Saturday, May 3, 2008

Isabel Kitty, one year later

Every once in a while, things not related to sewing come up. A year ago yesterday, I lost my Isabel kitty and she's been on my mind all day.

Izzy was a challenging girl - she was a street cat, probably about 3 years old when we met, and I worked harder to bring her in than any cat since (and there have been a few since!). We met in May, 2001, and she didn't finally consent to be put in a carrier and taken home until nearly Thanksgiving. During that period, I fed her every day on my way to work, either cans of Super Supper or handfuls of dry food so that she would get used to being petted. I got a lot more punctual at work after she lived with me.

Once inside, she became the queen of the house. I had another female at the time, Lily, who still thinks she's in charge, but Izzy took over, no question. All the other cats catered to her, and she took well to any kittens who came through. One, Nicky, became her devoted minion and when she died last year, he licked all the fur off his right side. He's still not completely over her, but then neither am I. In a house with 11 other cats, you wouldn't think the loss of one would be felt so clearly, but Izzy left a big hole behind. Stands to order, since she had a big personality.

She used to hang out in the workroom with me, rambling around and sniffing at the bags of fabric, chasing the occasional thread spool when there were no other cats around to witness such undignified behavior, and curling up on the trunk under the window during nice weather. She was always welcome in there because she was so well behaved.

Izzy had a little grooming problem: she was the matt-cat. No matter how much she bathed, or how often the other cats groomed her, her fur always looked awful. She got matts and dreadlocks and just flat out nasty wads of fur that had to be cut out. Being brushed was one of the few things that made lose her temper with me. During those times, her nickname was Isabella Butthead.

It happened quickly when she got sick. She'd had dental problems in the past - the vet said a lot of street cats have them because of poor nutrition when they're young - and one day she started drooling. I thought it was another infected tooth and made an appointment for her, but the doctor called me at work and said that she had a tumor in the back of her mouth. They took a biopsy and sent her home. The next day, they called me at work and said that she had squamous cell carcinoma and because of where the tumor was located, it couldn't be removed without putting her through a lot of pain. She wouldn't be able to eat for weeks and would have to live at the vet on a feeding tube, and because it was a fast-growing type of cancer, they couldn't guarantee that they would be able to get it all and that she wouldn't go through all that for nothing.

I couldn't do that to her just because I didn't want to lose her. So my roommate and a friend went with me to the vet that night and we said goodbye to Isabel kitty. She purred right up to the end, knowing that she was a loved girl.

The house just isn't the same without her.

8 comments:

Claire said...

Karen, this is just a little post offering support and a cyber (((HUG))) of comfort.

Paula said...

What a nice tribute to your sweet kitty.

Lindsay T said...

Sniff from a fellow cat lover who knows what you went through/are going through. Beautiful cat. You were a good mama to ease her suffering.

Isabelle said...

Karen, this is so sad! Poor Izzy.

laura said...

It's never easy! I stayed with my Flash cat while the vet put him to sleep and tears just poured down my face. He'd been with us for 13 years (too young for a cat to die) but it took one month from being diagnosed with diabetes for him to go from an action packed kitty to a stumbling dying cat. He was our lttle pimp (I don't know why we called him that) and we still miss him. But just remember, because of you the second half of that little girl's life was wonderful and some people don't even get that!

Rachelle said...

It's so hard to rescue a cat, only to lose them just a few years later. I'm sorry for your loss.

Gwen said...

I'm so sorry that you lost Isabel - she sounds like she was an integral part of your home, your family and your life... Our family has always included cats, and I know how much love they can bring.
--Gwen

Kat said...

Karen, that is so sad. But I look at it this way in that you had a number of happy years together and you saved her from a hard street life.