Yesterday was a sad day. My beloved pet cat Diva lost her struggle with kidney failure, and had to be put to sleep. The vet, Dr. Kris Park, was so kind and gentle. I was a sobbing, soggy mess. After 18 years, my dear, darling sweet adorable special kitty was gone. Even writing this sentence has caused me to well up in tears again.
Everyone thinks their pet is special. And Diva was. She was a gift from a roommate; only five weeks old when she came to live with me. The day she arrived, we placed her on the floor to introduce her to Oberon, who was only just slightly older. She puffed up, hissed, and pasted him right in the teeth. She was in charge, and remained so the rest of her life.
She regressed slightly her first week with us, and I had to bottle feed her for a week or so until she caught up again. You have no idea how adorable a bottle-feeding siamese kitten is. She was tiny her whole life.
She loved everybody, and thought that every lap was a place for her to be adored. But she was also a one-man cat. Given the choice, it was my lap or shoulder she wanted. If I was working, and not paying attention, she would sit on my lap between me and the computer keyboard and stare up at me until I paid attention to her. She slept on the bed with us most nights, and if it was particularly cold, would burrow under the blankets.
Except for the last few months of her life, she retained a kitten-ish playfulness. She had a comment about everything. It did not matter how long I had been gone from the house; to get the mail or on a conference for a week; she had to tell me about her day. She was a champion purr-er. She was the Chief Inspector of Warm Laundry. And even though she was thoroughly domesticated (she did not really like the outdoors), there was always something just slightly mysterious in her beautiful blue eyes that belied her wild origins.
Our human hearts and souls are sometimes tough and hard. One small, three-pound cat managed to worm her way into mine, and spent her life there. They really never ask for anything much; to be fed, a warm place to sleep, clean litter pan, ear skritches and belly rubs, and when the time comes, the strength to know when it is time to let them go quietly and mercifully. The last bit is the part that breaks your heart. My heart will heal, mostly, and I will always be grateful for 18 amazing years with this little ball of fur. I'll miss you forever, Princess Kitty!
Update 11/18/12. Diva's older 'brother' Oberon has now also left this world and gone to the next. See the post above.