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May 13th, 2009

Dante Requiem


This morning our cat, Dante, passed away. She'd been trying for weeks, I think. At 10:15 this morning the vet gave her the injection. An overdose of anesthetic courses through her veins. The vet had to try both of her front legs to get a good injection site. Her blood pressure was that low. The vet told us that the cat would probably convulse, loose her bowels or pee on the blanket, and make one last breath-like movement but that she wouldn't be aware of it, because she was just going to fall asleep.


For the first time in a month the cat just relaxed. She put her head on her paws and simply stopped. She didn't even close her eyes. I asked the vet to close them. I couldn't look at her with her eyes open. They bothered me. They still shone in that way cats' eyes shine, but there was nothing there any more.

Last night the cat tried to jump off of our second-story patio. When I stopped her she tried again on the other side, against the house where a small cat-sized ledge of bricks would take her to nowhere. She had never tried to take that route. We had seen other cats, younger cats, walking along the brick from patio to patio, but Dante never braved it. She lost the strength to jump on the furniture weeks ago. She stopped cleaning herself. She took to hiding in the back of our office closet, which was as far away as she could get. She was looking for a quiet place to die. We opened the door so we could keep an eye on her, and she looked for other routes.

This morning we didn't eat breakfast. I held the cat in my arms, she always hated it but she stopped fighting it a long time ago. We toured the house. Her bed that she slept in. Her bed that she shared with us. The office where she hid. The small concrete patio we called her great outdoors. Then I put her in a box and carried her to the car.

Last night, her last night with us, I picked her up. She had lost over half her body weight and was down to five and a half pounds. She sat like a log between my knees and fell over. She had been doing that a lot lately, too. She struggled to keep herself upright.

At the vet she finally relaxed. She finally found peace. I think she would have closed her eyes had she the time, but she didn't. Her head just lowered like a deflating air mattress. Her heart stopped within a minute.

Then we came home. We had tried so many times to get her to eat, there were bowls and plates all over. The apartment is empty enough without her. The scratching board and litter box are too much to look at. I had to take them out.

I want to remember her as she was, pushy and demanding, meowing all the time and scratching at anything to get our attention. I want to feel her full weight on my arm as I fall asleep tonight. I want to wake up with her curled against my chest, her head on my pillow, her bitching meow for disturbing her when I wake up.

She won't be there.

We have messes to clean up, carpets to shampoo, a life that has been on hold and needs to get moving again.

And all I can see is her head dropping slowly, with more grace than she ever really had. I think she was getting impatient with us. I told Stephanie that the cat would let us know, and she did.

She was a good cat. She bossed around a few dogs in her day, and kept a kitten in line. She lived with Stephanie for seventeen years. I lived eight of those years with her in this apartment. She hissed and friends and family alike.

Outside, it is raining and cold and it's not as miserable as I want it to be. The recycling is full and we have more to take out.

The dishwasher is cleaning the last of her dishes. We will save the food dish, and the catnip wanton Stephanie made for her, and a hair tie that was her favorite toy of all. The vet made a clay impression of her paws, and that is in the oven cooling. When we get her ashes next week, we will add them to the small display to remember our pet by.


Goodnight, sweet Basement Cat. U Can Haz Cheezburger Now.


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