June 2021
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Goodbye to my Tabitha

(Spoiler alert: I’m dusting off the ol’ blog to let you know about the passing of my beloved cat, Tabitha. This is a total bummer of a post. You have been warned.)

Nothing good ever came out of the phrase “can I talk to you in the hall for a minute?” Monday was no exception. I was getting ready for a flight to Canada, and Lilian was hanging out with me in our room. Kristian stepped out into the hall with me, but he didn’t have to say anything. I already knew it. My cat, Tabitha, was dead.

She hadn’t been doing well for the past year or so. She was peeing all over the house, and she suddenly seemed really, really old (she was about 14). We spent a lot of money on vet visits and blood tests, and they finally figured out she had hyperthyroid-ism. Getting her thyroid levels under control seemed to make a difference, but she was still peeing all over the place. We moved her up to the third floor to minimize the damage. She started declining again. And then she really started to go downhill. Sunday night, I told Kristian that I didn’t think she was doing very well. She was kindof listless, and she cried when I pet her. He was going to call the vet on Monday. But, well…

Kristian went upstairs to take a shower and he found her. She was curled up like she always slept, she looked really peaceful. I’m glad that she went peacefully. And I will be eternally grateful that Kristian didn’t have to make the difficult decision to put her down while I was away on business. It also made a real difference that I got a chance to pet her one last time and say goodbye to her. I picked her up and put her in a tote for Kristian to take to the vet (an Amazon box just seemed to un-dignified). I told her that she was a good cat. I told her that I loved her. And then I had to get on a plane and go do my job.

This is what I wrote about Tabitha on Facebook:

My cat, Tabitha, died last night. I got her when she was a tiny kitten and I was a junior in college. [My friend Vicki] said that she would see me through a lot of major milestones, and she was right. Tabitha was there for bad breakups, new jobs, moves, and all of the bumps and bruises that come from being in your early twenties and having no idea what the fuck you are doing. I knew Kristian was a keeper when he met her for the first time and helped her with some sensitive grooming. I used to joke that having a cat meant never drinking alone, but Tabitha was the buddy I came home to instead of a tiny, cold apartment. She was there when I got married. She was there when I had Lilian. I almost can’t believe she won’t be there anymore. She had a rough time of it this past year. Part of me is glad that she died peacefully before her quality of life went way down. But I’m gonna miss my little companion. Even when she was crotchety, old, and slightly incontinent I still loved her. RIP.

I thought that maybe people would think I was being overly dramatic about a cat, but I was completely overwhelmed with love and support from my friends. It brought real comfort to me that so many of them remembered her so fondly.

Poor Kristian had to deal with all of the aftermath on his own. He brought her to the vet to be cremated. He had to pick out the box that they are going to give her back in. We elected to wait to tell Lilian until I get back, but he’s spent all week knowing that he’s going to have a very difficult conversation on her hands if she notices that Tabitha is gone and asks him about it. Tabitha spent half her time hiding under the bed upstairs, so Lilian might not notice. Fingers crossed that I can be there to tell her with Kristian tomorrow.

I’ve listened to this podcast, so I know it might not be her we get back. Or all of her. Or just her. But I also know that I need more closure than the few tears I shed before I had to pull my shit together and get to the airport. So, we’ll bury her remains in the backyard this spring and have a little ceremony for her. Tabitha was a special cat. She was my cat. And I don’t think I’ll ever have another cat as special to me as she was.

After all of that, I got to Canada and Immigrations decided that all of the paperwork that has been perfectly sufficient for all of our previous visits was not enough. I honestly think that the look of “holy fuck my cat just died, I can’t believe you’re going to send me home” on my face is what made him decide to let me into the country instead of putting me on the next plane back home. I did manage to get a lot done this week. And then they boarded my plane home while I was in the bathroom and I got stuck here for another night (the story of how that happened probably deserves an entire post of its own).

You have to laugh or you’d cry, right?

(I may or may not be crying in my hotel room right now).

This week has put me through the ringer. And now I have to get up at 4am tomorrow, fly home, and help Kristian tell Lilian that our cat is dead. Facebook tells me that three-year-olds are pretty oblivious about this stuff. I’m really hoping that she is oblivious about this. At any rate, I am very much looking forward to getting home to her and Kristian. Who has been amazing this week. And who took the news that he’d be solo parenting for another 12 hours with a lot more aplomb than I would have. Even on one of the shittiest weeks I can remember, he still makes me feel lucky. For that, I should be grateful.

(I’m mostly grateful.).

(But fuuuuuuuck this week has sucked.)

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