It has been over a week since Little Kitty passed away. I am still finding myself wanting to call for her when I come home and open my door. She would run right to me, her little padded feet swiftly heading my way, but not too directly of course. She always played hard to get, like most cats do. Little Kitty had become such a good friend to me over the past year. Well, I guess it wasn’t even a year of having her here in Brooklyn. Jeffrey grew up with her in Washington and flew her out here last September. I was so excited to have her living with us. I remember talking on the phone with Jeffrey before he got on the place with her, explaining how he had to coax her into eating the sleeping pills and help massage the treats down her throat. I was crying a bit on the phone (I don’t think Jeffrey knew though) because I knew how much it meant for Jeffrey to bring her home to Brooklyn and I was so happy to be able to live with Little Kitty.
It would be a traumatic experience for anyone to move cross country, make a big life change at a very old age of 14 (for a cat). She handled it with grace. Once we figured out that she needed the type of litter she was used to using and we put it in her litter box then she stopped peeing in her food bowl. We were very worried for a second that she was angry, but she was just confused and scared of being in an unfamiliar place. After a day or two of hiding under the couch and only coming out to drink, eat and use the litter box, Little Kitty began to cuddle with us on the couch. She began to follow us around the apartment; from the living room, to the bathroom, to the kitchen and the bedroom. Little Kitty began to strut around the apartment after a few weeks, knowing that this was now where she belonged.
I think she saw us as big cats. She loved it when we would just sit on the couch or lay in bed reading before we went to sleep. She would jump up onto our bed, figure out a way to get on top of our pillows when we were not paying attention, and cuddle up, right in-between us. She would stare at me straight in my eyes, not blinking until I would reach my hand out and pet her soft fur. Then her eyes would close, she would be so happy even after a few seconds of being pet. Little Kitty would lay next to me on the couch, snuggled up close to my chest and fall asleep in my arms.
She also had a fascination with yoga, which I found to be so encouraging. It was almost as if she was trying to learn what my body was doing. I would be in downward dog and she would walk up slowly to me on my mat, then plop her self right underneath me on her side, looking up as if to say, “is this how it’s done?” or “why don’t you try this pose instead?”
There were only a few things that scared Little Kitty: rolling out the yoga mat onto the floor (because of the noise it made) and the vacuum (also due to its powerful noise making capabilities). Once the yoga mat was on the floor though, she would walk back into the living room from wherever she had sped off to hide and she would find me on my mat. Often the would just sit right next to my mat, or at the very corner by my feet, and fall asleep.
The second she heard the vacuum come out of the closet, Little Kitty would dart into the bedroom to hide. We would vacuum all of the apartment and save the bedroom for last while Little Kitty hid behind our pillows. I would then carry her into the living room while the vacuum roared in our bedroom for the last few minutes.
I haven’t vacuumed since Little Kitty passed away last Tuesday morning. I guess part of the reason is that once I do clean up all of the Little Kitty hairs on the floor and under the couch, I know that there won’t be any left. That is silly but it makes me sad to think that I’ll never have to clean up Little Kitty’s soft hair anymore. She was so soft and fluffy, and beautiful.
It has been over a week and I still think that I can see movement out of the corner of my eye. I expect it to be her. It is just my imagination, and habit. She would always be there, waiting to snuggle, waiting to jump up on my lap while I was typing. She often would get on the desk and climb onto the mouse or keyboard, as if she knew I needed to take a break and just enjoy her simple and loving company. I miss her so much.
Jeffrey found her that morning. We woke up to her crying loudly. He jumped out of bed right away. It wasn’t a normal Little Kitty cry, it sounded like she was so scared. I got up a little slower, still in a dream daze. As I was getting out of bed Jeffrey walked back into the room and said Little Kitty threw up. I walked out of the bedroom and into the living room. She was on her side, her head lifted up and she was meowing. Jeffrey was trying to pet her, but she was scared and hissed at him. She couldn’t move her legs though. I had never seen her so weak. I grabbed my phone and called the vet down the street. They weren’t open yet, but they had a number for a 24-hour emergency pet clinic. I called them right away. Told them what happened. Told them we would be there as soon as we could. Jeff grabbed some towels and the carrier for her. There was throw-up all over her legs and on the floor. Some of it was drying already. She had been on the floor for awhile. It broke my heart.
