Adieu, Fearless

So… yesterday, the Princess padded into my room somewhat early, bearing a mug of coffee and some bad news.

Our Fearless!Cat was not doing well.

Regular Readers will remember Fearless!Cat was my father-in-law’s; when he went into assisted living he was distraught over what would happen to her. Of course we took her in. It was a four-hour drive to bring her home, and she made her displeasure known during every single, solitary minute.

Her name was Ninja, because she had only the faintest spot of white on her chest. Her predecessor in my father-in-law’s house–Taffy Kat–lived to be 23 or 24 and required diapers by the end; father- and mother-in-law had a genius for picking long-lived pets.

Anyway, Ninja was twenty, and Saturday night she was just as robust, vocal, and bossy as ever. Sunday morn she was curled up on her favorite bed, obviously slipping away fast. For a couple hours I thought she’d rally, but then she spoke, loud and clear.

It was time.

Our regular vet is moving offices and closed on Sundays to boot, and I was near frantic. Fortunately, there are area vets who do house calls in this situation, and we got lucky. Or, you know, Ninja knew there was an appointment slot that afternoon with the vet she’d chosen, and acted accordingly.

I would not put it past that cat. After all, she’s Fearless!Cat on the blog because she was known, out in my father-in-law’s neighborhood, for taking on raccoons. She was a stubborn, temperamental warrior, and her ferocity was only matched by her great tenderness with the Princess and Little Prince.

When Ninja came to live with us, she was already past middle age, but she would torment Odd Trundles by perching on the stairs (he would not, under any circumstances, go down the interior stairs, and only the outside ones under mild protest, since he was so front-heavy) and regarding him calmly as he barked, wiggled, and play-bowed frantically at the head of said stairs, longing, wanting, needing her to come up and make acquaintance. The Mad Tortie had trained him not to play roughly, but Ninja was having none of this “play with” nonsense. She was there to torment, and she did her job.

She also slept on the Little Prince’s pillow, slipping down the hall like the soft-footed assassin she was named for as soon as Odd was safely in his crate. And she demanded the Princess feed her twice a day; she wouldn’t touch her bowl otherwise.

What I’m saying is, this cat knew what she wanted. Always. And yesterday she decided her bags were packed; she was ready to go.

So. A very nice veterinarian from Loving Hands came out, and Ninja passed in the midst of her family. There were soft voices, tales told of her glory and stubbornness, prayers said to Bast, Anubis, and Artemis. Then, once she was gone, she was laid to rest deep and safe in our rose garden as the Princess requested.

A special thanks to Dr Xava, who was kind, patient, and did exactly what Ninja told her to do. It’s rare to find doctors who listen so well.

I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time digging graves for small animals, in pouring rain. I didn’t mind the rain; I could blame it for the water on my cheeks.

None of us are feeling too grand right now. Kind thoughts are welcome–though please, none of that rainbow bridge business, I can’t stand it. If you’re moved to make a small donation on behalf of Her Grace Madame Ninja, First of her Name, Wearer of Scythes, Chatterer Upon Stairs, She Who Does Battle With Trash Pandas, I suggest BeeBee’s House Kitten Rescue, or the Humane Society of Southwest Washington, where all our pets except Ninja came from.

No doubt she is in glorious battle somewhere, no longer inside an aching body. I’m sure she’ll come back to visit occasionally, but right now she’s resting. Twenty years, she’s bloody well earned it. Please give your furry friends a gentle pat or two on our account, my friends.

I told the kids that the pain is our hearts getting bigger, and our capacity for love deepening. That it’s a gift, the last gift our fuzzy friends give us. I do believe it, I have to believe it.

But oh, it hurts. It hurts.