Friday, February 09, 2007
Today we lost a special friend. Our cat, Zuzu, was quietly let go to join her mother and brothers. She would have been 19 year old next month on St. Patrick's Day.
She had been in delcining health this year, but this last week she turned a corner and we started to see signs of pain and distress. As much as we wanted to keep her with us, it would have been selfish of us not to ask our very dear friend and kind veterinarian, Dr. Bill Kurmes, to aid Zuzu to slip the bonds of this life.
Years ago, my father decided to retire from the hectic pace of the Marketing World and settle in a very small, very remote town in eastern Arizona. He bought a house on two acres and with the house came a resident feral cat. Although he would never admit to it, Dad was a great animal lover. Soon, he and the feral cat he came to name "Matilda" were sitting on his front deck, together. Eventually, Matilda would let Dad pet her. This lead up to her finally coming into the house.
One thing was obvious though...Matilda was very pregnant. On St. Patrick's Day, 1988, Matilda came home to Dad but was now noticeably svelte. She had her kittens but refused to let anyone know where they were, even Dad. I remember visiting him at that time. My DH was serving his last year in the Army in Korea. My daughter, Kelly, and I had come to visit Dad for a long weekend and Dad had asked me to see if I could find Matilda's kittens. I searched everywhere I could think of but to no avail. Being a wiley mother who had lost many litters to coyotes before her eyes, Matilda had done a great job of making sure no one would get to her little family.
A few weeks later Dad called. Matilda had brought to him, while he was sitting on the porch, each one of her kittens. She placed each one at my father's feet knowing they would be safe while she would go back to her hideout to fetch each kitten, one at a time. Dad was beside himself with pride that this old cat that no one could get near for years, brought him her most prized family to keep safe and warm. And my dad promised her they would not come to harm and they were home.
About 8 weeks later, Dad called me asking if I knew of anyone who might like one of the kittens. They were weaned and Matilda was going to be spayed. No one in his little valley wanted them. So, Dad, knowing which buttons of mine to push, said that he would be keeping Mattie and the female kitten (Zuzu), but the two boys were going to have to be put to sleep if no one would take them. We already had two cats, April and Bandit, but in a weak moment I said I would take the boys, whom I later named Socks and Scooter. That was the start of my downfall. Later, as Dad moved into town, I ended up with both Matilda and Zuzu as well. Each one had their own wonderful personality and charms.
Over the years, we've seen each one decline and finally leave us. Zuzu was the last of the little family. She loved to sneak under the covers of our bed in the middle of the night and curl up by my feet - startling to me the first few times she did it. She also spent the first couple of years with us being very timid and shy, but if I would cook any kind of pork - bacon, roast, pork chops - she would almost bowl me over to get a piece. When she finally became used to Ralph and I, she would spend each evening with us in the living room. Usually she would lay near me on the loveseat or chair and put her paw, ever so gently, on my lap or leg barely touching me. I never decided if she was doing that for her comfort, or mine...just letting me know that she was there with me.
I will miss Zuzu. She was a fixture on the hearth when the woodstove was burning. It was the warm hearth where she found comfort and peace. And today, it was the warm hearth where Bill knealed down on the floor to end her pain and illness that had developed in these last months of her life. The science-part of me knows it was the right thing to do, but the soul-part of me hopes that we will meet again someday...Zuzu and the rest of her family.
I will miss my friend with the beautiful face and sparkling eyes...and the soft touch of her paw each evening.
Posted by Kathy at 7:32 PM