Friday, June 08, 2007

Catalina Noble-Kaye Has Passed Away

This morning, well yesterday now, our eldest cat, friend, companion, Catalina passed away. We were weepy all day about our loss but not at all regretful about her time coming. She was a long-lived girl. Born June of 1989 and passing in this June of 2007, making her a nice, round, symmetrical, 18 years old. That's a full life, and boy! did she ever live one!

This cat has been on two islands, ridden on a boat, flown on a plane, driven in a truck across the USA. She'd seen a horse a few inches from her face, she's romped in snow that was taller than her in New York, she'd gotten her head stuck in a glass globe like an astronaut, on and on. Oh. boy, this cat's had some real adventures!

Everyday for the last few I'd been amazed to see her alive, how could she be when she was only living on a thimbleful of food, if that? Even so, when Paul saw her this morning laying neatly on a supple, soft, misty blue blanket near our bed, he knew it was finally over. We stared at her a long while, trying to grasp the entire little notion... of death. There it was in front of us for our first time.

Those who have lost pets, or more importantly loved ones (God forfend), already know what it's like, but we hadn't any experience with it before really. It took a while to have it sink in. We wrapped her in a beautiful, regal, black silk shroud, lay her in a comfortable box. Paul wrote her name on it while I pasted her photo on. Paul took her to a place that will manage the rest. If we had a yard of some kind in a safe area, we would have buried her ourselves. It was odd to all of a sudden understand more about funerals and loss in a primal, hard-wired way for the first time vs. a more cultural, sociological way as when friends have passed.

A reflection of candlelight on the surface of a recent photo on her little tabletop memorial today.
I got her on Catalina Island in the summer of 1989. She was an irresistible give-away kitten, so little and cute. Don't you agree?
On the left, Catalina, happy as an "only cat" on Long Island in 1993. When we got three other cats over the years she was not pleased about it at all. If a cat can be depressed, I'd say she was, often. Although, this year we saw her allowing a sort of napping friendship with the peacemaker, Jeremiah Noble -Kaye.
She had a playful nature and was often silly when happy. On the right you see her about to pounce on that wild mouse--I mean piece of wire.
When I married Paul, I officially gave Catalina to him, (there was no use keeping those two lovers apart) This is his favorite photo of her.
While cleaning up today, I realized something wonderful. When we moved in to this loft four years ago and painted the floors, Catalina decided she would walk across it before the paint was dry. So, while she is truly gone from our home today, her little paw prints remain like a trace of her presence here. How lovely a comfort it is.
The last several weeks, perhaps into months, I've been able to spend a lot of time with Catalina. She'd transformed into a much more loving, sweet, and affectionate cat in her last few weeks. I was able to spend many hours, several minutes at a time, cuddling, kissing, and reminiscing with her about her wild adventures, coaxing her to eat a little something and to purr.

Paul and I were allowed a great deal of time to prepare ourselves for our friend and housemate to leave this life. She'd stopped eating much for weeks, then nothing at all. Finally, in the last couple days she could no longer manage to drink, even though we could tell that she wished to. Her body, after a full long life for any cat, was giving way.

We'd never experienced this before, this watching someone, albeit not a human, pass away essentially from old age, regardless of whatever else she had going on. We watched her body shutting itself down very gently and slowly, having to see her so slight and light that picking her up felt more like we were holding a dried baby bird rather than a robust cat.

If cat's can have personalities, then Catalina's was all about her dignity (that's why she liked Paul better than me). We hoped to be able to give her a painless, comforting, loving transition from her life by keeping her here with us without medical care. We questioned whether she was suffering frequently but saw no such indication of discomfort or stress aside from her having to experience the decline of the natural dying process overall.

I can say that she died with great dignity, nobility, and strength to her last moment. It was an enlightening and graceful experience for us to witness, one that we'll always be grateful to her for giving us, at her end.

God bless.

15 comments:

  1. Reading that brought a Tear to my Eye but I know that she will never be gone and always in your Hearts and her Paw on the Floor!

    I can certainly Guess that she Inspired Bosq, and that yarn she was sitting in looked like the colours of Bosq's Mat too!

    RIP Miss Catty
    -Ben

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  2. aw, shelley. i feel your sadness and gratitude you were able to spend such a long life with your kitty. thank you for writing about her life and her death.

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  3. Yes, thanks for sharing Shelley, I enjoyed reading about her life.
    My family dog was picked up around the same time, in '89, and is also on her last leg, my poor Poopie. My mom told me today that the vet wants to put her on pain killers, so it looks like she may have to be put down :( I always said I'd never let that happen, but we don't want to see her in pain, and painkillers will probably just make her walking-dead, she's already blind and deaf....we're going to try them anyway though....

    Its nice that you got to spend so much time with Catalina before she passed. I have no doubt that she was one of the happiest kitties alive, living under your roof(s). And not just for the primo catnip :)

    hugs

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  4. jeane goes w/Clare4:06 PM

    sweetness indeed - thanks for sharing. Oh my, no more scrambling across the floor above us????
    Sweet memories

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  5. Aw, so sorry to hear it! It's a very sad thing to lose a longtime pet. Sounds like she went quietly and peacefully though.

    I'm sure you'll keep her memory alive.

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  6. Well remembered, Shells.

    Blessings and comfort to the rest of the family, too.

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  7. good life!


    jriggity

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  8. I'm so sorry for your loss.

    I am more of a dog person, and I know with a dog it is lucky indeed if you don't need to have your vet help, at the end. A peaceful departure, without suffering, is the exception, not the rule.

    At least with our pets we can get help for them. That was one of the thoughts I had when my first dog had to be put down (at almost 16.5). For people, the end can be so much scarier and protracted......

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  9. got all misty this morning reading your heartfelt post... bless you in this time of grief and remembrance.

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  10. Sorry to hear of your loss, sounds like your time together was great and left you with some wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing a few of them. My condolences to you and Paul both.

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  11. Gosh, everyone, thank you so much for writing. This is a kind group of people indeed. Your kindness is so appreciated. It makes all the difference hearing from good people this.

    Ben
    Gretchin
    Jeffery
    Jean (nope, you'll still hear the other three galloping!)
    Mike
    Sven
    Justin
    I Need Orange
    T Reid
    Mark

    Thank you all for your messages of comfort. To those having to go through loss, my heart goes out to you too. To those that were touched, thank you so much for saying that, it meant so much.

    To everyone reading, thank you for your supprt in life.

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  12. So sorry to hear about your loss. What a lovely tribute to a lovely creature.

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  13. Thanks so much, Robert.

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  14. mary ann6:22 PM

    having gone through this MANY times over the years - losing a cat to illness or old age - i can really appreciate your experience. when you have a pet that long there is a deep impact. I'd say Miss Catalina Noble Kaye had a righteous death.

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  15. Truly appreciated, mary ann, thank you.

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