Monday, December 28, 2009

This is a picture of Edna when she was young. She died at 10:15 am on Saturday, December 26. She was at least 17 years old. She was a full-grown stray back in October 1993 when we took her in. She'd been living on Main Street for a couple of months, and Richie had been feeding her. He convinced me to take the beautiful cat who was always sitting on the front steps of his restaurant when we ate there. He said, that cat will never survive the winter. She wasn't wild cat material. I wrestled with the decision for a couple of weeks before going there one night, picking her up and telling her "sweetheart, this is your lucky day." I'd always liked cats, but never had one, and even now, I'm still more of a dog person.

Edna could turn you into a cat person, though. She was a Maine Coon Cat, beautiful, friendly and sweet. She had long hair and enormous green eyes. Not once in her life did she do something bad. At that time, I had two elderly dogs -- Howie and Penny -- and I wasn't sure how they would handle a cat. For two weeks I kept her on the front porch, and then slowly introduced her to inside. At first, when I wasn't home, I kept her in the office, which is the room I am in right now. Then we let her have free run, and there was never a problem with either of the dogs. She didn't scratch them, and they didn't chase her.

After Howie died, Edna was very upset. Then we adopted Rudy; she had to put up with an active puppy, which she did with great patience. Eventually, Rudy and Edna became great friends, and when he died she mourned him very deeply. After Penny died, we adopted Sophie -- who has never bothered cats at all, she's be a "0" on the cat reactive scale that shelters use. But four years ago, when we adopted Sam after Rudy died, once again Edna had to raise a puppy. Two years ago, she had to accept Ande - and she did. He loved her, and she tolerated, maybe even lukewarm liked - him.

Even as a young cat, she only rarely played, and when she did, it was always with a rubber band or twist tie - cat toys didn't interest her. She was a big, dignified cat. She didn't like cat treats, but she loved regular people food - even chicken parmesan - and barbeque potato chips. She only liked fish flavored cat food. A few years ago, after the pet food tragedy, I switched her to Wellness (could do an ad for them!). It had to be from the tiny 3 oz. cans - she wouldn't touch it if it was scooped from a larger can. (I even tried fooling her by using a small can as a "cookie cutter," but she didn't buy it.)

She loved salmon, the kind that comes in a foil pouch. She also loved tuna, but I didn't give it to her often, due to the mercury. She never required grooming or nail cutting until she was quite old. She rode loose in the car (but often got car sick). She went outside nearly every day in the good weather, and occasionally in the winter, never went too far from the house, and came when she was called. She was able to jump quite high until just a few weeks ago.

She got a few mice in her lifetime (and a chipmunk over the summer!), and years ago, one bird (the only time I was truly mad at her). She spent most of her time in the kitchen, rarely venturing into other rooms of the house, especially in recent years. I let her get on the table, and that became her favorite place.

She declined gradually for the past few months, and then more dramatically for the past month. She was quite sick for a week before she died. I suspect she had cancer, since the tests she had on Tuesday didn't show kidney or heart problems...they showed anemia. She had lost weight - went down from nearly 13 pounds to just under 9. It wasn't easy to tell because she was so fluffy. Her last night was not pleasant, although except for a couple of episodes and the last five minutes, she was comfortable. Ande spent several hours laying right beside her, it was very sweet of him. She died in front of the fireplace in Samsonville. We had spent the night on our sofabed, so we could be near her all night.

On Saturday afternoon, we buried her next to Rudy. There was a snow cover and it was a drizzly day, but we managed. Back home in Castleton, the house seems so odd, the kitchen in particular. She was always there - on the table - begging for the food she loved to eat. What a sweetheart she was; that October day back in 1993 was not just her lucky day, but mine.

Ande is very upset. I suppose he will adjust eventually, but it is hard to handle. Because of her age - how much longer can you expect a cat to live, even one who has had a remarkably healthy life? - it isn't as difficult to accept, plus I didn't want her to suffer, but it still is very, very sad. How I will miss her! RIP my dear Edna. I won't forget you.

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