I didn't want to write this post for a really long time- actually, I wanted to never have to write it, but I had hoped that I'd have some time before I had to write it.
Yesterday, I came home to find my beloved cat, Mudpie, dead in my bedroom.
There's not really anything that can prepare you for that.
He was only ten- not a kitten, but he should have had at least five more years, considering that he was kept safely inside. He hadn't been "sick"- I had noticed some weight loss and some lethargy (though because of our recent move, I had attributed that to stress and having to be temporarily kept mewed up). The last night that I saw him, I'd seen that his eyes weren't as bright, and they were a little runny- but he didn't act sick. He didn't act like he was in pain, and he was still sociable. (I feel that it was likely kidney failure that caused his death, but I didn't order an autopsy. It makes no difference, now.)
I hope he wasn't scared. I hope he didn't feel alone. I really, more than anything, hope that it was quick and painless and that he hadn't been trying to tell me he needed help.
I was asked if I wanted his ashes returned to me, and I said yes. I don't really know what I'm going to do with them- I don't feel ready to let go, yet. I don't know if I made the right choice- but it was mine, and mine alone, to make. So I said yes. I wasn't there when he died, and in a strange way, I couldn't handle the thought of just letting him go like that, without knowing what happened to his body.
It's a blessing that I don't have memories of him as a sick kitty- I only have good, happy memories of cuddling with him, and dressing him up (he had a few shirts and a hat and often let me put scarves, etc on his head)- the way that he was MY cat (he didn't like many other people), the time my grandparents' cat got into my bedroom, and Mudpie chased him around, howling the whole time. The way he couldn't figure out how doors worked. The way he INSISTED that showering was a group activity, and my favorite sweater was his bedding, and he used to jump into the sliding glass door, multiple times in a row, because birds were outside and he wanted them (though I don't think he'd know what to do with them once he got them). The way he used to curl up on the middle of my back if I were lying on my stomach and curl up under the blankets to sleep with me.
He was such a special kitty- I'm very lucky to have had ten years with him.