Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This afternoon our sweet Parceiro knew it was time to let go. After the long road we've been on, he had a heart attack at the vet's office, and died in Rico's arms. We are unspeakably sad, but take comfort in the fact that Parceiro is no longer suffering.
We thought he was doing better. He made it through the night, and woke up this morning meowing and howling and complaining about his pain. Rico and I thought this was a good sign, as it meant he was reactive and had some energy to spare. Rico took Parceiro to the vet for a consult at 9am, and while his bladder was pretty full, it wasn't necessary to do a catheter or give him anesthesia again (he'd already had 5 doses since Sunday). Rico took him home, with instructions to come back at 6pm for another checkup and an enema.
After the trip to the vet, Rico met me at the coffee shop downstairs from my office for some juice and a sandwich. Things seemed normal. We chatted. We talked about how grateful we were that our Gray Baby was going to be okay.
A few hours later, Rico called me, his voice full of worry. He said Parceiro was purring softly, and making subtle torties (what we call that kneading cats do - a derivative of making tortillas, from my childhood). Rico said it seemed different from the purring Parceiro had done on Sunday in the throes of the blockage, but wasn't sure. We decided just to keep an eye on our boy, to see if there were any other signs that he was getting worse. A while later, Rico noticed Parceiro's back legs seemed like they were giving out when he tried to walk. He knew it was time to go back to the vet.
It was time. Parceiro knew. His little heart gave out while on the clinic table. He had seizures, and the vet did CPR (brining him back several times), but it was just too much. He let go while in Rico's arms, knowing that he was surrounded by people that loved and cared for him.
Rico came to my office to tell me, and I burst into tears. It was all so surreal. Sunday, when we first thought we were going to lose our Gato Gray, seems light-years away. Thankfully my boss understands what it means to have a pet you love very much pass away, and he let me go home for the rest of the day.
Rico and I cried - and continue to cry - over the loss of our boy. The flat seems empty. I feel lost, overcome with grief. Perhaps one of the worst parts of this is that Pria and Parceiro were so close. I don't think poor Pria fully understands what has happened yet, and I'm worried about the effect losing his brother will have on him.
Still, while there is a gaping hole in our hearts, the flat is still full of Parceiro's spirit and reminders of the good times we had together. For someone who started out life in a plastic bag in a dumpster in Maputo, I think he had a pretty delicious run.
We will always remember Parceiro for being the sweetest cat to grace our lives. He was a true companion, companheiro, following us around and always eager to curl up in a lap or in the bend of a knee. One of my favorite things to do was pile onto the single bed in our guest room - me, Rico and Parceiro - all cuddled up together with him doing endless torties on the soft parts of my stomach, or on the fleece blanket we'd use to cover ourselves on chilly nights.
Parceiro had such a love for fleece. It was like a beacon, calling him to make torties. He'd sit and knead, a look of complete ecstacy on his little face, eyes half-shut in pleasure.
We used to call him Meiote, a funny nickname that came from the fact that Parceiro's favorite spot to sleep was shoved inbetween me and Rico, no matter how small the space. Every night he'd come searching for his meio, his middle spot. He was our Filhote Meiote, our baby-cat who loved his nest.
He also loved toilet paper, and between Parceiro scrabbling the entire roll whenever given the opportunity, and Pria opening the bathroom door, we had to switch the lever knob for a round one so the boys couldn't do their damage.
Parceiro and Pria had a beautiful relationship, having started life at the bottom of the bin and surviving because of each other. When our friend Brooke first found them as kittens, Parceiro had managed to chew a hole in the plastic bag where they'd been tossed out to die, and had made it onto the ground outside the bin. But what caught Brooke's attention as she walked by was an insistent mewling. It was Pria, still in the bag, crying out for someone to save them.
They had a special connceciton from the very beginning. The would play together, friendly tail-chasing sessions frequently turning into full-on feline jiu-jitsu, madly tumbling around the carpet and scrambling across the house like they were posessed. The jiu-jitsu would then turn into grooming, as if someone had flipped a switch. The would lick each other's faces simultaneously, grooming each other with much love until the switch would go again and it would be back to the wrestling on the rug.
Parceiro had the sweetest meow. It was like "maow-maow! maow-maow!", cute and high-pitched, while Pria has an ambulance drone of a meow, one you simply can't ignore. Parceiro loved stretching out in the sun, cramping himself into boxes, lounging on the sofa next to me or Rico while we worked. He was an incredibly sweet boy. He will truly be missed.
While we are grieving Parceiro, our worry is also with Pria. We are concerned about what her reaction will be once she realizes that her companion is gone. We think that, once we've had a chance to grieve and once Pria has ahd a chance to realize what the situation is, we will start to look for a new kitten. Companionship is good, even if it might start off a bit rocky. A new kitty will not be a substitute for our Gato Gray, but it will help to heal the void in our hearts and lives.
Parceiro brought us immense joy and happiness. He was one of the reasons I looked forward to waking up every morning, and coming home each night. He was our beautiful gray baby, and will forever be remembered fondly. We are going to do a small ceremony with his ashes. Rico and I will go to the seaside and prepare a farewell care package for our boy. We will put some toilet paper, a canned food treat and a square off one of our fleece blankets in a small paper package - all of Parceiro's favorite things. We will put our gray baby to rest at sea with everything he loved so much in life. I hope it bring us come closure and some peace. I hope Parceiro is looking over us, knowing he will be present always in our lives.
I loved him dearly, and miss him with all my heart. I hope he is in a better place, and am grateful that he chose to go on his own. It was time, and if he knew it, then we must accept it.
Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers. They were greatly appreciated, and I am sure they helped make Parceiro more comfortable in his last days.