at the top of the stairs at the gate and rub his fingers together while clacking his tongue, trying to get her to come and see him.  My daughter would chase her around the house and light up like a firework when she saw her, hoping that she would be able to touch our tame tigress, our feline goddess. She became a companion to both of our children, our older cat and our crazy dog.



Her purr, so loud and so strong it rose and fell with each breath of her body. Her coat, stripes of orange with cream on her nose and soft downy belly.  Her greenish yellow eyes, jewels of affection and acceptance.

At only five years old, not once did I think that this weekend would be my last with her.  After finding her limp, cold, dehydrated and barely breathing Friday evening, I rushed her to our vet’s where they gave her some fluids.  We decided to transfer her ASAP to the 24-hour emergency vet so they could put her on constant IV fluids and do some bloodwork.  This was at about 8:30 pm.  Six sleepless hours later I received the results.  Her kidneys were failing.    
The vet recommended IV antibiotics, an ultrasound, constant IV fluids and a culture.  We decided to do everything but the ultrasound and, as soon as I was done work Saturday morning (which amazingly I made it through without breaking down), I stopped into visit her and hold her and pet her and love her while the vet told me that the best option would most likely be to put her down.  Her temperature was dropping.  Even with a heating pad and blankets, her beautiful little body was shutting down.  She tried to purr, but could only manage a meek rasp.  I held her close and stroked her face. I rubbed her favourite spot at the top of her tummy.  I rocked her back and forth and cried like a baby.  I told the vet that I wanted to be able to bring the rest of the family to say goodbye.  She asked me if I wanted them to perform CPR if she went into arrest.  I knew she wouldn’t be coming home from the hospital.


 After dinner, we packed up the kids, drove the 30 minutes to the hospital where we showered her with goobery toddler kisses and mommy tears.  My husband took the kids and I held her close.  She slept and rested her head on my shoulder, comforting me as much as I was comforting her.  My life will never be the same without her and now I cry.  I cry because it was unexpected.  I cry because I should have noticed she was sick.  I cry because my other cat wanders the house crying out and looking for her.  I cry because my son asks when she is coming home from the hospital.  I cry because my heart longs for her, this perfect creature who would drink water from my glass, lay on my fabric as I sewed  and saunter across my palette when I painted, often leaving kitty paint prints on the floor.  I cry because fate brought us together and tore us apart. I cry because she gave herself fully to me. I cry because I am thankful she was mine.


  

Zara, my heart hurts, I ache, and I miss you deeply.



Spring 2007 – January 26, 2013

17 comments:

  1. Losing a cat sucks. Especially when it's unexpected and sudden. My heart goes out to you and I'm literally in tears reading this. I lost one in a similarly unexpected way. He was very healthy and then overnight, he wasn't. He was six. It tore my guts out. Still does. So while I can't pretend to know what you personally are going through, I do understand that it sucks.

    Wishing you peace and healing.

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    1. Thank you, Carly. It's never easy, is it? I feel like by sharing her story and her love, I will be able to remember her just a little bit more. I'm so sorry your had to go through something similar, too.

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  2. I am so sorry for your loss. They steal our hearts, these gentle creatures. xx

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    1. Thank you, Charlotte. What wonderful creatures they are. I saw a quote today that said something to the effect of "The more time I spend with my cat the less I like people." It brought a smile to my face :)

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  3. Now you made me cry.
    The most important thing is that you loved her with all your heart and she knew it.

    I'm so so sorry you had to say goodbye to her.

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    1. Sorry for making you cry, Marika. Hoping you and your cuddly babies are getting lots of sewing done. I will always remember the love/hate relationship I had with her and sewing!

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  5. (sorry about the earlier comment. i know it was you, and yet i still typed "nicke" like a dope.) and i'm so sorry about zara. i can feel your pain so acutely from your words. sending you love and hugs and heart healing thoughts.

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    1. Thank you, Ara Jane. Don't worry about the comment. I do that all the time (think one thing and type another). I think as moms we are allowed to do that. Thanks for the love, hugs and thoughts.

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  6. I'm so sorry Laura, it's so hard to say goodbye to our beloved pets.

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    1. Thanks, Pam. Wishing you many more years with yours. Good to see you tonight, as always.

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  7. What a beautiful tribute... she sounds like one in a million :) I just gave my baby girl an extra kiss... I hope you find your new ones soon :)

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    1. Thanks, Katy. Now you can see why the pincushion made my day! Thanks for cheering me up and good to meet you tonight!

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  8. Last Tuesday, January 22, I had to put my dog to sleep. He was my best friend for 15 years. I understand your loss completely. I was looking at your blog because you are in the Simply Solids Bee, as am I. I'm so sorry for your loss. Just know that time is the only thing that will make this better. My deepest sympathy goes out to you.

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    1. I am so sorry for your loss, too. I'm trying really hard to remember all of the joy and love she brought to us instead of the sadness at the end. Sending peace and love your way, too.

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  9. I am so sorry. In my experience, losing a pet suddenly and unexpectedly hurts more. I hope time has already helped you heal a little. She was beautiful and I'm sure she knew how much you all loved her.

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    1. Jenny,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm not sure I will ever get over it, but I try to focus on how much I loved her while she was here. I am starting to think that cats are really the sweetest humans in disguise ;)

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