Hello, all. It’s Lemony here. The cats and I usually only post on Wednesdays, but I received word from Kim (through the comments from last week’s post) that one of our residents of SP#1–little Holly–will no longer be with us next week when I visit the room on Wednesday. Holly has been battling a number of serious health problems, but her condition has been further compromised since entering the final stages of kidney failure. It’s time to let her go.
I thought I’d send the post out in advance of Monday, so you could keep her, and Kim and Linda, in your thoughts.
Kim and Linda, if you are reading this, I want you both to know what incredible people you are. I can never express enough my gratitude and admiration for the care and kindness and compassion you bring to your work with the animals at the shelter. Thank you for supporting them during these especially difficult moments at the end of their lives and helping them to preserve their dignity.
Here are two photographs that I took of Holly on Wednesday, not knowing that they would my last images of her.
While these may be the last still images of Holly that I possess, I will always have lots of memories of Holly. I’ll note a few here below, freely, as they come to mind.
Holly was the epitome of self-possession, despite being blind and deaf and constantly disoriented. I admired her spunk and smarts, when it came to defending her territory (always near or in the water bowls). I loved to watch her when I opened the door to the porch, because she could sense the change in the air right away, and would make her way out into the fresh air and sunlight (where you see her in the photographs above). Without sight or hearing, Holly made good use of her other senses and seemed to have an affinity for the vacuum cleaner. While the other cats do whatever they can to get away from the vacuum cleaner (except for Cassidy, who amazingly seems entirely unfazed by it) Holly would come toward it and even appeared to follow it.
Holly eagerly sought attention from people in the room, when she knew they were there. She loved to be brushed. She loved lap time (if you were on the ground), and little did she know that she was competing with Rascal and Katarina ALL the time, but if she was in my lap, she got to stay in my lap, and Rascal and Kat had to wait. In fact, whenever Holly was in my lap on the porch, Rascal was always stretched out alongside my body–right up against my legs, waiting his turn. I don’t think Holly ever knew he was there.
I always noticed how at-the-ready Holly was to swipe at another cat. She was very quick with the paw, because, as far as she knew, she had to be. She was an incredible survivor.
I thought a lot about her situation in the world, and what it must be like for a cat who cannot see or hear. She spends her energy defending herself and sticking close to food and water, and then every once in a while (who knows what time feels like to her), she has a few moments of wonderful peace and rest in the warmth of the sun and fresh air. And then occasionally she’ll feel these hands wrap themselves around her body, and she’s not quite sure at first if they’re going to be giving her nasty tasting medicine, or poking her with needles, or if they’re going to treat her body to a wonderful massage and brushing. Actually, she probably did know what those hands were going to do; she could probably sense from the rhythm of the footsteps coming toward her what was going to happen.
She always seemed to know when I put my hands on her that she could relax, and that’s exactly what she would do. The amazing thing to me is that despite all that was working against her (health problems, medical treatments, blindness, deafness, disorientation, constant defense of territory, etc.), she still had a fabulous and beautiful purr. She still had the ability to trust.
I am really, really going to miss Holly. I will miss all of the wet sandy paw tracks she leaves all over the floor near her bowls. I will miss her funny little turned out front paws, her precious face, her thin little body, her trusting, sweet self, her cheek on my shoe, her head on my leg, her purr in my heart…..
Goodbye, Holly. I love you.