Monday, September 29, 2008

Mourning Niles

The end was horrible. He was in so much pain that the pains meds barely took the edge off. He growled with, not meowed, but growled, a low guttural cursing. In between cursing he would purr thickly as I rubbed and brushed his jaw and his head. While his tumor at the side of his neck grew back, as before surgery, it was not a source of apparent discomfort. This was shocking as wherever else the lymphoma was hitting, was not visible, but was devastating, robbing him of use of his tail and back end in a matter of days.

I had to fight, cajole to get the technician to come with the requisite forms. But as the print out had a code and line and charge for " technician home visit" yesterday's frantic search for someone to
relieve Niles of his wrenching pain was unnecessary stress. The vet hospital's resistance to my request that he be euthanized at home, because I can't bring him in, was just wrong. I knew from able-bodied friends that they had had their animals euthanized at home, and not because there were no other options. So it rankles, that I who have no other options, was initially denied a service that they clearly have and had available.

I played and sang the two Niles songs for him on the piano, and then My Romance, which he likes a lot and We'll be together again. A new ditty came to me to sing to him and this pleased me.

We were exiled by my inexplicable paralysis, at first from each other, for four agonizing months while I was hospitalized and then in rehab. And then finally together in a small apartment in another city while home was being made accessible. I am so grateful to him for hanging in there with me. He was used to space --an upstairs, a basement, a yard, a neighborhood to roam and that time in that awful apartment was hard for all of us, but we became closer. He was an aloof kitty who barely tolerated hugs. He changed into a cat who slept by my bed, talked to me, sought and gave affection. He helped me make it through the pain and loss. He helped us make it home again.

Returning home, he unfurled himself. He was large, handsome and in charge, facing down threats and intruders. It just hurts so much that he didn't have more years to munch his particular grasses, roam
the neighborhood, tell me which tunes he liked.

Obi, slender pointy cat, returned home when the technicians arrived. He stayed while Niles, big fluffy
cat, growled and hissed with pain, calmed, groaned, relented, sighed, died. Then Obi went back outside.

I am so grateful to have had such a sweet and funny companion and friend.

R. I. P. Niles 8 years, 1 month, 11 days

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