Tuesday, May 3, 2011
We lost a family member on Friday
It was my cat of 15 years, Francie. She had been going downhill for some time. She had worn her teeth down to nubs, so she wasn't able to eat dry food anymore. Because her teeth weren't what they used to be, she couldn't clean herself as well as she had in the past, so her fur was matted. She didn't weigh much of anything. One of her eyes stayed dilated at all times. We couldn't let her in the upstairs of the house because she couldn't always wait to relieve herself.
Still, she was part of the family. She stayed either in the den in our basement or on the back deck, and made herself known, especially when she was hungry. She was my loyal companion through my single days into marriage and children and even the acquisition of other pets, and handled each addition to the family happily.
I'll never forget that after mine and Chris' second date, she came at me like she always did when I'd been away from the house by jumping on my lap, placing a front pay on either shoulder, and licking my face. "We're going to marry him," I told her that night...and we did! When Chris would get mad at her for some reason or another and threaten,"I'm gonna kill your cat!" (which he would never do....he loved her, too!) I would quickly remind him that SHE had been a member of my family longer than HE had!
My mother in law loves to tell the story of the first time she took care of my 10 year old, Isaac, by herself in our home. She says that Francie wouldn't let Isaac out of her sight! She was going to make sure that HER baby was okay, even if this strange woman was here! She was always very adaptable and a new baby in the house made her curious, but she never did anything but love us all.
Other stories about Francie I love to tell is about the times she would disappear. When we moved from my parents' house where we first lived when we were married to our current home, we kept Francie inside for several days, much to her dismay. She scratched the inside of the door frame from the basement to shreds! When we decided it would be okay to let her out, my worst fears were confirmed when she was gone for several days. I was frantic! We drove up and down the side of the road between the two houses, and after almost a week, we found her! The houses were only about a quarter mile apart on the same side of a major highway, so she had easily found her way 'home'. She continued to do so for about a year after we moved! One time I was at my parents house and we saw a cat on the front porch through the picture window. "Let Sarah in," my mom instructed, figuring that the cat was her own. Guess who came walking in the front door like she belonged there but Francie?!
Another time, she disappeared and we HADN'T moved! Again, she was gone for the best part of a week, and again, I was frantic and heartbroken. I thought sure she was gone for good. Chris walked down the street looking for her, and found her at our neighbor's house hanging around. Soon after, his wife passed away. She stayed around there the entire time visitors were coming and going, and even tried to run into the house a few times! After the funeral and burial were finished, our neighbor figured that she was there to stay and called the vet to come down and give her shots! Little did he know that she had HAD her shots as our cat! We had a good laugh about that....that her adopting Mr. C for a while only got her an additional dose of her yearly vaccinations! She hung around his house for the best part of that spring. I think she knew that Mr. C needed the company at the time. When she felt he would be able to get along without his wife or with her, she came on back.
She was always a very social creature. If we went out of town for a few days, she would go over to the neighbor's house to be petted. If we were home, she stuck close by.
Isaac was the one who found her laying in the yard on Friday. Chris thinks that she just had a heart attack or something, because he had seen her walking around earlier that day. She was still warm when he went to move her. Thankfully, she didn't lay long, and I don't believe she suffered. I wasn't at home...I was gone to the Exceptional Women Conference, and didn't get home to see her or pet her one last time before Chris buried her. I think that is good, though, because I will remember her as I last saw her, happily wandering around the back yard, wanting to be fed.
Rest in peace my precious little kitty. Though this is not a picture of you, it is very similar to how you looked when you were well. I will always love you and will miss you!!