In 1995 I met my best friend, my companion, my guardian, and my only source of unconditional, nonjudgmental form of love: Orange.
I was 7 years old when she was born. My aunt’s cat gave birth and when I went to see the new litter of kittens, 5 in total, she came right up to me. A tiny little long haired orange Tabby. An instantaneous bond occured and I knew she had come home with us. My parents gave me the honor of choosing her name and Orange it would be. My mom fell in love with the runt of the litter, a Calico she named Kelly.
Kelly was small, thin, and quiet. But Orange was tough. She was the dominant cat. A protector. 16 pounds at her heaviest. Strong, big, beautiful and loud. She was a little lioness.
That was almost 17 years ago.
In February of 2012 I noticed Orange had lost a significant amount of weight and was eating less. We took her to the Vet and she had surgery on a bad tooth. After the surgery she was still losing weight. So much in fact that it was scary - she was only skin and bones. Again, on April 25, 2012 we took her in to the doctor. She weighed about 5 lbs and the doctor noticed a lump on her chin. We had an x-ray done and though it was unknown as to what the mass was, it was certain that this was the cause to her sickness and necessary that either A) it be removed and tested or B) we make her as comfortable as possible before she be put down.
My heart sank. Option B was not acceptable. My family and I decided we needed to try. She immediately had surgery and had to stay over night. I felt anxious. Something wasn’t right. I wanted her home. We got a call saying the surgery went fine and that they’d have the results in 5 to 7 days; which was entirely too long.
She came home the next day and I couldn’t wait to get off work to see how she was doing, but what I came home to was nothing expected. She was lying on the floor in my bedroom, looking weak and clearly in agony. In denial and hopeful she was exhausted only from the pain meds, I had the next day and a half off and tended to her constantly. Nothing was getting better, things only seemed to get worse. She could hardly walk, needed help to eat and to use the bathroom. Seeing my healthy and powerful cat in such a delicate state was heartbreaking and on April 28th, I knew that I was being selfish to keep her here.
She was too fragile to move and since she seemed most comfortable on my floor, I slept on the carpet with her. In the morning we made an appointment for a service to come to our home and euthanize her in the place where she felt at ease. This decision was extremely hard but we knew it was the humane thing to do. Whether or not the results would come back malignant was something I’d have to live with (still waiting to hear what killed her). It was time and I couldn’t let my best friend suffer any longer.
In her last few days, an animal that displayed greater love than any other being I’ve known, no longer would purr. The end was painful and tragic. She deserved better than that.
Approximately 4:00 pm, the nurse asked if I was ready.
Your pets are not disposable. They are not replaceable.
I went to sleep last night without her next to me. When I got ready for work today, she wasn’t there to follow me from room to room. Today I came home and for the first time I wasn’t greeted by my favorite thing in this world. We were inseparable and it’s weird that it won’t be like that anymore. It’s going to be so lonely without her. I’m thankful and feel fortunate she was in my life. I already miss her so much.
RIP little one, I love you.
June 29, 1995 - April 29, 2012