Goodbye Blackie…

She was my little snuggler, cuddling up against me and pushing her head into my armpit. She would burrow alongside me in the morning; a warm, purring ball of contentment under the sheets. She was boundless curiosity, always looking around her, wanting to see everything. She was gentleness, taking Lara under her wing when Lara was a kitten, even letting Lara pretend to breastfeed on her (despite her baffled confusion over where a kitten had come from). And then she was gone. She quietly passed away at her euthanasia appointment on August 29th while Colin pet her, and I entered my payment information in the little machine, and the vet collected the euthanasia solution. I’m so glad Colin was petting her.

Blackie just a smidge over a month before she died

We’d been looking for an adult cat when we adopted her. In fact I’d been following the shelter volunteer to the rear of the cat room to view the older cats when Kait called out to me.

“Mom! Mom! She licked my nose! Can we get her?”

I walked back just in time to see this little fluffball of a black kitten lean against the bars to lick Kait’s nose again and to hear Kait giggle.

“Wait!” the volunteer said as she hurried behind, “those aren’t are senior cats oh-” her voice pitched slightly higher, “you want one of our black cats. Let me get the key.”

And within fifteen minutes we were out the door with Blackie and on our way for her to meet her slightly older sister Angel.

And speaking of which, apparently the blog post that I wrote and deleted (and wrote and deleted) never got finished and posted. Angel, her slightly older sister passed away, in Colin’s arms, on the way to her euthanasia appointment on the last day of May. This post can be for both of them.

Blackie was an absolute sweetheart of a cat. If you wanted a kitty to snuggle, she was your girl. And she’d lick your nose too while she was at it. She loved my days off because she could burrow under the covers and snuggle against my tummy. Meanwhile I lay there thinking –

must . not . squash . the . cat

Of course everyone gets older. Blackie’s eyes fogged, she needed most of her teeth yanked, she started yowling at the shower wall, she lost a bunch of weight. I have laminate flooring so sometimes she’d end up slipping like she was “Bambi on ice”. Through it all she remained alert and cuddly. Then we got to the last weekend in August and everything fell apart. She wasn’t eating or drinking, not even her absolutely favourite food, and when she fell, she wasn’t slipping, she was literally toppling over sideways.

When Blackie yelled in the shower stall I’d cheerfully ask, “Are you yowling into the void again?” because she was fine, there was no fear or pain in her voice. This time I’d just sat down at my computer and she started crying. I bolted to the washroom because she was scared and in pain. I found her lying in a puddle of her own urine at the base of the toilet. I gave her a quick sink bath and put her down as soon as she wanted, then she commenced staggering in a drunken lope without a break, just pacing around and around. By Sunday night she could no longer walk, Monday morning her appointment was made, then Colin packed and headed over. Soon after he arrived he carried her across to the vet and, well, I’ve already written about that.

Angel was only 7 months older than Blackie and a completely spontaneous adoption. We’d gone into the pet supply store across the street for our then cat Pumpkin when the kids saw the play structure full of kittens. They immediately wanted one and, if they pooled their money together, they could afford one. I knew I’d be paying the bulk of money for this cat as they wouldn’t be buying food or kitty litter or paying for vet bills but they were twisting my rubber arm.

Once again it was Kait who found the kitten… or the kitten found her. She was trying to nuzzle and rub against Kait through the mesh of the play structure. At first the cashier was claiming that Angel was a year and a half old queen who’d just weaned a litter of kittens. I looked at the cashier like she’d lost her freaking mind and showed her Angel’s nipples which were hardly bigger than grains of sand. There was no way she’d nursed anyone out of those! A quick phone call confirmed who was who. Soon I was filling out all the paperwork and then Angel was safely home.

I don’t think Angel realized she was a cat, I’m pretty sure she thought she was a person. She didn’t particularly like cats although she managed to tolerate Blackie and Lara. Angel loved her people though. I remember checking in on Kait one night before I went to bed and her pillow was furry and purred. Both Angel and Kait seemed content so I let them be. The next morning Kait sleepily informed me that Angel had wriggled her way under Kait’s head. Angel took snuggling to new levels.

Angel was the softest and floppiest cat I’ve ever seen. I’d pick her up and she’d simply go limp. Colin used to drape her around his shoulders and use her as a scarf. I think she was part ragdoll.

As for me, I called her my little snuggle buddy. She’d cuddle up against me every day and often go to sleep using my hand as a pillow. Losing that was hard, a “something’s missing” moment then a realization of who exactly I’m missing.

When we brought our cats home it was with the idea this was going to be their “forever home”. But that’s impossible, there is no forever home for anyone. In the end we all have to say goodbye. When I’m faced with such innocence, kindness, and unconditional love, I can’t help but wish I could have kept them, healthy and happy, for many years to come.

Goodbye Blackie and Angel. You are always loved and you’ll be forever missed.

This is Angel in May 2022 hoping for treats (which she indeed received)
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