Our sweet Kasey is fading on us rapidly. Recently diagnosed with severe renal failure, it seems she has become an old and feeble cat in just a couple of weeks. She is now ‘legally’ blind, explaining her wild-eyed expression and the uncertainty in her gate, and our vet suspects there is a possibility she may have cancer. She was suddenly not dashing away from the dogs as she’s always done, but instead, just sitting there on the deck, letting them finally achieve their long-awaited dream of thoroughly sniffing her.
The girls have been so good, once satisfied with their examination, they now seem to realize that Kasey is ill, and they leave her alone- other than an occasional curious nuzzle. What a difference at Chez Gainey, where this detente has brought true peace to our little animal kingdom when we- or at least Kasey- needed it most.
I will never forget when I first noticed the little gray cat almost fourteen years ago. It was early spring, and she was one of a group of feral cats that had been plaguing us, causing the dogs to go nuts at all times of the day and night. She was very petite, emaciated- obviously a very young cat. I shooed her away for a few days, and then one day I saw her in our large dog house. I started to shoo her again, but I stopped. There was something in the way that she looked at me, a desperation and maybe a resignation. I left her alone.
The next morning, I looked out into the dog house and gasped. There was the little gray cat…nursing five tiny kittens. She was so thin that I hadn’t even known she was pregnant. I brought food to her, and she ate hungrily. No wonder she needed me to cut her some slack. I was amazed that she had even survived the ordeal of giving birth.
A big storm was coming, and I was afraid that Kasey and her kittens would drown or be injured in some way. She seemed to trust me- either that or she was too exhausted to care anymore. She let me gather she and her brood and take them up to the guest house. I know that I had to be projecting, but she honestly seemed grateful.
The storm passed, we kept the kittens until they were weaned, and then found good homes for them. At that point I asked Dan, “Honey, can we keep her?” He smiled and said, “Of course we’re keeping her!” (Reason No. 2,456 why I love my husband.)
Fast-forward almost fourteen years. Kasey has been there through a lot of life with us. Her gentle nature and dog-like behavior have made her a wonderful companion. She came when I whistled for her, she sat by me while I did yardwork (famous for jumping into my almost full leaf bags). She was my gym buddy, greeting me in the dark of early morning with her cry that I swear sounded just like, “Ma-ma! Ma-ma!” that was always just for me. She’d follow me faithfully up to my garage gym and jump up and sit on my back during yoga poses.
From Kasey I learned acceptance, gentleness, protectiveness. She seamlessly fit into the fabric of our lives, made us laugh with her antics, and we did our best to keep her safe, well-loved and cared for all these years. What a gift she has been to us.
I have never been good at endings, but it seems that another ending is coming soon. I am preparing myself for the loss, already feeling the hole in my heart. We are focusing on keeping Kasey comfortable and loved, moving her into the house for good. The old Kasey would have been miserable being ‘stuck’ inside, but the ill Kasey seems perfectly content. We’re feeding her special food and medicines, and are giving her infusions to help flush her failing kidneys.
Dan always has a good perspective on things. After we got the news today and after I had a good cry, he said, “I’m not going to focus on losing Kasey- I’m going to focus on enjoying every moment we have left with her and on making her as comfortable as we can.” Wise man, my husband. I’m doing my best to do the same.
Tonight, I am lying in bed with Kasey stretched out on top of me, Sophie at my side, Cooper over my feet, and my sweet husband asleep on the other side of Sophie. The rain is gently falling on this chilly night, and I find myself feeling incredibly grateful for this tender moment of peace. There are some sad days to come for sure, but this moment…this moment is perfect.