Mrs. Gaines went downhill much faster than expected. It's only a week ago yesterday that I took her in for another shot and she passed out at the vet's. Friday and Saturday she probably spent the night outside, or part of it. Then we noticed she wasn't eating, but she still drank quite a bit outside on Sunday. She spent a good part of the days sleeping on Maralton's bed on a down lap quilt. Yesterday she slept most of the day in my closet hidden by my wedding gown (28 years ago). Miss E pulled her out at about 6pm and I chided her for it and explained what was going on, that she was hurting by this point. Mrs. G went back into my closet, didn't eat. Miss E was distraught and didn't sleep well, despite having the kittens for company. She was up later than she should have been, thinking about Mrs. G and holding her photo. Weatherdude was distraught as well. Real Dudes do shed...well they do.
At 3AM this morning, I awoke to the sound of dry heaves and asked The Dude to turn on a light. It was Mrs. G out of the closet, but again, she wouldn't drink anything or eat anything for me or for The Dude. I would have to call the vet. She came out and spent time in the main part of the house, asked to go out twice, but I wasn't going to let her. If she went to ground on the property somewhere, I wouldn't be able to find her. She curled up on Miss E's dining room chair next to the electric heater during breakfast. Miss E sat in my spot instead. She stayed there a while, asked to go out again, chose another hiding place in plain sight in the kitchen for a while. Eventually she had gone to ground and I didn't know where. Maralton found her under her bed, stretched out on her side. I've seen that before. Things were happening almost too fast. I called the vet, they said it was time and we could come in with her any time today. The Dude wanted to be home, so I was going to wait 3 more hours.
Miss E was able to pet her when she got home from school, I was able to pet her and talk to her. We were all able to see and talk to her today. Goliath was just above her the entire time, sleeping on Maralton's bed, so you know the overall vibe was calm acceptance and lots of love on all sides. And then she slipped away, some time around 4pm. Again, a last good-bye to the physical body. I'm off to the vet's shortly. She'll be cremated and will join the ashes of our other cats. But first, E would like to have a ceremony, a meditation. She says she'd like a meditative moment each year on the anniversary of her death. We'll have photos out and will tell stories and will reflect on her life.
E was so worried yesterday that she hadn't been a good 'mom' to Mrs. Gaines. But she was. I explained that she was younger and not ready for the responsibilities she shares for the kittens. She was 4 when Mrs. G came into our house, a full of baloney kitten. She had done a good job for her age and Mrs. G had loved her, in her funny, you-can't-catch-me way. When Miss E did catch her and sweep her up in her arms, Mrs. G always went limp. The first full sentence Miss E wrote in first grade was "Put your cat down!" as a dictionary example for the word 'put.'
Mrs. Gaines was an annoying, opinionated, independent cat who bit us when she felt like it, especially if she wanted us to get up and feed her in the morning. Not hard. Never hard. She was a mouser and birder extraordinaire, and an 'up' cat who ran on the roof. I'll miss seeing her shadow up there from my office window, cast onto the pine trees. She was sweet when she wanted to be, a very quiet purr and soft squeaky meow. One of her nicknames was "Squeaky Frome." She was the #1 cat in the house and all the boys knew it. No one messed with her food, though they might steal a dead mouse from under her nose. She never scratched Eloise when she was young. She knew she was Eloise's cat, though she played hard to get almost all the time. Aloof and yet very much a part of the household. A cat cat, usually out of doors doing cat things. Terrorizer of chickens, she stared one down just on Sunday, sore and sick as she was.
RIP Lady Cat, E's first cat: Mrs. Gaines, Mrs. G, Little Bit, Squeaky Frome, Kitty-kitty (the only name she reliably answered to).