Our cat, Arista, the fourth member of our family of three, as much a sibling as our only child will know, died last night.
We are all sad today.
We noticed she, curled up in a corner of the house, had been panting labouriously and fast, as if not enough air was reaching her lungs. In obvious distress, I tried to massage her, to feel if anything was perhaps lodged in her windpipe, but found nothing but a distressing cack on each short breath. I lifted her and took her to her water dish, but she’d have none of it. She went to her litter box and did some business of the solid sort (which we thought may have been the problem, but still the breath was not coming easily). She wandered off (with us following) to another, darker corner of the house, as if she wanted to be alone to deal with this troubling annoyance by herself.
Petting and comforting her was doing nothing but apparently annoying her, and she wandered away again. This time to behind the couch, a sure sign of "leave me alone". She couldn’t be left alone, though, when she started meowing painful, mournful meowings. Pulled the couch out and picked her up. Now her breathing was labourious and was beginning to sound phlegmy. Not a good sign. Nor a good sign when liquidy discharge started to come out of her mouth.
We called the vet (this was at 9:30 at night) and told the symptoms and he said he’d meet us at the clinic. Karyn went by herself, I stayed home with Cameron.
She arrived home about half an hour later. Not good. The vet would give Arista oxygen and call us with updates. Cameron was, by this time, in bed.
Phone call another half hour later. The vet was giving the cat oxygen, but it wasn’t doing much.. He believed Arista had suffered a heart attack. Also, there was substantial liquid forming in her lungs. Perhaps, surmised the vet, she had taken some poison? None that we were aware of.
As we were wondering what the next step should be, the vet says "hold on, she stopped moving". When he came back on the phone, he told us Arista had died.
I was the one who told Cameron this morning, and that wasn’t much fun. She was the only pet Cameron had had. He was the one who picked her out at the Shelter, when he was three or four years old. He was the one who decided upon the name. Immediately, she was house-trained, and a great addition to the family. She played games with Cameron when he (or she) was bored, like Hide and Seek and Eat My Hair (don’t ask). She was devoutly jealous of almost every one of Cameron’s friends, and would take every opportunity to hiss at them whenever they were occupying his time. Those were the only times she’d show any hint of a negative attitude.
I’ll miss those nights when I was falling asleep, Arista would jump up on my side of our bed and curl up beside me for five or ten minutes before heading off to her other nightly pursuits, and those countless times she’d curl up beside me on the couch and we’d watch TV together.
She was a great cat. We’ll miss her.