A week ago tomorrow, our dear Abbey left us. Her kidney disease had progressed to the point where she weighed about 3 pounds (about half what she weighed most of her life - she was a tiny kitty) and was so weak that she couldn't walk very far without stopping and resting. She was tired, and it was time. Shane and I took her to the vet last Tuesday and stayed by her side to her last breath. It was really hard, but I know we did the right thing. I feel much better knowing that she's not suffering anymore.
Rather than dwell on her illness and death, I want to share three stories about Abbey that have been on mind a lot over the last week.
In October 2000, I was living in an apartment by myself for the first time. I was so excited to be living on my own, but I was completely unprepared for the loneliness of my empty apartment. Having wanted a cat since I was a little girl, I decided it was time. My boyfriend at the time went with me to the Lawrence Humane Society one Thursday evening. I carefully considered each cat, hoping to find a young one that was already declawed. Sitting at the front of one of the upper cages was a precious little orange and white long-haired cat. She had pretty light green eyes and a short nose. I stuck a few fingers through the door of the cage to touch her fur, and she stretched and immediately started purring. I knew then that I had to take her home. She had been there for 6 months. I was so surprised that such a beautiful cat had been there so long. I guess she was just waiting for me.
Growing up, I always wanted a cat. On many occasions I asked my parents for a cat, but was turned down every time. My dad thought cats were evil and that they smelled and carried disease. When I was able to decide for myself and told my parents I was getting a cat, my dad warned me against it. Never one to react well to being told I shouldn't do something, I ignored my dad's warnings and adopted Abbey. The day I brought her home, my mom, dad and sister came over to meet her. Dad was still really unsure about cats, but he was curious. Upon arriving at my apartment, my dad sat on the couch and folded his arms across his chest (a common gesture for my dad). As the four of us talked, Abbey very quietly and very slowly crawled up onto Dad's folded arms, laid down and purred as loudly as she could. You could almost see his heart melt. Two years later I had to move home for a year. I brought Abbey with me and she quickly became my parents' favorite. After I bought my house and moved out, Mom and Dad went right out and adopted two cats from the same litter. I never thought I'd see the day when Dad would want a cat as a permanent part of his household. Abbey changed that.
Abbey confirmed for me that Shane was The One. Every boyfriend I had before him either didn't like her or just tolerated her. She was spoiled, picky and sometimes had a horrible temper. Despite all those things, Shane immediately loved her and she loved him. It didn't take long before she really became his cat. She never showed her bad temper to him. She was always the sweetest, most loving animal with him.
Shane has taken Abbey's death pretty hard. He won't let me remove her litter box or unplug her water fountain. He tears up every time he thinks about her.
Something that did make him feel a little better is that not only did our vet send us a personalized sympathy card, but he also made a donation to the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine in Abbey's, Shane's and my name. We have a really great vet.
I am going to have her cremated. One of the women at the vet's office sells handmade mahogany boxes made by her husband. I will have Abbey's ashes put in one of those boxes. It will be nice to have her home again.
I was looking around for pictures of Abbey to put on the digital picture frame that Shane and Brady gave me for Christmas when I came across this video. It's really short, but in it you can hear how loudly she purred. She never talked much, but that purr was the best.
I miss her.