Ethel died this evening. We had been holding a death watch on her all night and all day. She was stretched out in front of the wood stove, on the rug where she loved to lie, and we just left her there until we knew she qwas gone. I had made up my mind that fear or not, I was going to take her into the Vet today, but they were closed.
I knew she was going to go this weekend. She crawled up on my pillow this morning and could not even purr, her voice was so weak. I cried, and just let her lay next to me. She got up and went and lay in front of her breakfast dish, and did not eat, and that is when I knew for sure.
Ethel was almost 16 years old. I got her when she was only a week old, and her eyes were just open. The W.A.I.F. (Whidbey animal improvement foundation) called my sister and asked if she wanted to foster a kitten, and she said no, but her sister would. So they called me. I went down and they told me that it was TWO kittens...that their mother was feral and had an older litter also, but that she was killed by a car, and one of the older siblings (7 months or so) brought the two kittens to a nearby house where SHE was getting food out the back door. THe kittens were found on the deck, and the woman brought them to WAIF. I bottle fed the two babies every 4 hours, and kept them in my bathroom with only a board (actually the leaf from my table) blocking them in. When they were about two weeks old Ethel started yowling like mad. LOUD and insistent. SO I went in and she was stretched out as tall as she could get trying to get over the board. SHe sounded like Ethel Merman...such a big voice for such a little kitten. Thus her name. Her sister was called Shirley. (????) I dunno, It just came to me. Shirley would let Ethel suck on her belly fur and she did too. It was so funny to watch the two of them.
One day I went in, and they were gone. I could not find them anywhere!! I paniced. I looked under the bed, and there was a tiny hole ripped in the gauze liner of my boxsprings, and the two of them were in there. I got them out, put a bigger board in the bathroom and they stayed there maybe two minutes before they were back in my bed.
As they grew, it became apparent that they were forming a very simbiotic relationship, and were not sociallizing well with people. At 6 weeks, I took Shirley back to be adopted, and I kept Ethel. SHe got along fine withe Rudy and Mariah my Dog. She grew fat and sassy, and ruled the house. EXCEPT when a stranger came into the house, then she was back in my box springs.
She had an evil look about her, as her eyes were very golden and in that black face, they almost looked like an old owl. She had a very LOUD purr, along with her very loud voice. When she was about 6 months old, she got outside, and was freaked, that she stayed under the back porch for two weeks. I finally got her back inside and she NEVER went out again.
I was transfered to Fallon, Nevada when she was 6, so I put her in a big carrier and Rudy in the other one along with Chitters, and put them in the back of my covered truck bed. I stopped in Shasta, California at a rest stop and a guy walked by and wanted to know what kind of animals I had back there. When I told him cats, he said WILD ONES??? I Laughed, and said she is NOW. She HATED the carrier, and would literally FREAK when I got it out. Once I got to Fallon, I let them out of their carriers and she found the nearest closet and stayed there until my bed got here, and then up inside it she went. The same was true 3 years later when I got transfered back home. I swore then that I would never scare her again. She was a LOVE!! She especially liked my and liked me to rub her belly. She would straddle my arm and place her belly on my hand so all I had to do was move my fingers.
She even got to the point of crawling under my covers when I was asleep and doing the same thing, so all I had to do was move my fingers in my half sleepy state. She was always beside me. In the chair, in the bed, on the couch, and she would tell me when it was getting too cold out and would lay in front of the woodstove and yowl at me until I built a fire for her. THen out full she would stretch, and lay there until the fire died. She was also the first to find a sunbeam. Winter or Summer, she knew where the cracks in the curtains were and would lay until the sun had moved, then on to the next spot she would go.
I will miss her very much, but she is in peace now, and is no longer cold, and I am sure that there is a nice warm hand and arm that she can straddle when she wants her belly scratched. There just has to be someone up there waiting for a cat...