Saturday, January 28, 2012
Our kitty made her way through our woods when she was about 5 or so months old, from somewhere, and ended up hiding in a drainpipe near the stone kitchen stoop where we fed our cat, and sneaking out to grab a few bites of food when she could. She was fast. I spotted her accidentally after putting some food out. When I saw her several more times I decided I'd better make friends, and she was most willing to come inside and consider the situation, although Mittens, the big grey cat whose food she was eating, didn't much like the idea. Eventually, when we decided to go live on Ocracoke for the summer of '95, Yoey came along. I didn't stay on the island all the time, and we had a house sitter up here in Chatham County, so Mittens was still taken care of ok.
Turned out Libby and I shared Yoey's life and spirit for quite a spell--from winter '94 until yesterday, January 27, 1012, when she died of old age and it's various infirmities while Libby brushed her, something she always loved from start to finish. We had known she was going to leave for a few weeks, and most particularly when she started refusing all food about ten days before she died. She'd still drink a little broth, but we felt that she was just wearing out--we'd already done quite a lot of vetting, and many of our efforts had brought her back to some health several times. This was just the end. As it comes to all of us of course.
We travelled a lot during the Yoey years, and she came along on many trips. She should have put state stickers on her carrier. She stayed in various motels, with various folks who put us up for the night or weekend while we played gigs. Sometimes we'd have to barracade the room she was in to keep the house dog or cat away, and now and then a house cat would hang around outside Yoey's door and if possible even stick a paw under it, knowing something was up. Yoey was usually undaunted, growling from the other side of the door. She had a survivor spirit. She'd lived in a drain pipe! My favorite travel moment, which happened a lot, was when she'd decide to ride on top of the carrier in the back seat so she could look out the window at traffic and the world. And now and then, when she didn't particularly want to go--this happened on Ocracoke once or twice--she'd find some hiding place and we'd miss the ferry. Like I say, she'd lived in a drain pipe. Hiding places probably beckoned to her from every corner of her world.
So, now she's gone. As she was my main alarm clock, I'll have to resort to the radio now. And when we come in at night, it'll be too quiet, and there'll be no little head popping up from the bed or couch to greet us. We won't have to be sure the door's shut either, when we're bringing a lot of stuff in at night. She won't be going out into the night to explore. I'll miss all sorts of little things--the "tail game" and the "other tail game." Her purrs when you petted or brushed her. Even just feeding her, or--later, when she was old--taking her out to the garden and sitting with her while she ate some grass or rubbed her cheek in the catnip, then lead us back to the house when she decided she'd had enough nature.
It was hard to just endure the last week--we kept asking each other if we should just take her in to be put down. There's no ultimate answer to that question, and in my book, the pet has to have a say in it too. I figured Yoey was still happy to be alive up till the very end--she liked to sleep by the door with the light on her, she purred when we'd hug her, and wanted to climb up on the couch to be beside us. Libby said she wanted to come upstairs to the bedroom, and as I said, she died while being brushed, something she loved. So I think we did her right--let her have every second of life. That's just us and Yoey. Thank god she didn't get into a corner of pain, thank god she was never unable to walk. We tried just to stay in the moment, to perceive was was happening. We were ready to take her in, even to make an emergency call if that's what the circumstances required. And thank god she died in Libby's arms.