Goodbye, Moira

March 22, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

This week we adjust to a new normal in our home.  Our eldest feline, Moira, died three weeks shy of her 17th birthday.

I wrote about middle stages of Moira's demise July 2015 (click here for that post); since then she experienced copious days without vomiting and seemed happy.  Cat pee continued to be a staple of our bathroom and a few months later that expanded to the immediate area surrounding her favorite litter box.  This was maddening and a lot of work.  I also love Moira and knew she wasn't herself, so while there were plenty of days where I wanted to ship her to a urine-friendly home I thought ahead to the first day I wouldn't have cat pee to clean up.  We plan to replace that floor, anyway.

It was a hard day.

I didn't celebrate not having to soak up the urine with paper towels and scrub the floor.  I didn't celebrate wiping up the last piles of vomit she left (which I found later).  I did celebrate her freedom.

Moira didn't sign up to live in a rowdy house.  When she came home with me, it was just the two of us.  A puppy followed one week later.  Two years after that, a kitten.  One year after the kitten, and puppy.  Two years more, a kitten.  Less than one year later, a puppy.  Then another puppy.  A horse.  A baby.  I don't think she ever liked that part of the deal, yet she carried on gracefully.

Now our family is two cats, one dog, and one toddler.  The house feels hollow without Moira.

As we planned, Moira died a natural death.  It wasn't easy for her (or me), but that is what she wanted.  She was an enormously dignified, independent, and opinionated cat.  She made her wishes clear when she hid under the bed, turned her back to me, and yowled when I talked to her.  That was when I knew I had to give her something that felt impossible to give:  space.

I wanted to hold her.  I wanted to be near her and let her know that I will always carry her in my heart.  We've been together since she was two months old.  To silently witness her final moments without interaction was . . . I don't have words.  Instead I sat on the bed and waited.  It was the closest I could be to her without causing additional stress.  I respected her choice, even though it wasn't what I would choose.

That was my last gift to her.  Other than bringing her home from the shelter it was the best thing I've done for her.




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