Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Good Good Kitty

Back in July, I wrote about our poor sick kitty Marbles, who'd been diagnosed with thyroid trouble and kidney failure. She was acutely ill, and our immediate concern was keeping her alive while her main human, my daughter Robin, was away for six weeks of archeology field school. We did. With daily medication and subcutaneous fluid injections, she survived until Robin returned and then another five months besides, until this morning.

Marbles was our "beta" cat. Her sister Rose is our "alpha," the boss of the pride (while Amber the Simple Cat is our "lower-case omega" cat). However, Rose subcontracted home security to Marbles, who performed her duties diligently. No bird, squirrel, dog or cat could pass by a window without drawing her laser gaze, no visitor could cross our home's threshold without first passing her inspection. Some visitors didn't; although she never took a bite or scratch out of anyone, there were a couple of people she just didn't care for who came to fear her hiss. Marbles's affection was selective and precious. I felt honored to earn almost as much of it as my girls did.

Some people get silly about their pets. I never confused my pets for my children, nor forgot that taking on a dog or cat means knowingly taking on heartbreak 10 or 15 years down the road. We are nevertheless heartbroken. Marbles fought for life last summer while Robin was away, and continued to fight after my daughters returned to college in the fall. The girls said so many "final farewells" to Marbles it seemed she might never call their bluff. In the end she waited until we were all together, and even until after Christmas, more than fulfilling the bargain I made with her in July that if she survived the month she could play it any way she wanted. I can't help but believe that Marbles died doing what she did best: looking out for her family.

Master of intimidation.


Sherwood Harrington said...

It's never easy, no matter how much advance warning one has. And, as you imply, we generally have "advance warning" from the instant we share our homes with them for cats and dogs.

By odd co-incidence, I was re-reading (for the first time in a long while) my blog entry from February about our ace cat's passing just before flipping over to your journal and finding this sad news about Marbles. It has been a tough year on the treasured feline front.

None of us get off this lifeboat alive, of course. It just seems unfair that the ones who love so unconditionally are afforded such a short time on it.

Karen van Hoek said...

I'm sorry for your loss. What a beautiful cat. And yeah, it doesn't matter that we enter into relationships with cats and dogs knowing that they'll have to be cut short by human lifespan standards; still doesn't make it easy.

ronnie said...

So, so sorry to hear this, Brian. Our condolences. They leave such a big hole when they go, and knowing it was coming doesn't make it any smaller.

sligo said...

i'm sorry, man. shared sadness.

thoughts to you and the girls.

Namowal said...

Sorry to hear about Marbles. From your post it sounds like you're the best type of pet owner- the kind who take good care of their pets and understand and appreciate them for the creatures they are. Sadly, that makes it tougher to lose the pet.
Marbles sounds she was a first class cat.

Mike Lynch said...

Cats are members of your family and they leave a hole that never gets filled when they leave. Thanks for sharing your memories of Marbles and our deepest condolences on your loss.

Tim said...

Sorry for your loss, Brian. My condolences to you and your family.