Last night, we said goodbye to Inky… a little black cat who’s been part of our family for 14 years.
She’s always been the caregiver — the one who, when someone was ill, would curl up beside them as though to comfort and heal. She survived a close call a few years ago when she got into some antifreeze that my brother-in-law spilled in the driveway, but somehow pulled through it.
Last Summer, she began losing weight at an alarming rate, despite eating and drinking normally. We took her to the vet, but the blood tests revealed nothing (although it did rule out liver or kidney failure, as well as feline leukemia). The doc told me in November that it was probably cancer, and I knew then that it was up to me to watch for the signs of pain, to know when it was kinder to just let her go peacefully.
Just before winter break, she was still leaping to the top of the refrigerator, where she basked in the warmth and watched all that went on. In the days after Christmas, she could no longer jump to the island, but still behaved normally in all other ways. By Saturday evening, it seemed that she had some neurological problems — she singed her tail on a candle, and appeared to walk with difficulty. Yesterday, she seemed more frail than ever, and for the first time, did not finish her lunch.
Last night as she lay in front of the woodstove, I knew from her labored breathing that the time had come, and planned to take her to the vet for the last time today. She didn’t make it through the night.