released from earthly bonds this soul is free once more to travel further….
Known to me and others as Oisie, a take from the name of Eloise which she was originally named, went away earlier this week. Not something I was prepared for that day nor would I probably be on any particular day yet Dr. Welch said it was necessary. I even said I will bring her back next week, thinking I could have a bit more time with her because I was not prepare for such a loss. When I took her to see him that morning, I thought she had a few issues which could be treated yet and that she was becoming a very elderly ol girl however I was not prepared to be told she had to be put to sleep.
She had been with me for years. Thirteen years. She ate her breakfast and dinner off the same pretty little saucer for all those years. Somehow knowing it was her plate. She wasn’t friendly at first. Well actually for years she wasn’t friendly.
Her life had not been easy. She lived between fences, under a neighbor’s shed and probably where ever she could find that felt safe. Her many kittens lived with her which she ferociously protected and provided for in ways most of us could not.
I first met her while watering the plants on the patio of my town home. There were tiny little kittens tucked with much care under the protection of a plant against the wall of the patio. No one could see them nor was it likely a predator would find them. She was smart, my old Oisie. A wise ol street smart girl.
I began placing food out for her with the hopes of catching her soon and of course saving her kittens. Saving the kittens became something much more easy then catching her. She more or less allowed me to take the kittens while offering a watchful eye when they were at the age she would be walking away from them to encourage them to make their own way. This went on for close to a year. She having her babies on my patio. Me saving them and trying to catch her in a nice way. Not with a trap or meanly. I felt her trust was building however to betray her with a trap was not what I wanted to do. It may have been the best way in the short view, however I wanted to be kind to her. She really did not know kindness at all. I so wanted that for her.
Two other cats lived with me in my town home, brother and sister….Barnum and Bailey. They came to me at six weeks old when a neighbor brought them saying their Mother had been killed. I wasn’t going to keep them yet they begged for a home. So they became my family. They would sit and watch Oisie come for her food which became a routine at the same time B&B were fed…breakfast and dinner. Plus I left dried food for Oisie to have and know it was there all day and night so she didn’t have to work so hard to feed herself and her babies.
I watched her with great respect and felt a kindred spirit with her. In fact I felt we were a lot a like. I had been a single mom and knew what it was like to have to get up in the morning to the responsibility. To do what I could to provide a safe home and food. Not everyone is capable of getting up in the morning after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, to do what needs to be done to feed the children. It takes great strength and when the means are meager, courage. Some times a mother feeds her children to grumblings in her own belly knowing there is not enough for her as well.
To be able to provide for Oisie meant a lot to me. I knew to the core her trust issues. To the core the lack of support. To the core the aloneness of survival and the instincts one musters to do so. We seem to walk the same path although differently from animal to human, yet parallel in many, many ways.
Once she came to live with us, I watched as the privileged ones, Barnum and Bailey treated her so distastefully even though they were reprimanded. Instincts somehow made them think they were better. They had not experienced any of the hardships as Oisie had so they could not relate to her. To them she seemed less then worthy to be dining at their table so to speak. Being the wise one she was, she let them be and quickly enjoyed her meals and returned to her solitude under the bed. There she had the comfort of a small afghan my Mother made many, many years ago. It was something she knew because I had placed it on the patio bench for her to find comfort and eventually she did. Under the bed was safe. She only left to seek out the litter box and come when breakfast and dinner were served plus the periodic visit to the dried food bowl and water. She bothered no one nor did she want to be bothered. She had in her way found a safe place.
She was comfortable with the solitude. The aloneness. She had the essentials and thus was happy and grateful.
Then one day, Sylvester known as Vester to me and others came to live. He must have said to her “hey girl come on out and enjoy life. We have it made here. Sofas, bed, chairs and all the food we want, plus toys. We never have to chase a mouse or catch a bird again”. She would seek him out. Lay close to him day and night. He was very kind to her. Bath her and allowed her to nestle close to him both venturing into to safe deep slumber. It was so touching and rewarding to witness. Oisie came out of her safe haven under the bed. The afghan was moved to a basket and both Vester and she enjoyed the comfort of that little nest.
It was those times that I would be able to pet her. To stroke her head. It was a long, long time though before I could actually hold her or even comb her. She trusted me just so far and I learned to respect her space. She touched my heart from the very first encounter with her on the patio and each time I could venture into her world of stroking her head or watching how comfortable she was after so much strife, my heart would feel very full.
