Well, we knew this day was coming, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Minnie, our little-old-lady cat, has passed away. We knew that she had limited time left even before we headed out to California. She still demanded milk every time the fridge opened, came running up for breakfast, and tried to leap onto and off people’s laps, even if she required leap assistance to get up and down. But she was clearly getting frailer, and these last couple of days she began to fail. She stopped wanting to eat, she stopped asking for treats. When she walked across our living room she had to stop and rest every couple of feet, and the last couple of days she wasn’t able to make it all the way (some ten feet) to the litterbox. We lifted her over there a several times a day, these last two days. I called my vet in PA and she recommended that we try a cat hospital, as being most understanding of our situation.
The Cat Doctor in Santa Clarita was very kind and understanding, even if her receptionist, rightly dubious about two strangers coming in to have their cat put down, told us sternly that the doctor would examine the cat and then we’d see. I said that would be fine with us, because I knew we weren’t deluding ourselves about how wasted and sick she was. And as I’d thought, once the doctor did examine the cat, she pretty much agreed with our assessment of her condition, that she was at the end of her life and any palliative measures wouldn’t change that fact or even give her that much ease.
Minnie, the crotchetiest cat ever. She was tiny, maybe 7 lbs at her prime fighting weight. We got her in 1993 when my MIL moved in with us after the death of my FIL. She brought two little black domestic longhairs, littermates, with her from Arkansas, Minnie (the Moocher) and Meowie. Minnie was mean; Minnie was trouble in a puffball. Minnie was boss, or so she thought. She took on everyone in the house (five other cats.) Thorbjorn, a big ginger tom who was double her weight, used to rear up on his hind paws, hold her off with one paw and dribble her head on the floorboards with the other. She’d be swiping at him but he had twice her reach too, so it was just like in those cartoons where the big guy holds off the maddened little guy with one hand, while the little guy swings wildly with both fists.
She terrorized the cats she could and stood up to the ones she couldn’t. She never had a kind word for any other cats, not even her sister, really. I am not sure she actually thought she was a cat. When she was older, and we were down to two cats, her and Rufus, her incredulity when we added two younger cats to the household was funny to watch.
She liked people a lot; she was always first in for petting when she was young. She was a talker; she’d come around and meow for milk whenever we opened the fridge door. We’d say, “Minnie, do you want milk?” and she’d say “Milk! Milk!” I swear it sounded like she knew the word. If we were mean to her (breaking up cat fights, usually, or not being forthcoming with the milk) she’d go in and tell my MIL all about it. “Meow!! Meow, meow; meow-meow!” Once when I went off to a quilting symposium for a week, she disappeared. J was putting out food and it was eaten, but he never saw her. He was about to launch an intensive search when I got home. Just like that, she appeared on the stair landing in the foyer and lectured me on how naughty everyone had been for a good ten minutes.
As she got older she developed thyroid problems and kidney problems. I don’t think there’s a cat alive that has more than a seven year warrantee on their kidneys. I pilled her twice a day (suddenly J was her favorite person) and we kept her going for several years. We got her two heating pads to sleep on, one for the house and one for the trailer. She liked traveling with us; she got a lot more attention and treats than at home, where she’d not stir from the upstairs bedroom. We helped her up into laps and down again when she lost the strength to jump. She loved to have J hold her and would butt his hand if he wasn’t petting her right.
This spring we were talking about it and determined that they’d gotten those Arkansan kittens in 1990, so she was older than we’d thought. The vet always said she was too mean not to live a good long life. And so she did.