It started as a cough, I swear. I thought it was a cough, like the one she caught that time from Addy and we would be okay if we could only clear her lungs. I thought it was infectious and I watched them both.
Addy never got sick and Trixie kept getting sicker. Her cough turned into this ugly heaving wheezing. I just didn’t know how to get her to the vet. Trixie shrank further into herself, into my room. She didn’t start hiding until after College of Three Ravens. Then I had to coax her out and on some level it sank in then. I started praying. Let her pass next to me, if this is it. Let her die quiet in the night. But on another level I needed to believe it was something we could fix with a shot in the rear.
Which was what possessed me to take that 11:30 appointment down the vet’s this morning.
It says a lot that I was able to wrestle her into the cage from off the bed. (Oh, Lord, steal that memory from her little soul. That’s the part I can’t forgive myself.) She behaved in the office, even let them take an X-ray without too much trouble. But they had to take the X-ray because there was a chance she’d gone into heart failure.
There was so much fluid around her lungs they couldn’t even see her heart. She was almost fourteen; the other case they had right now was a cat of six, maybe seven. The rest of the diagnostics were hideously expensive, and if it turned out to be cancer, there would’ve been nothing we could do. And I told the doc how much I hated myself for not being Pittsford-rich, or even Mendon-rich. How much I wished I could afford it all. I asked her what to do next. I asked her for permission to do something I still am seeing as horribly efficient. But the doctor said it would be okay. That she wouldn’t make her own cat suffer, with the kind of fluid accumulation she was seeing.
With my boy it was so damned obvious. I hate when it’s not obvious.
If we were going to go home without a cat, we were not going to let her suffer. I wanted for Trixie to know some peace and some relief from her anxiety, severe as it had always been. I asked that they give her even a light sedative, if they weren’t okay with a strong one. She deserved those ten minutes bundled up in a blanket, calm breaths, surrounded by love. She deserved not to be scared of anything for once in her life. I gave her that much. When they came in with the blue stuff, I told them to shave a bit of her leg to get a clean look. Nobody’s going to fumble for my baby’s veins. Nobody’s going to hurt her by missing.
I kept my hands over her ribs. Halfway through the push I said, “She’s gone.” I felt her last breath leave her body.
I held her like I never could while she was alive. I cradled her all sausaged up like that, I kissed her pretty little head, and I gave her a hug. I handed her off as careful as if she were a child — which to me she had been, my sweet babeling. And still is.
I don’t know if her sister’s going to sleep in my bed. I don’t expect her to. So now I’ve lost my lapcat and my bedcat in the space of just about nine months. Addy might realize I need her. Or she might still be Rygel the Umpteenth. No way of knowing. The thing is I think Addy knew. I had to leave the carrier at the head of the stairs long enough to grab something. I don’t recall what. And I came back and Addy and Trixie were touching noses through the slats.
Fare thee well, my baby. I will see you again. You just stick with your brother until I do, okay?