We placed her in the carrier. She didn’t resist at all, not like she usually would when we gave her baths or took her to get her nails trimmed at the vet. She was frightened, but a little calmer as we carried her to the car. I hope she was comforted by our presence. I drove and Jeffrey held her in his lap. She was breathing quickly, her little tummy moving in and out.
They took her right in and the vet came down after about 20 minutes to explain what was happening. We thought maybe it was an allergic reaction as she has had problems in the past. The doctor said they were going to have to do a lot of tests to figure out what was happening. They wanted to keep her for up to 24-hours to stabilize her and observe her. They let us go upstairs and see her before we left. She was in an ICU unit, they were hydrating her and feeding her oxygen. She was laying down and I am not sure if she could hear us, but we told her we loved her and that we would be back soon to pick her up. Jeff and I thought we were going to get a call later that day or evening saying that she was improving and that we would be able to take her back home. An hour after we left though, the doctor called.
Little Kitty was not responding well to the treatments that they were giving her. Her heartbeat and breathing were slowing down. He wanted to know if anything in our apartment was toxic that she could have eaten. We don’t have anything, I said. I double checked at home and nothing was accessible to her, no plants were eaten or chewed on. They called us back again twenty minutes later and told us that Little Kitty had a seizure and that she was not responding and that they were helping her breathe. We went straight back to the clinic.
I didn’t know it at first, but the second I saw her on the table I knew that we were there to say goodbye to Little Kitty. Her eyes were dilated, she wasn’t moving at all, and her breathing was assisted by a nurse. Little Kitty was already gone. It was so hard to watch Jeffrey say goodbye to Little Kitty. I wanted to save her, to revive her, to pick her up and take her home. There was nothing we could do. And the doctor said that if they took an MRI and found out what was wrong it would still be very unlikely that we would ever be able to take her home. We were able to be with her when the doctor put her down. We cried a lot. We gave her kisses and touched her soft fur for the last time.
We still are not quite sure what caused her initial seizure in the middle of the night in our living room. The doctor told us that she most likely had a tumor in her brain that had gotten large enough to initiate the first seizure. There were no symptoms or signs. And Little Kitty could not tell us that she had headaches for quite some time. We still are not sure , but I think that I don’t need to know exactly what it was that ended Little Kitty’s life.
We didn’t go home until 10PM that evening. We wanted to stay out with friends. It was too hard to go home and not have her there. Jeffrey and I cried together again when we did finally walk through the door. We stood there, half-expecting her to run around the corner and walk up to our feet. Instead the apartment was silent. And then the sound of our tears filled it. We laid in bed that night together, I held Jeffrey in my arms, and we told each other stories about Little Kitty.
We talked about all of the silly things that she had done and how she loved to play with her purple ball even at age 15; how she could jump up in the middle of the night onto our bed, basically right into my face in order to see what it was we were doing, laying quietly for hours on end.
Her death doesn’t seem real to me at this moment. Little Kitty is still so vibrant in my mind. She is still with me today and I do not think that will change. Her physical presence is gone, but because we had connected in life I know that our connection is impossible to break. Even when thousands of miles apart two molecules that once touched and connected are still affected by one another.
The day after Little Kitty passed, I bought a new sketchbook. Jeffrey and I have decided to start writing children’s stories about Little Kitty. I just want to share her with everyone that needs a companion and some sweetness in their life.
I have also included the link below to my latest yoga class on youtube that I recorded 2 days before Little Kitty died. She actually walks up to me a few times on my mat in the video. I find it to be so sweet.
Breathe. Listen. And BE YOU!