The Ninth Life

(Note: Today’s post deals with the topic of animal euthanasia, namely that which was administered to our beloved cat, Cindy, earlier today. If you have never had the experience of having to put your pet to sleep and aren’t quite prepared for it, nor wish to hear about it, please reconsider reading past the break as I will go into detail about what is involved. Thanks.)


I think it was sometime in 2000 when Ann decided that having one cat wasn’t enough. When we adopted Ozziekat, he was literally a kitten that was recovering from a broken leg he had suffered when the animal rescue folks found him.

As an animal lover I wasn’t one to argue, so we went back to PetSmart and peeped some of the cats they had ready for adoption. And I have to admit that most of them just weren’t “the one” for us.

Enter Cindy, a grey and slightly fluffy green-eyed cat that appealed to us almost immediately. From what we understood, she was rescued from an abusive home and was about 6 years old at the time. It didn’t matter; we decided that this would be Ozzie’s new sister.

The two had a funny relationship. Ozzie, about 5 years Cindy’s junior, was always ready to pounce on Cindy from around the corner of the tiny apartment we were living in at the time. It was then when the young Ozzie should have learned not to mess with an elder because Cindy had that Thousand-Paw Slap ready for him at a moment’s notice.

That didn’t stop him. He still would play but not with the same vigor he used to, and Cindy would oblige–or humor him, as it were. Now and then they would take the time to lick each other but as far as sleeping next to each other to stay warm on a cold night? Forget it. Not happening.

Then there was Cindy’s relationship with us and later, Anthony. While not a lap cat, she definitely let us know when she wanted affection, mostly us scratching her on the head. She’d grab our hands with her paw as if to say, “Hey, Mom and Dad! I see a free hand there! How’s about giving me some love?”

She often slept in Anthony’s bed when he was sick and usually slept on my chest once I got under the sheets (since she couldn’t let her paws touch my shirtless chest). I didn’t mind her sleeping and purring on me until I had to roll over and she would growl in disgust.

She also had a habit of squeezing her way into the bathroom whenever anybody went in there to do their business. We kept the door slightly open just in case she wanted to sneak in there because it was funny seeing her push her paw through the crack, give a few waves as she pushed it open, then stick her nose through and playfully hop in:

Speaking of her paws, I couldn’t touch them without being smacked or growled at. Ann, however, could without any sort of payback. And when Ann was pregnant, she and Cindy were inseparable. Cindy made sure Ann was okay by licking her hands or forehead regularly, almost as if she knew Ann had a baby inside her. Maybe it was her motherly instinct because, for all we know, Cindy could have been a mom at some point or another.

Licking was Cindy’s thing. She’d lick you until you or she couldn’t stand it anymore.

Then there were the birds. Cindy would often jump onto the windowsill and sit and playfully cackle at the birds in the hopes of one day catching one. She never did, but she did manage to catch a rat.

This was the life we knew with our beloved Cindy up until about a week ago. At that time, we had noticed that she didn’t have much of an appetite and began to be very lethargic, and she found a spot to sleep very comfortably most of the day. She’d come down to maybe have a few pieces of dry food and a drink of water but that was it; she’d hop back up and lay down again.

Thinking she was just in a funk, I let her roam in the backyard a few times just to get some fresh air. She’d roam for a little bit then go and lay down in the sunlight.

We began to think this was the beginning of the end for her and tearfully started to talk to and reflect with her at night. We also took Anthony to the side and had the talk that no parent likes to have with their child. After all, Cindy was his “baby kitty” and nobody else’s. He seemed to understand in the best way his little brain could.

And because Cindy had a case of Sneaky Feet and would often try and sneak out the door, we had a collar with a bell on it to alert us of when she was trying to escape. But in order to let her rest a bit more comfortably, we removed it.

As the week went on, Cindy began to get noticeably thinner and had stopped jumping up to her little perch, finding comfort in a cardboard box in the kitchen that we had been meaning to throw out. It quickly became her bed, in which Anthony put one of his LEGO men inside to keep her company. She seldom left the box and when she did, had a hard time walking and stepping back into it.

Ann and I continued to talk to her nightly and scratch her belly, one of Cindy’s most favorite things in the world. She’d curl up and grab our hands as we did it knowing she was just enjoying the heck out of it. She’d purr in approval.

Then there was today when I watched Cindy sit up, try and lick herself and almost fall over. I then called the vet and made an appointment for her.

And here’s the part of the blog post that you might want to skip.

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