Fabulous, Gentle Sid.
Last October, Sid moved in with me. I did a post about this.
He originally belonged to a neighbor but when she moved…she left Sid. Days passed before I realized this, and I was horrified to discover that Sid had not eaten since she left. I ran across the street to give him food and water.
Another neighbor took him but, several years later, when she moved, she also abandoned Sid and days elapsed before I realized this. Once again, I darted across the street with food and water before I was able to coax Sid to live in my front yard.
Each winter I would make a house for Sid, and he would snuggle in every night. In the morning I would find one or two more cats snuggled in with him.
Last October, Sid injured a leg, and he then became a indoor cat. He loved being an indoor kitty. Loved it. Had I know about his impeccable litter box manners I would have taken him in previously!
His leg got better but he never walked quite right again. It was also during this period that I realized that Sid was a very old cat, and he was a stark contrast to the youthful antics of Gray and New Kitty. In short, Sid slept a lot.
During the summer he spent his days in my fenced side yard with all my other kitties. He was the most unaggressive cat I have ever known, so he bothered nobody and nobody bothered I’m.
And life went on.
Very late at night, when I finally finish all my work, I have an adored ritual. I break out the wine, pour some into a scandalously expensive fine crystal glass (I love the tactile feeling of good crystal), sit at my desk with the wine and some warmed cheese, and watch part of a movie.
Without fail, Sid would hop up to the corner of my desk, and furtively edge ever closer to the cheese, hoping I did not notice.
Then, I would, without looking at him, drop a tiny bit of cheese on the desk, and then a second tiny bit a minute later. I did this as if I didn’t see him, so as to not give away his furtive disguise.
He loved this ritual.
Sid stayed in the back part of the house, my office and kitchen, while Gray and New Kitty sleep with me. Each morning, when I opened the kitchen door, Sid would be waiting. I would give him a can of Fancy Feast, he would scarf it down, then amble in his slightly wobbly way back to the office and his box.
Every night around six Sid would get his Fancy Feast dinner. This, too, would be scarfed down.
About a month ago though Sid only finished about 80% of his breakfast. That night, he only ate about 80% of his dinner. Odd, I thought.
He did the same for the next several days. Then he started leaving more and more food on his plate, 70%, 60%…and then…then…he would only eat about 10%.
I have been through this before and recognized what was happening.
He also also stopped hopping on my desk for his cheese bits.
About twenty years ago, my friend Christina and I developed a new approach to the departure of one of our kitten or doggies.
Somehow, and I don’t recall how, we stopped using words like DIE or DEAD. No, when one of our precious peas departed it was announced that they had moved to Florida.
Moved to Florida.
Absurd, yes, but we both found this oddly satisfying. One of our beloved ones would not have, you know, DIED. No, it just moved to Florida. Our intellectual selves knew this was ridiculous, of course, but our emotional selves grasped at this tenuous explanation with a surprisingly eager tenacity.
Moved to Florida. If you repeat this enough times it proves kinda somewhat maybe a tiny bit plausible.
And broken hearts are easily deceived.
As I watched with apprehension Sid left ever-greater amounts of food on his plate.
I knew. Sid had entered his departure phase.
And with each day his body eroded just a bit more. And with each day he ate ever less.
I struggled with food options like baby food, soup-like cat food, and Fancy Feast wetted into soup. Sid though didn’t care. Some days he would eat nothing. The days when he would eat perhaps a teaspoon made my heart jump with joy.
He loved sleeping atop a heating duct in my office but then he could longer manage the 12-inch height.
Sid became the focus of my days. Each morning I would check on him right away. Was he still…here? Each evening as I returned from the big house I would go right to Sid. Was he still…here?
While I did all I could to make him comfortable, I decided not to, you know, intervene. It just didn’t feel right somehow. Sid did not seem in pain. Rather, he seemed—and I know this sounds odd—liked a very stoned 1960s hippie. He seemed really out-of-it but OK.
Until this morning. It was instantly obvious that Sid needed help getting to the departure gate. So, an appointment was made with the boarding terminal.
His flight took off at 1:50 this afternoon.
The intensity of my reaction surprised me.
I was teared up during the whole boarding process, and had trouble speaking. When I got into the car after Sid’s flight took off I burst into tears. I had not expected this. The car seemed so empty without Sid, who had been in my lap the twenty-minute ride to the airport.
I feel better now. New Kitty is asleep on my desk. And in three or four hours I will have some wine, cheese, and think about Sid enjoying the weather in Florida.
I expect postcards!
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