My Raven Girl

The sun is out and it’s beautiful.  I’m trying to decide if I want to write or go take a nap.

Two days ago on May 5th, I had to say goodbye to my girl kitty, Raven.  Less than two weeks ago I had taken her in because she seemed to be having a hard time shaking off a cold.  Turns out the “cold” was her in stage 4 renal failure.  Basically, the end.  She was just one month shy of her 7th birthday which is two days after my own birthday.

Normally the vets are dealing with cats who are more like 14 or 15 years old.  It was hard even for them to watch a kitty so young struggle with kidney disease.

I’ve barely had any sleep since I found out.  At first I lost sleep because of the news and wanting to spend every moment I had left with her.  Then it was because she was unable to get comfortable herself and was in constant need for comfort and love.  Having “mommy ears”, it’s impossible to hear any little squeak or peep without waking up and walking towards the *being* in need to help them while nearly comatose myself.

Now I can’t sleep because my world is still upside down and I hardly know what to do with myself.

I held her close to my heart until the end . . . until I felt the warmth start to leave her body.

The crying comes on suddenly and in periodic spurts.  Like a release valve so that I’m able to free up some room in me to be able to continue processing what just happened in my life.

I don’t know how such a huge presence fit into that little kitty body of hers.

Raven 1

Whenever I get really stressed out, I start to clean things.  Not mindlessly.  I use it as a focal point to pull myself back together.  Kind of like a moving meditation.  It’s slow and deliberate.  I focus on all of the sensations to help pull me into the present and into my body.  Focus on the smells, the movement, the touch.

I didn’t have to wonder what I was going to do once returning home for the first time without her, because my thoughtful girl had left me one final gift . . . pukes on my bedroom floor.  I was genuinely thankful.  I took my time, knowing it was the last time I would ever get to scrub Raven pukies out of the carpet.

She was such an integral part of my daily life.

For years when brushing my teeth I had to play ‘move from under the water faucet before I spit toothpaste onto your head you silly cat with your water fetish’ with her.

Brushing my teeth this morning was so uneventful.

I looked around for our boy kitty, Gir, to see if he’d be willing to irritate the shit out of me by sticking his head under the water faucet while I tried to get ready.  But no, he wants nothing to do with that wet stuff.

She used to also sit between the shower curtain and clear liner while I took a shower.  At first I thought it was because she liked my company . . . but no, she was just waiting patiently until I moved and she could stick her head under an even bigger water faucet.

Then there was the moment yesterday when I walked into my room and saw sitting in the corner of my room, her raggedy toy that she used to leave for me as a “gift”.  She didn’t have access to rodents (thank god) to drop at my feet to tell me what a shitty hunter I was, so she had two toys that she used instead as a gesture.

Raven toy

It was originally attached to a larger toy, but she only ever wanted this part.  We refer to it as “the purple spider”, but god only knows what it really is.  It’s still where she left it for me a couple of nights before she went.  I’m not ready to move it yet.

Her other favorite toy (which I have no idea where that is) is a tiny little brown bear.  I used to find it regularly floating face down in the water dish.  We never figured out whether she was treating it as a kill and cleaning it, treating it as a kitten and drowning it, or giving her humans a warning.

I’m going to miss her always trying to stick her whole head into my coffee mug no matter what was in there. Repeatedly.

I’m going to miss how she got jealous of any time I spent on puzzles, and so when she thought I wasn’t looking she’d attack the pieces, chew on them, throw them onto the floor, and then shove them under the couch.

I’m going to miss taking her for walks on her leash during the summer months.

Raven 4

Raven5

I miss her ritual for sitting on my lap.  She’d walk over the top of me in one direction and then the other direction, and then walk onto me one last time where she would just stand there and aggressively flick her tail at me saying, “Scuse me.  Ahem.  Are you going to invite me to sit down?”  Which I would have to ask her if she wanted to sit down and put my arms in a specific way around her before she would be like, “Oh? You would like me to sit with you?  Well, I *suppose* I could . . . if it would make *you* happy.”

Raven 8

She would often press all four paws over my heart and just sit there and purr.  The above picture was taken just a couple of days before I found out how sick she was.

I’ll also miss how she managed to force a shoebox past its limit, hanging out all over the place, and make it look comfortable.

Raven 7

Or how she used to lay in positions on the floor that looked so dramatic I would start quoting Shakespeare.  “Oh Romeo, Romeo! . . . Wherefore art thou Romeo?”

