Friday, February 13, 2009
Feline Star Of Hot Rod Girls Save The World Dies
Last night we came home a little late as we often do. We ate our dinner and settled into a little bit of TV as we often do. I went into our bedroom to get a blanket from our bed so my wife and I could get cozy on the couch. Our cats, two identical, ten year old, long haired Main Coone sisters named Ella Fitzgerald and DeeDee Bridgewater, were sleeping on our bed as the often do. Ella is the "alpha" cat and besides being a great family friend, had inadvertently become one of the stars of my film Hot Rod Girls Save The World. She is a people lover and had a cuddly lap thing for actress J Maki (who played punk rock granny, Nell in the film). Every few minutes during filming J's scenes, Ella would sneak into the room and jump up onto J's lap. Rather than fight it- I decided Nell should have a cat (most Grannys do). Ella was a natural animal actress who loved all the attention. In one scene we had Nell (who's character is blind) pour milk for her kitty, unknowingly dumping milk all over the cats head. Ella loved it! She drank so much milk that day that she had the runs for two days after! Back to the present...as I slowly pulled the blanket corner out from under Ella, I noticed she flopped over and didn't complain at me for rearranging "her" bed as she normally does. She rolled upright and sat quietly with her eyes closed. I didn't think much of it and walked into the living room with the blanket. As I sat down next to my wife on the sofa, I noticed the lovely smell of cat piss coming up from the blanket. This is a rare occurrence in our home (thankfully). Ella has been sick for the last three months. The Vet said it was Feline Jaundice. Ella had no infection or kitty disease, but her liver was not working properly. No one knew why. The Vet assured us she would be weak, but not in any serious pain and we should just wait it out to see if she got better or not. She has been hanging in there. A week ago she was almost attacked by one of our dogs- which never happens in our house. Ella is quick and thinks she is a Pit Bull so our dogs (and the neighborhood dogs) leave her alone. After the near attack we kept her in our bedroom so the dogs would not bother her again. She slept alot and loved cuddling with my wife and I at night. She had trouble getting up on the sofa every so often, but had been eating regularly. We knew she was sick, but got used to pampering her just a little more than usual. After I dropped the first blanket in the washing machine, I went back into the bedroom to get another. I figured Ella had had the accident on the blanket because she was having trouble getting off the bed. As I walked in the room, I saw Ella, face down in the remaining blankets on the bed. She was having difficulty breathing. I reached down to pet her and she let out a desperate cat scream, a sound I had only heard from her when she was a kitten getting her first flea bath. She was afraid. I sat down next to her and stoked her back. I called my wife who came running in with the kids. Ella let out another yowl. We knew she was dying. My wife grabbed a blanket and wrapped her up cradling her to comfort her and keep her warm. Ella relaxed but began gasping for breath. Her tongue was hanging out of her mouth. My wife started to cry, the kids started to cry, I started to cry. We talked about taking her to the Vet to have her put to sleep, but Ella really hated riding in the car and we didn't want to put her through that. I talked to her softly and I told the kids we have to tell Ella it's OK for her to go now. I told them she has to feel that we will be OK if she goes now. I have heard that many pets hang on to life past their "due date" because they are worried about leaving their family. They fear their family will not survive without them. I wanted to make sure Ella had our blessings to go in peace. Ellas eyes weren't blank and her head drooped lifeless. My wife continue to cradle her for forty minutes after her breathing stopped to make sure Ella had passed. I went outside with my son and dug a grave. We buried her in the cold winter ground saying a quick prayer before I covered her over. It is hard to measure the effect our pets have on us. I was amazed at how Ella seemed to wait until we were all there to say goodbye. She was a huge part of our lives for over ten years. She made us laugh when her and her sister would romp and play around the house. She made us worried when she followed my wife on a walk and got lost in the woods. She made us angry when she spontaneously attacked our dog Whisper, for no real reason. During my last depression- I would pick her up and her content purring would make me feel a little more content. I will miss our Ella. Goodnight my little bodhisattva kitty- Goodnight Ella cat..