End of a journey- They come and then they go

What a sad day today. I just buried my 18 year old Cat Rioja.

She was with me for over 18 years. She very well might have even been a bit older. As i found her sitting at a print shop eons ago. Late night press run, me smoking a cigarette out the back door and this scrawny thing comes up to me. Saying HEY! take me home. Which i did.

I remember that night explicitly. How i had to continue the press run with a cat in my arms. How i realized she didn't breathe correctly. Later finding out she had a diaphramatic hernia. And something she was probably born with. And then a few months later finding out she was pregnant. Never figuring out till i rushed to the vet that that THING coming out of her tail was a sack of kittens. And vet calling me asking me which to save. The cat? or the kittens? My crying and thinking can't you save them all? I guess the hernia was too large she couldn't push they would have to do a C-section and all that would just be too much. and the hernia. and a spay, aaah.

Then the phone call. the vet jubilantly telling me she performed the surgery of all surgeries. she opened her up. saved the babies, closed up the hernia and spayed her too, and she is alive and under oxygen. And stayed under oxygen at the vets for a month. Amazing to remember this all so vividly. And how i had to nurse those 4 kittens myself for weeks on end. With the help of my dog breeze. Remembering how this dog would lick those kittens while i fed. She licked. And then finally, the Miracle cat comes home.

Over the past 15 years Rio has been a wonderful addition to my home. Never once giving me another bit of issue. Never doing anything wrong. She moved with me 4 times and each time settling in and adjusting to whatever i brought home. And to wherever we lived. Always staying close to me. Followed me everywhere.

When i lived in Davie she would follow me to the barn, like a dog. She would sit and perch on the stall rafters, and stay there till it was time to come home. this was a public barn and it was a distance from the house. She would vigilantly follow us anywhere. I liked her. She wasn't a normal cat.

When we moved here she put up with sharing the house with all kinds of critters. And even this latest stinker. She didn't like company. Didn't like too many people. And she would hide in the funniest places. Never once a mean cat. She only liked me though. But always liked the chickens. or the dogs. Even the pig. Left the parrots alone. She put up with alot over the years. And looking back probably got the short end of the stick alot of the time. I'm not really a cat person. But she didn't care. Even now looking for photos i can only find a few. And they don't show her majestic-ness. I don't know why i called her Rioja. But over the years it turned to Reeree. And that is how the parrots called her. As they are doing right now. :(

Though i don't think it's a coincedence that my newest kitten came and now Rio is gone. I think she felt the time is now.She never liked her kittens. and she was truly a one cat house. I tried over the years but she just didn't warm up. Though she did a bit with max. Stinker has been here around 4 weeks

Rio has been ill for awhile. About 10 years ago she got mega colonI think a complication with the hernia surgery, and a few rushed vet visits later i learned how to help her manage it. And we did for the past 10 years. But i think this year her body just couldn't deal anymore. She started getting ill. And thinner. Eating was a chore. And I knew her time was measured.

you know? i never used a litter pan with her? she went in the toilet. Such a cool cat. And if the seat was down? in the sink or in the tub. Gross to some. but, better then a mistake on the carpet or wood floors.

Friday for the first time in ages she came outside and played in the yard with all the animals. She did the same thing on Saturday and Sunday. And slept out there too. She was just biding her time. But she played. And she meandered. I even found her under the palm tree way out back. They say they will do this when close to death. And she greeted my guests. Which she never did before. And she was friendly and rubbing up against them. And then i realized.

Today, i found her out back behind the barn. Near brandy. Just laying there. I caught her near her last breath, cradled her till she died, and said goodbye. My little girl Rioja. Rio. ReeRee .

She's gone.

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJuly 06, 2008

    Hey JoJo, you obviously love animals. I am sorry for your lost of Rio, my sister lost her cat of 21ys. 3 months last July about this time. She could have sent a kid to college on what she spent on that cat. But she would do it all over again. She found her on a farm, fighting dobermans for water, not much bigger than your hand in size. A bobtailed kitty, looked like your Rio. She too had many nicknames. LiLi the wondercat, wonder she is still alive. many yrs. of subcutaneous fluids. They said oh a yr. she might live. It was more like 5. Then seizures, maybe 6 months, two more yrs. Then a tumor appeared and then total breakdown ofher body. Their loving little minds go on, but then you have to let them go on to peace.
    Hey, congrats on being single, my sister and I are 40+ and single, no kids, down to one dog, and we chose this life and love it. I can identify with much of what you say, been there done that sort of deal. tammy


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