This is my favorite picture of me with the things that make me happy here on the north shore of Long Island: our backyard in Summer, a glass of wine, a newly-found Blue Jay feather, and Lickety.
Dear Ones, you knew you’d have to read these words sooner or later:
Lickety died, here at home, on Sunday, Feb. 9. He’s buried in a spot just behind the chairs in this photo.
On Saturday morning, Feb. 8, Lickety had a seizure under the dining room table. We wrapped our sweet boy in a blankie and went straight to the vet’s office. It was 9:30am. We were ready to say good-bye, but Lickety wasn’t having it. While the vet examined him, Lickety roused himself and seemed more alert than he’d been in days. He paced the floor, stalking the examination room as if looking for an escape.
So the vet tested Lickety with a bowl of special high-calorie food, which Lickety gobbled down and asked for more. This made the vet think that Lickety was pretty perky and had more time left, and he advised us to take our boy home. He assured us that Lickety was not in pain, but warned us that “It’s going to be roller coaster, but he might have another month left.”
We bought a month’s supply of special food and took him home.
Lickety never ate another morsel of the stuff. On Saturday night he had another seizure, and was knocked out for about an hour. The vet explained that old, sick cats take a while to recover from these neural events but we shouldn’t panic, that eventually Lickety would come back to “normal”. So we put a blanket over him and waited, and he did come back, to almost “normal”.
However, he looked weak on Sunday morning, even though he joined the other cats for breakfast, as usual (although he didn’t eat), and he sat on my lap, as usual, while top Cat and I read the Sunday paper.
After lunch, while Lickety was walking out of the living room, he fell down and couldn’t get up. It didn’t look like another seizure; it looked like Lickety was simply running out of energy. I sat with him until he got the strength to pick himself up, and he wobbled into the den.
That’s when Lickety settled in under the coffee table there, and went to sleep.
In the late afternoon, he woke up all of a sudden and had a rather big seizure, and this time he didn’t come back to anything near “normal”. He seemed to be in a daze, his breathing was fast and shallow, his eyes staring at something that was not in the room. I laid him down on a fluffy blanket that he liked and put him back under the coffee table. I was lying down on the floor next to him, stroking his head, talking to him, telling him that we loved him, and that it was OK to go.
After a few hours, he jerked awake, raised his head a little, drew himself in as if he were curling up to go to sleep, and exhaled. His body went limp in my hands, and he was dead. It was 7:32 PM.
I don’t recommend this kind of home death for every cat. Death is hard, and slow. But with Lickety, I didn’t rush him to the emergency vet when we knew he was dying on Sunday because he had convinced me that he did not want to spend his last moments of life in a hospital, having made such a show of being a strong kitty at the vet’s office and hoodwinking us into taking him home.
I believe that this is the death that Lickety wanted. I’ve had a lot of cats, and I’ve seen cats die in many ways, from heart attacks in the living room to dropping dead under my kitchen table to the preferred last visit to the vet, to stuff you don’t want to know about. And you all, I know, have a sense about what your beloved animal companions need and want at the end of their lives. So, I’m trusting my instinct on this.
Death is such a huge thing that even when a small, frail kitty dies, it rips a huge hole in reality. We had a dead cat in our den, and the whole house seemed off its axis. Top Cat and I were numb, too numb to cry, so we covered our dear boy with a linen napkin and made martinis. And then we made some more martinis.
We buried him the next morning.
This is one of the reasons that I love Twitter. This (above) came up in the tl at just the right time.
So, as you know, life goes on. And on. And on.
When I die, I want people to be absolutely miserable for about 24 hours, and then I want them to remember me and laugh. Really big laughs.
And, oh yeah: Fuck Trump.
Have a great weekend, everyone.