Please No Threes

adopt animal wisdom cat cat wisdom Jan 02, 2024
Cat in the sun

Let’s start out the New Year right - with an obituary. Yeah, what everybody wants to do at the beginning of a year.

Torbie is the second cat we’ve lost in the last few months. It actually felt like Lynkx had just passed maybe a month before, but it turns out it was the end of August. Time goes by so fast.

After Lynkx passed, Torbie became our “elder”. We really don’t know how old she was. When Glenn adopted her they said she was five months old, but she never grew after we brought her home and it’s possible she was just a tiny girl who had lived under the stairs of an abandoned house longer than anyone knew. So she was at least 12, but could have been several years older.

I will help but touch me not.

This whole Glenn adopting her thing - if you’ve heard it before, you get to hear it again, because this little girl was destined to be with us. Glenn went to our local pet shop to pick up some food for our other animals (this was in Puyallup, Washington), and as he walked in he felt eyes on him. Glenn can be pretty resistant to small beings in cages - he’s not hard-hearted, just practical, and it’s a good thing because I’m a total mush and if it was up to me we’d probably have 20 cats. Anyway, he looks to his right and here’s this little slip of a kit giving him the “I’ve got eyes on you” look. I’m not sure he made it to the counter to pick up the food before he peeled off to see what this little cat was all about. 

It was literally love at first sight. Her name, the store people said, was Torbie, and she was found living underneath the front stairs of a house that had been abandoned, and with it, the cat. She was a tiny little tortoiseshell, and anyone who knows tortie’s knows they can be difficult. Very sensitive. 

Glenn came home with the food but without the cat, not wanting to set a precedent about bringing home a four-legged without consulting the other two-legged in the family (once again avoiding those 20 cats!). I was, of course, all for it, and we adopted her.

She was not an easy kitty. She was standoffish. She hated the other cats (that never changed). She didn’t like being petted. Heaven forbid you try to pick her up.

We did what we always do - we let her be herself, and we left the door to love, cuddles and all the perks of an indoor life wide open. Over time, she walked through that door. She became a lap cat. She had a purr bigger than two of her put together. She continued to growl and hiss at the other cats, but with us she was a total love bug.

My space. MINE.

The years passed. We moved back to Colorado and Torbie traveled in a container all her own because she really didn’t like anyone else. 

She was an indoor/outdoor cat, having lived so much of the first part of her life outside. She loved being in when the weather was lousy, but at the first sign of warmth, she’d want to go out for a couple hours in the evening. She (and Lynkx) were the only cats we let out after dark. The others muttered about this seemingly preferential treatment, but Torbie only went out when we were home and we felt fairly safe since we have a large fence surrounding part of our property that keeps out predators like coyotes.

She was a lethal hunter. Talk about murder mittens! When she’d go out in the evening she would invariably bring back a gift or two and lay them neatly on the welcome mat. We always told her how much that was appreciated, giving her lots of praise and love while grimacing (not in her direction) and scooping the bodies into a plastic bag for disposal.

I do not like you.

In the last couple of months she started not wanting to go outside. Her appetite became voracious but she lost weight. Blood tests and exams could not find anything obviously wrong, although it did look as though she had a slight infection. Our vet started her on some antibiotics, which unfortunately made her sick and throw up (literally hurl) once a day. Then our vet had an accident (which will put him out of commission for months), but despite the pain he was in this kind, kind man made sure he kept track of Torbie and adjusted her medication. A different antibiotic, injected, stabilized her nausea, but she continued to go downhill. Once she started down the slope, it went fast. She started to lose interest in food, her tummy looked and felt distended, there was obviously something wrong.

We hate seeing an animal suffer, but this one wanted to stay around for a while - more than one of my animal communicator friends told me that. I would have “pulled the plug” earlier if she had not been so adamant that she wanted more time. And during that time she was alert and snuggly, even going so far as to drag herself onto our bed to lay beside me. This was very near the end, and I think she was saying goodbye in her own way.

Then came the day when she said it was okay to let her go. Our vet’s office kept the office open late on a Friday so we could bring her in. We’re big proponents of in-home euthanasia, but there is no one locally that we feel comfortable with, and the people in our vets office were the closest thing to extended family this little cat had. It was okay to take her there. She didn’t fuss. She didn’t want to leave her carrier. She took her last breath snuggled deep in the carrier’s pillow, surrounded and touched by humans who loved her with all their heart. 

This one hit us both hard. It felt like it was right on the heels of Lynkx’s passing (although it was months), and she was such a special girl. There’s a huge hole in our furry family, first with Lynkx and now with Torbie. It seems strange to have only three cats. 

We’ll adopt more, but not now. It feels wrong. When the time is right, we’ll know, and the perfect additions to our family will appear. Lynkx and Torbie have both expressed an interest in spending another lifetime with us, and we’ll welcome them back gladly when they’re ready.

Hug your pets. You never know what will happen.

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