Raven 3

I’ll miss her judging my stupid human habits:

Raven 2

She had been found in the streets as a kitten and taken to a shelter.  She was only 6 weeks old and less than a pound when I first saw her.

I had been to the shelter a couple of days before but I just didn’t connect with any of the cats.  My son had already found the cat he wanted (Gir), but I wanted both of our cats to come home at the same time so I made him wait.  I told him that if the kitten he wanted was meant to be his, it would still be there when we came back.

When we came back, the very moment I walked into the room and saw her I knew she was the kitty I was looking for.  Plus, the one my son wanted *was* still there.

We brought them both into a private room to see how they would get along.  Raven took to me immediately.  She went straight to my feet and wasn’t going to leave.  The people at the shelter said that 3 other families had already looked at her, but she wouldn’t come near them.

Gir was 6 weeks older than Raven, so he was huge next to her.  He was strutting around like he was hot stuff.  He came over and knocked Raven over (to be fair, it wasn’t that hard to do).  I waited to see what she did before I reacted.  At first she started to run away from him, but as he walked away she turned back around and went after him and then knocked him on the head and stood there strong facing him like a little spitfire daring him to start shit with her again.

It was in that moment that I knew she was my kitty.

Here was their first day home with us:

Kitten Raven and Gir

It was also the last day they curled up like that together.  Gir likes to be affectionate and tried to take care of her, but she grew up on the streets and didn’t know how to be loved and always pushed him away.  He never gave up trying to though.  He would give her space, but he was always looking out for her.

Here he is a couple of days before she died:

Gir and Raven

He’s actually having a pretty hard time with it.  You could tell he knew something was up.  His meow and demeanor changed a couple of days before she died.  His eyes looked more watery and had a sadness to them.  They still do.  He’s not being his normal cocky, arrogant self, and it’s heart wrenching to see.

I’m not going to miss the vet and hospital bills, or the injections, the constant vet appointments, or watching Raven fade away.  But I sure do miss her.

 

Comments

  1. Oh…..that was one of the most beautiful obituaries I have ever read. I truly love hearing about your kitty and her life and all the ways you enjoyed one another. Our creatures are so impacting to our lives!
    So much love to you, Jennifer and thank you again for sharing this with us. It touches me deeply.

    Like

    • Thanks, Carmen 🙂

      It has really, really, really helped me to be able to share with you guys. I had no idea how much it helps me personally to process things inside of me by sharing out loud. I *should* have known that . . . because it’s a part of being a Gemini Sun. (The other sign ruled by Mercury, Virgo, process things by internal dialogue . . . Gemini processes things by outer dialogue . . . who knew?)

      But it’s because of such incredibly warm and loving responses from friends like you that has helped me to see and understand that about myself. Making me feel a little bit safer about poking my head out of the box and sharing more things out loud.

      Okay. It’s now hug time. I need a hug. So. Give me. 😀

      Like

  2. Isthisusernamealreadytaken says:

    So sorry Jenn. Pets are so much a part of our lives; it is heart breaking when they go. Love and comfort to you.

    Like

    • Thanks so much, reallylongnamethatismorelikeasentencethananame. 😉

      Today she would have been 7 – so it’s all welling back up to the surface for me again. I appreciate your sentiment, it means a lot to me.

      Like

  3. This brought me back to losing Taffy, who was 9 years old when we had to have her put to sleep. She suffered from seizures and was on medication, but eventually, she failed and we had to let her go. It was so heart-wrenchingly sad. I recall I had to get back to work following the vet appointment and every time I thought I had the crying under control and waited a bit for my swollen red eyes to look decent enough to go to work, the crying jag would start all over again. So, so sad to lose a pet that you love! We haven’t had another one but I think about it, maybe we will.

    Like

    • Oh tell me about it! Even just now, scanning through this post, I was surprised by the strength of an outburst of tears that came from it. It’s been over a month, and I go many days where I’m not thinking about it . . . but when it comes back, it’s like a bullet fisted punch to the heart. It just HURTS . . . and good old fashioned “you don’t have any control over it” Pluto. I just want to pet her head once more . . . or scritch under her chin while she’s doing her heavy duty purring.

      My brother sent me a kitty necklace for my birthday in honor of her, and it worked out perfect because I didn’t end up opening it until her actual birthday. God I loved that little kitty. And it wasn’t just me, she had a huge impact on other people in my life who had known her. She was really something else. Our boy kitty Gir is just now starting to be able to sleep back in the living room on his own, but even that’s iffy. He’s lost weight too now. He *loved* his girl.

      Like

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