It’s been a rough few months here at Andi Explains It All, making it difficult to read a lot of days, let alone to write out thoughts. I have a million of them in my head, as usual. But synthesizing them into something coherent to share has been tricky. I’m going to try to process this in three parts. First up, Fiona.
It all started back in late November/early December. Fiona was the last of my furbabies. I’ve had overlapping dogs and cats for the past 34 straight years, starting with four kittens when I was 9. But when I lost my other elderly ones so close together a couple of years ago, I felt the need to slow down. Plus numerous other factors came into play. And I still had Fiona.
Then Fiona ended up with cancer, which is unfortunately common with Siamese. At her age (14 years), the expense wasn’t worth it. So I did my best to keep her comfortable. I was doing a lot of dogsitting at the time, but stopped in regularly to check in on her and make sure she had meds, etc.
The night I returned from my Thanksgiving break job, I sensed we were likely at the end. She didn’t come upstairs to sleep with me that night. Usually when I would return, she was all over me. On my way out the door to work the next morning, I noticed she was a little whiny. So I kissed her goodbye and promised I would be home as soon as I could.
The second I opened the door that night, I could feel the eerie stillness before I even set foot inside. I knew she was gone. I found her on the cushion where I had left her that morning. I heaved a huge sigh and felt guilty that she had died on her own. When my other cat and dog died a couple of years ago, I was right there with them. Weeks later, I still feel guilty and sad.
But as a friend pointed out, she probably didn’t want to die right there with me. Cats often hide when they are ready to pass, though she hadn’t hidden. When my other cat died, she actually waited for me to finally succumb to sleep that night before she let go. But still. It sucks.
I remember not knowing what to do. I mean, it was December. I had the wherewithal to wrap her up and place her outside before she had a chance to get stinky. One friend volunteered to come over in the morning and help me dig a hole to bury her at home. And then that following morning, another friend said I could bring her over to their cat graveyard in the backyard. That’s actually where my other cat, Cassie, is buried. So we did. Knowing that she is with her sister actually gave me a tremendous sense of peace.
Well-meaning friends started asking me almost immediately when I was going to get another cat. They did the same after my dog died. I know that some people can do that, but I just can’t. I’m still grieving and don’t feel like I can do it right now.
Plus I have all of my wonderful adopted pets from my petsitting gigs. They have been wonderful for me in general, but especially after losing her. I also don’t feel that pressure from trying to straddle two places when I was still caring for her.
She was an amazing friend for 14 years, which is good for her breed. (Siamese average 12-14 years.) I’m glad she isn’t suffering and like to think of her chasing her fur siblings over the Rainbow Bridge and beyond. And maybe, just maybe, she has also found my mother, who was probably the only other human she ever liked.