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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sad news on the Port Swiller Manor front: Early yesterday morning, the eldest of our three cats shuffled off this mortal coil.

She was nearly fifteen.  Apart from an unusual amount of yacking up this summah, which we attributed to hairballs, she’d seemed fine.  And her checkup in July revealed nothing out of the ordinary.  But a couple weeks ago, we realized that she’d suddenly lost a great deal of weight, and that instead of a brindled meatloaf, she’d become a rag and a bone and a hank of hair.  Also, her breathing started to get rather snuffly.  Some quick research on the innerwebz suggested to Ol’ Robbo that she might have had leukemia.

For all these changes, she didn’t appear to be in any pain or distress.  She still leapt up on the arm of my chair for pets as soon as I sat down, she didn’t shy away from being touched in any particular place, and even though she didn’t eat much of it, she was still demanding to be fed at 5 ack emma each morning.   So we let it go:  If we took her to the vet, in exchange for the stress and strain of a car ride, we’d only be told either that she should be put down or else that we should spend jillions of dollars on treatment that might stretch her time out a bit.  Neither option seemed particularly appealing.

Then, early Tuesday evening, Youngest Gel came to me and said, “Dad, Bella is curled up in a corner of the fireplace.  She went there to die, didn’t she.”

Yes, yes she did.

When she hadn’t shifted spots by mid-evening, Ol’ Robbo went to be with her.  I knew what was coming, so I decided to try and make things as comfortable as possible.  So I just sat there, gently scritching her ears and repeating her name softly.

She and I both dozed on and off, and she moaned softly now and again, but overall things were pretty quietly.  Then, at around 3:30 a.m., she reared way back, her head slid sideways, and she slumped down.  I thought she had gone in that moment, but a few seconds later she started breathing again.  This went on for about half an hour – short, shallow breaths (although not labored), each one ending in a sort of click.  Her eyes were open, but I knew she couldn’t see anything.  Then, around 4 a.m., she stopped breathing and quickly subsided into a deflated heap.  I sat on for a little and then gently put her in a small box, wrapped in a tea-towel.  Mrs. Robbo took her to the vet later in the morning.

Overall, I think she went very peacefully.

So that was how it was.

I’m saddened, of course, but not crushed.  Partly this is because she was never a favorite of mine – in addition to the above-mentioned breakfast pestering, she shed all over everything and bullied the other two cats.  Partly it’s also because she’s the fourth cat we’ve lost in 25 years now and I’ve simply become more philosophical about what is obviously the worst part about pet ownership.  The Gels took it pretty calmly too, although we made sure to wait until after the two Elder ones had finished their midterm exams before telling them.

We won’t replace her, but will be content to stick with our other two, who are about four years old.  And when they go? Well, who knows what Ol’ Robbo will think about getting another kitteh ten or fifteen years from now.












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October 2018