So we just lived our lives for years enjoying the comfort and ease of life with one another. Other cats came to join us. Bailey eventually from time to time would try to rub against her in a moment of gentleness. Oisie would let her never treating her badly as Bailey originally had her and on most days continued to do so. She just accepted the nudge and went with it. I feel sure she knew it was short lived yet somehow would rise above it all.
The years of age and wear and tear began to show on Oisie and me as well. We were aging together in many ways. Yet she had endure far more then I had and her body was beginning to show it. From time to time she would fall in a deep, deep sleep and forget to get up to go to the litter box. Furniture, rugs began to be ruined and I learned to just clean and then cover to accommodate her. All the while feeling maybe I needed to take her to a vet. The rescue woman I know who deals with a lot of cats, said just let her live her life.
Having had a very bad experience with the local vet, I felt that may be best. I did not want to put her through major ordeals of long times of discomfort induced at the hands of an uncaring vet. I mentioned this many, many times to someone I know and not once did they share where they took their animals. Only stating they took them to La Grange, the next town over. It seemed to send a message that it was for a chosen few. The privileged ones perhaps.
Then I saved another small kitten and took him to a vet I knew of although thought would be expensive like the one where I live. He turned out to be a gem of a vet. Caring and extremely reasonable making it possible to provide care to one’s animals without going bankrupt. Soon after that Vester, Oisie’s bud, became very ill. How I missed the indications, I have yet to know. My attention turned to trying to save him which as I have written a blog or two about, did not happen. He was hands down the sweetest cat and I so relied on him. So did Oisie.
She became very forlorn however sought me out in the mornings as I sat drinking my coffee on the sofa. She would not jump on the sofa, just rub the back of my legs. I would pick her up. Pet her head, rub her tummy and hold her for a while. Sometimes she would offer a soft purr, however always a sweet loving face of appreciation. If you know animals at all, they can exhibit great emotions and she did.
It all seem to happen quickly. I was slammed with the wildest vertigo I have ever had and could not leave the bed to feed the cats at 5.30 in the morning as I always did nor could I manage to clean the 7 liter boxes. I phoned someone who said if you ever need anything “call me”. She didn’t answer my call nor has returned it yet now a couple of weeks later. As it goes that old one must get up to feed the children regardless….I managed to do that at 1 in the afternoon holding onto counters, walls as if in a storm at sea. Oisie waited in the kitchen greeting me with a soft meow and tears running down from one eye.
I thought it must be allergies since she had sneezed a bit the week prior as had all of them. As the week moved along and the vertigo somewhat improved yet not well enough to drive anywhere, her eye became worse. I had no one to call to take her to the vet. As soon as I could I managed to make the call to schedule an appointment which could not be for another three days since it was Christmas weekend. I gave her lysine in her food. Washed her eye and it improved. Then the morning we are scheduled to go to the vet a huge bump appeared above and beside her eye. When she came for a morning pat, she had a bugle in her abdomen which had not been there. How all this came about so quickly I don’t know. And the bugle on the abdomen could not have possibly been an overnight type thing yet I didn’t feel it when I would rub her tummy in the mornings. She was of course laying on her back.
To loose her as I have, I question how I missed the issues she had and feel I let her down. There is so much I would like to offer her. So many more rubs. So many more brushings which she loved. So many more dinners of tuna or salmon her favorites along with freshly cooked chicken, not the canned kind. So many more glances to catch her relaxed at long last taking in the sun.
Yet I know her heart was empty with out Vester and I know she knew that her life had reverted back to the aloneness of when she lived under the bed although she no longer sought that refuge. She sauntered around more slowly as one does in grief. She wanted that one more chance of comfort from Vester yet her street smarts told her those times were not coming back.
Whether or not she was ready to cross over I don’t know. I certainly was not ready to let her go yet what would her life continued to be with such a void. When the others like people sometimes do to those they don’t want in their group, letting her know “there was no room for her” yet she so wanted to be part of it all. To me she was the world and even though I have others who are sweet cats none will ever embrace my heart as Oisie did. If animal and person can be soul sisters, then Oisie and I were that.
So long brave ol girl, so long. Fly high and wide with a song in your heart. So long…