a little death

I had a call from the veterinarian this morning, 8:00 o’clock.

Freckles had died during the night. They were very sorry. They- the vet who spayed Freckles and another vet, who is an old friend of mine from over at the last place I lived- would do an autopsy on her, would let me know what they learned. She would be cremated. Would I like the ashes (“No.”) Would it be OK if they spread them, then, around a tree they have in front of the clinic? (“Yes.”)

Picture 63

Freckles and Me

Who accepts death immediately? I fight denial as I type. She was such a sweet little cat. She was so gentle, I’d hoped to take her over to the care center, for her to become the cat version of the dog, Benji. Benji belongs to one of the staff, and everyone loves him, he’s such a sweet little dog. See the pattern? She’d be a therapy cat or just something sweet and alive to cuddle in old arms and hands. No way can she be dead!

Freckles died. Is dead. Won’t come home. She will be cremated, and her ashes will be scattered round a tree that grows in front of the clinic. I like that. I drive by the tree many times a month. Her new home.

The vet reported the findings of the autopsy to me. Clear lungs. (I’d mentioned she sneezed a lot.) Normal kidneys. (She was a young cat, her life measured in weeks.) Nothing out of order where she’d been opened surgically. (The vets at the clinic all have great reputations, for cause.) In short, Freckles died of an “undetermined cause”.

In the human mind, though, “undetermined cause” is the start of outrageous speculation!

What of her three weeks in the pound, listening to and smelling the barking dogs? The stress of surgery plus the return to a cage while she recovered? That the recovery cage was surrounded on two sides by recovering dogs? Did they bark? Did she cower in her cage, frightened she was returning to this hell?

When the mind runs wild, anything is an answer. Stress. That’s my guess. It’s as good as “undetermined cause”, though I grant the two veterinarians involved in the autopsy the credibility that comes of their long years of study and practice as veterinarians.

guard cat

Louie and Me

What next?

Louie still lives with me. He is a charming, quirky cat. I will use him to fine-tune my knowledge of cat companionship. When I feel I’m suitably trained, Louie and I will adopt another pound cat. Or maybe a dog. No, a cat.

Today has been sad, there have been tears. A little death can do that to your day.

p.s. While I write, Louie holds vigil at the backyard window above my computer desk. Several times every night, he sits in the window, then backs out, comes over to me for a little loving. Or to stretch out over my mouse, mouse hand, and part of my keyboard, a good spot to snooze, by Louie standards. We’ll get on just fine.

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6 thoughts on “a little death

  1. So sorry for your loss. Just reading this now, but the loss never really seems to hurt any less even after time passes. I’ve got two rescue cats of my own currently, which have been much comfort in the years since other little loves have passed. Best wishes for you and Louie in the years ahead.

    • Louie died August 1, 2011. That one came as a shock. He had lymphoma, and I didn’t realize he was ill until his last day. I have scores of photos and several videos of Louie to remember him by, though I’m still sad about his death. In the meantime, when I picked up his ashes, a technician at his veterinarian’;s offered me a Persian kitten that didn’t meet standards for show or breeding. He was sickly, and I put him in the clinic after about a week. While there, he became best play buddies with a litter mate, another male. When I picked up the first one, the technician offered me the second one, noting ow well they played together. I accepted the second kitten. I need to check when I last updated this. (I’ve been very poor about it lately, what with two new and sometimes ill kittens…) I may be repeating things I reported earlier. If not, the kittens are smoke Persians (though their final colors are yet to manifest themselves, and this may be incorrect). They are lovely little animals, all kitten, and have securely captured a part of my heart!

  2. Doug, I am so sad for you! I have 5 cats (all rescues) and I love them very much. I have lost several cats in the past few years and (for me) it is like loosing a child. I have to say that I would be more upset about the “how” part but that will not help. So, I guess you are dealing with it better then I am just knowing about it. Get another cat – it will help. And there are so many that need good homes 🙂

    • Thank you, Cindy. It’s always helpful if the “how” part is defined, but…. I tend to move on. I have photos of little Freckles and her favorite squeaky mouse toy. Not a good substitute, but I smile when I see them. In the meantime, Louie’s character is coming out more and more as he settles in. I know he has a horror of going outside, suggesting his roaming time before he was caught by the animal control officer may have had some trauma. I know he is a comedian. I know he is sometimes naughty (opening cabinet doors, using furniture for scratching posts. though he stops immediately when you make a loud clap; he will use his scratching post, though, when you take him to it after he’s been naughty!). I know he responds to loving like a little boy (tolerates it but doesn’t want too much of it right now because he has business to take care of at the back window!). I know he will try to get me out of bed to feed him on the hour, every hour, from 2 am till his feeding time, 6 am! Fortunately, I’m a night owl, so it doesn’t bother me, nor does he try to get me up too hard because he knows I’ll just give him serious loving until he wants to go to that window, really bad! I have his number! At 15.6 pounds, he is verging on over weight, according to the vet, so I don’t want to get in the habit of rewarding him with lots of snacks, and I try to maintain a predictable schedule for feeding. I worry that I’m not giving him enough physical and mental exercise (he’s not much of a toy cat, though I’m still looking for things he might find fun). That’s a big part of why I am convinced I need to bring a d=second cat into the mix again. Freckles was just beginning to find her comfort level with Louie, and would have, in time, wrestled with him, played with him, forced him to be more active. I think I will try to find an older playmate for him this next time. If he or she is as cuddly as Freckles, I’d like that because I still hope to have a therapy cat one day to take over to the car center.

  3. Thank you Chelsey. Freckles was a sweet little cat. I guess I pretty much said it all above, but she was the exact cat I was hoping to find: a cuddlebunny! I miss her. I’ll wait awhile, I think, before I get a second cat, but I want Louie to have a proper cat companion at some point (or a mean little dog to keep him in line!). He’s a fun cat, so that helps me deal with poor Freckles’ death.

  4. Hey Unk!
    I am very sorry to hear that your cat Freckles died, I have a 6 week old male kitten that needs a home if you want him? Right now I am calling him Midget haha. Love You Unk!

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