Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Good-bye, Kitty

Our cat, Rita, died last Friday. We had her put to sleep after her diabetes got the better of her. I wasn't going to write anything about it. I mean, I was, but then the weekend happened, and I got pissed about other things, and I thought I was okay. After all, she was 13, and sick, and it's more about quality of life than quantity.

Then yesterday I came home from work, put Meg in her pajamas, put on my nightgown, got in bed, and fell apart. I have been in a funk ever since. So, I am hoping that writing about Rita will help -- at least little bit.

I got Rita in 1997, four months after I moved to Washington D.C. I didn't get her in Washington though, because people there actually spay and neuter their animals. No, Rita came fr
om a backwoods farm in North Carolina on a trip to visit my parents. She, and about 3-million other kittens, were in a guinea pig hutch. I looked in, unsure who to pick, until she climbed up my body to my shoulder and looked at me as if to say "let's go." We were thick as thieves from that moment on.

Yes, those are laser eyes...

I was the only person Rita liked, and even that was intermittent. My Mom claims that at one point she had to call for help when Rita cornered her in my kitchen while cat sitting. I don't know if that is true, but I do know she tried to end Ryan's life several times when he came on the scene. One night especially stands out in my mind: Ryan awoke to find that Rita had used a single claw to open a deep scratch all the way down his side. "Why did that have to happen," he asked. The answer? Only Rita knew.

Rita may have been a bitch, but she saved my life. I was so crazy in my early 20's that I didn't know which end was up. I drank too much, I dated bad men, and I harmed myself in any way possible. However, whenever I thought of going to real extremes, I thought of Rita. Who would care for her if I wasn't around? NO ONE WOULD DARE. So, I had to be there. And she was there for me.

I would tell you about the end, about the seizures, and the turkey we fed her, and about the many times we thought she was checking out, only to have her rally again, but I would rather your last image of Rita not be of her infirm and dying, but alive and sassy. In the first year after I got her, I took Rita everywhere. That meant when I drove from D.C. to N.C., she went with me. Not in a cage though, but looking out the window. She would lay across my shoulders, looking out the window, grabbing bites of Taco Bell burrito, and having the time of her life. I think she even tried to flash her boobs at truckers.

I hope I did right by her. I know she did right by me.

23 comments:

Rob said...

Glad you wrote about her. It's a shame pets don't live as long as their keepers. I know it was a loss.

Amanda said...

She was a great cat & will be missed.

LB @Wait, She Said What? said...

It's heartbreaking our pets can't live as long as we do. Instead we have to bear the pain of letting them go.

Your Rita was beautiful. She reminds me so much of my Mitten. Ironically, she was a total bitch too except to me. Everyone else hated her because she pretty much hated them. With me though, she was a sweetie. She slept with me every night right against my side until I was asleep. She was the best cat.

I hope writing about your Rita helped ease the pain. It doesn't feel like it now but it does get easier. Still though, moments will get you. Like this one for me.

Scribe said...

I'm sorry to hear about Rita. I've been going through something similar with my Bella. She's going to the vet tomorrow to have one last test to confirm diabetes. I've been a bag of emotions ever since she was diagnosed a few days ago.

It's a hard road to take, to put down a pet. They are definitely a member of the family.

Little Girl Big Glasses said...

She waited until you got Meg. So sorry, Libby. Big lump in my throat for you.

just making my way said...

Tearing up at work! I'm glad you shared Rita with us. Sounds like a special girl who had a great life because of you.

Yellow Trash said...

We had a monstrous German Shephard (he weighed 130 pounds and was scared of his own shadow). Gentlest giant ever. Toward the end he had very bad hip and arthritis problems, and when he could barely get up and was dragging his back legs we knew it was time to end his suffering. Jason couldn't bring himself to sit with him during the injection (he had Buck longer than me), so I did. It still makes me tear up. Sorry about Rita.

Jules said...

I am soooooooooo sad for you! You did the right thing but I know it had to be hard for you!!!!

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Condolences. SO hard to lose a furry friend.

Ellie

Badass Geek said...

I'm sorry you lost such a good companion.

Laura said...

What a wonderful cat, with a singular personality. I'm so glad she had a good life with you, being loved and enjoyed and appreciated for who she was. She certainly held up her end of the cat-human bargain, and you held up yours. That's the way it's supposed to work, isn't it? Of course you are grieving, because she was part of your family. I'm sorry for your loss.

Aunt Juicebox said...

This is sort of weird, because I was going to post about my cat today. I certainly know how you feel about Rita. Hugs.

calicobebop said...

She sounds wonderful - you two really bonded. This post really resonates with me - I just lost my cat too. I hope that writing about her helped you to block out those last moments and keep the good times on top. RIP, Rita.

Cate said...

Rita Flaxbart Henson Rory Calhoon was a pretty awesome cat as long as you looked past the whole, "I will kill you if you touch me" thing.

MomZombie said...

So sorry to hear about your Rita. I love cats. I have had many pass in and out of my life, including one with a similar disposition. Each one was so special in his or her own way and truly a part of the family.

Janine said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Rita. I think these kind of bitchy pets are actually more intelligent. They are discriminating with their love, don't go rubbing up against just anyone.

We share so much of our lives with our pets and it's so hard when they go.

KAM said...

We have a kitty who we will probably be losing soon, she is almost 16, really starting to get limpy. My oldest's first pet, and the worlds best cat, so I am dreading the day. It's so hard to lose them, and to watch them start to go down hill. Hope that writing this did make you feel better

Sam said...

That is beautiful. What a lovely tribute.

Dunc said...

I'm sure you did right by Rita - she was a good and loyal cat, and you were a great companion. Sorry that she had to go :-(

Sarah Bellum said...

Oh Libby, I'm so sorry.

Captain Dumbass said...

Sorry to hear about your cat. I've noticed quite a few bloggers have lost cats recently.

Aunt Becky said...

Oh Libby, I'm so sorry for your loss. She sounds like she was a lovely kitty cat.

Heather said...

I'm so sorry. I spent ten of the scariest and best years of my life (my twenties) with a mentally challenged cat named Peach. Maybe she and Rita are hanging out somewhere. If they are, Rita is certainly the leader of that duo.