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I am the worst person in the world

October 14, 2018

I know I’ve written about Roxie, my elderly adopted cat, before. I met her when my friend Jean was fostering her and, despite Roxie’s tendency to take a nip out of you if you patted her too close to her tail bone, I fell in love with her at first sight. Partially because she reminded me of Mike’s cat Angie, but mainly because Roxie was adorable.

She’d had a tough old time. She was found, age 13, wandering around in the woods. She was skin and bones, ridden with worms, barely alive. The vet reckoned she’d been abandoned and had been doing her best to survive alone for at leads six months.

I tried to resist her. I already had Stella, another adopted cat, who did not like having other cats around. But after Roxie bit the third prospective adopter, I gave in and told Jean to bring her over. I hoped Roxie and Stella would eventually become friends, but that was not to be. (Roxie had no interest in letting Stella be Top Cat. Need I say more?)

I almost never picked Roxie up, because she was always quite capable of finding her own way onto the bed or onto my lap. Friday night I did pick her up and was horrified to discover that she weighed about half a pound.

Clearly I needed to get her to the vet. But the vet on the island is closed on the weekends. I didn’t think it was bad enough to merit a trip to the emergency vet off island. Tomorrow I would go to the store, buy a cooked chicken to feed her titbits, I would keep her warm, cuddle her and get her to the vet first thing Monday morning. (Appointment be damned.)

She was curled up beside me purring when I went to sleep on Friday night. On Saturday morning she was gone. As she’s almost if not completely deaf, there was little point in going outside to call her, but I did. I searched the property, walked up and down the road, calling her name, searching, but no luck.

I sat up until 2:30 this morning, hoping she’d come back, but she didn’t. Eventually I managed to get to sleep, despite the picture in my head of her hiding somewhere on the property, waiting to die. How could I have been so fucking unobservant? How could I not have known she was ill? What the fuck was wrong with me?

When I woke up this morning there was still no sign of her. Late morning Jean called to say someone had contacted Cats Alive to say they’d found an old grey tabby on their property. She gave me the woman’s name and number. I called and it certainly sounded like Roxie, although the woman said this cat was practically dead. I drove straight down there and yes, indeed, it was Roxie, wrapped up in a blanket.

I brought her home, put her on the bed, gave her a few pats then went into the kitchen to get her some chicken. When I turned around, she was stumbling, barely able to walk, towards the kitchen. I put the chicken down in front of her. She sniffed it, but then carried on towards the door. I couldn’t believe how completely she’d deteriorated in the past day and a half. I scooped her up, carried her to the sofa and just held her. While we were sitting there, Jean called. By that time I was in tears. (Oh, god, I’m starting again.) I told her Roxie could barely stand, let alone walk. Jean, who has some pull with the vet, told me to get her straight down there.

I knew before he told me that it was too late. The only thing to do was ease her on her way. She was so far gone that her heart stopped in less than a minute.

I am so grateful she was found, so grateful that she was with me at the end, but I will never ever forgive myself for failing to notice how sick she was. I am the worst person in the world.

I brought Roxie back to the house. There was no question of having her cremated. She had a favourite spot and that was where she needed to be. It’s a sunny spot at the back corner of the house. In the summer, after she’d had her breakfast, she would curl up there and wait for me to head down to water the garden.

I wrote about this daily ritual, watering the garden with Roxie, back in June. She was quite the character.

Jean came over to help me dig a grave in Roxie’s spot. I planted a dozen crocus bulbs. Roxie will give me the first flowers I see in the spring, a reminder of all the joy she gave me when she was alive.

I cannot believe she is gone. I cannot believe how awful I feel.

Okay, I may not be the worst person in the world. (Trump springs immediately to mind.) But it doesn’t matter how many people, including the vet, tell me how good cats are at hiding their illnesses. Today I feel like the worst person in the world.

Goodbye, my sweet Roxie.

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2 Comments
  1. Dave Innell permalink

    Sorry to hear about Roxy. Are you sure Joe didn’t traumatize her last Friday.

    Take care, you gave her a good home for the past 5 years.

    Dave

  2. krysross permalink

    Understand how bad you feel. Max disappeared to die and I never found him and though I’ve felt bad about it ever since, I do admire the way cats slink off to die in private. Roxy was cool.

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