How do we know when it is the last good day? We most often don’t, until that day has already passed. Then, if we can see clearly, if we can look back and say, “That Tuesday, the one in August when the sun was shining but the humidity was low, and it was only in the low 80’s.”
That was the last good day.
Today, we take a break from all things pandas, and say goodbye to the real star of Zoonooz, Mehitabel, leader and enforcer of the panda kindergarten. She was the best of cats, from the day she was a tiny kitten, known as Mehitabel, stop that!!!!! She was approaching her 21st birthday, and so owed nothing more to me, her most devoted servant.
She’d been slowing down in the past couple of years, but it wasn’t until she passed her 19th birthday that she could no longer jump up to the bathroom counter, or the counter in the studio, where I fed her, and so had to start feeding her on the floor. Since then, it’s been a kind of gradual downhill slide, until finally this fall, it became less gradual.
But when do you say enough? I already knew that I was not going to subject her to invasive tests or surgery, or stuffing pills down her throat. As long as she was eating and drinking, and didn’t seem to be in real discomfort, I decided to keep her going.
But her world was getting smaller. She didn’t want to go outside as much, and I had to keep her out of some parts of the house because she was starting to get a little confused. She could no longer jump up to the drawing table in the upstairs studio, where she supervised me in my panda satire work, from her comfortable cushion at one end of the table.
In the end, I probably let her go on a bit too long. Last night she had a prolonged bout of gasping for breath, a symptom which had started a couple months ago, very sporadically at first, and then daily, but still for very short periods of time. Neither of us got much sleep last night, and when I woke up this morning, I made the decision to call her vet, and they said to bring her in.
We saw her vet, the wonderful Dr. Dave Parent of Useless Bay Animal Clinic, who had been her doctor since kitten hood. After examining her, he told me that it was time, and that by being brave and letting her go, I was doing the right thing for her.
She is in her final resting place, out in the wild part of the garden, behind the rhododendrons and the Katsura tree, in the shadow of the nurse log where huckleberries grow, and the birds gather to eat them. I think her ghostly self will like that. As she always used to tell me, “The brightly colored ones taste the best.”
Farewell Mehitabel. I know Jude and Annie C. are waiting for you just over the bridge.
In Memorial: Mehitabel 1996 – 2017
We’ll see you Friday, with a return to pandas.
Hug your cat now.
Bob T Panda