Monday, November 11, 2013

Mourning my shadow, Katrina

The house, like my heart, feels empty.  There should be a pushy little (er..make that big) calico "brown patched tabby with white" shadowing my every step.  She didn't want to be picked up, mind you - she fought it tooth and nail, but I belonged to her and she had to keep an eye on me.

She would wait until the lights were off and I was settled in for the night's sleep time - then she would jump on the bed and head bump me until I petted her.  A loud purr bounced off the walls as she walked, back and forth, within reach/out of reach until she couldn't stand it anymore.  Then she flopped on her back and put her tummy in the air for tummy rubs.  Sometimes she would grab my hand and put it where she wanted a rub, and she purred and purred and purred.

I miss that already.

Because she wouldn't let me pick her up, and because she was 90% fur - I didn't notice when she started losing weight.  Norwegian forest cats are big, they weigh 15-25 pounds full grown and a year ago she was 22.  At the vet's on Thursday she was 11 pounds 12 oz.  How did she get so skinny without me noticing?  How?  It makes me feel so awful, tho she played and head bumped and pushed her way into everything I did up until yesterday.

Yesterday she tried to eat.  She really did.  But when I woke up this morning, the room was full of diarrhea and vomit from her evening - usually I awaken when she coughs up a hairball.  But this was no hairball.  I found her huddled under the bed, obviously feeling bad and hurting.

She didn't fight at all when I picked her up.  Nothing.  A limp 11 pound lump of fur and bone.

I took her straight to the vet to put her down.  My baby was not going to suffer one second longer than she had to.  But oh!  The agony of that little head wobbling until it rested on my arm.  Her body finally relaxed.  Her soft, soft fur still warm (she had the softest fur I've ever felt).

I feel bereft.

The house is so empty.  No Katrina sleeping in all the best chairs, following the sun on the stairs, basking in the warm pools of  autumn sun.  No pushy furry face pushing its way into whatever I'm doing, begging for treats (she ate them when she would eat nothing else.)  She had to touch my hand with her paw to get a treat.  And, reluctantly, she would, then shake her paw as if to dislodge the cooties she'd contracted.

But only after she had smelled the treat to make sure it was worth it.

And if I was too slow, she would reach her paw up and stretch to touch my hand.

When it was time for bed I'd say, "Let's go!" and she would precede me up the stairs, eager for her nightly treat and tummy rub.  I could have the door open (no screen) and she would start for it - and I would quietly say, "No, Katrina" and she would stop dead in her tracks.  Norwegian Forest Cats are half dog, I swear.

I often wonder if Jesus had a pet - I can see, in my mind's eye, a little Heinz 57 pup following his every step on the long walks through the Galilee and up to Jerusalem, following on with love in his eyes and joy in his wagging tail.

And I wonder if, at the foot of the cross, there was one more presence besides the Marys and John.  Was there a wee dog, his head laid on his paws, refusing to leave the cross even when the Roman guards scowled and threw rocks?  No matter what, he would come back. He would stay till the very end.


I know His eye is on the sparrow.  I know His eye was on Katrina when the kind-hearted vet gave her the pain-ending injection.  It was so quick.  In an instant, the life that made her Katrina was gone.

And all that remained was my broken heart, wrapped in four huge, furry paws and the softest fur I've ever touched.

I welcome your prayers.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Oh Lynnie, thank you for that moving tribute to Katrina. I know how hard it is, having gone through it more than once. The emptiness afterward (which you so eloquently described) is so hard. You have been in my prayers ever since I heard she was sick, and even moreso now. Love you!