Anybody Else Grieving the Loss of a Beloved Pet Recently?
My Snowie Journey
My beautiful Snowball, a brown, black, and white tortoiseshell pet cat has left for good as of last week. Her human misses her very much.
Our story begins when we met at the SPCA. As an animal lover, I would volunteer at the shelter. I had a professional career at the time, but helping to support and fund-raise for the animals gave me a sense of purpose beyond working and living.
The previous demise of Jazz, my 19-year-old Tabby, had left a hole in my heart so my decision to rescue a cat was an easy one. I wanted to adopt an older cat, one that had been surrendered to the shelter for no fault of her own. One that needed me too. I spotted Snowball on the website. I wondered, why was she named Snowball? That afternoon I decided to visit the shelter and see if we were about to bond.
There she was. The attendant opened the cage door and Snowball and I stared at each other for several seconds. She lifted her paw and reached toward me obviously wanting to be petted. Well, I was hooked. Her sweet, loud purrs and big doughy eyes did it. She would be my next pet for the next unknown number of years. Her name would now be Snowie
Some of Snowie's history
The following Friday, I signed the adoption papers and got the history of why she landed in the shelter. Quite the story: Snowball and her brother, Mr. T, were alone in the house with their deceased, mummified owner. The SPCA picked them up with the body still in plain sight. Further details revealed that the body had had its fingers nibbled on. Would Snowball be the culprit? As a side note, cats are known for biting their deceased human whereas a dog will lay next to them, according to the attendant. I cannot speculate on the cats' state of mind during the time, but it does look suspicious.
Snowball and her brother adopted quite quickly after their trip to the shelter. A woman brought them home to join the other cats in her house, but Snowie would not have it, as the story goes. She was to be an only cat so she was returned to the SPCA. It was a couple of days later was when Snowie and I met. When I brought Snowie home, she had behaved as though it was her home all along. A happy dance, a poo, and a sniff of every corner made it her own. We stayed up together most of the night. She could purr up a storm and her need for petting was relentless. She would hold my gaze with those big green eyes. I am sure my sweet Jazz chose her for me.
Snowie and I together
The next 5+ years with Snowie was good for both of us. She kept me in the present moment and reminded me that our time together would not be very long. Within days, after I first brought her home, there was evidence that her health was in poor shape. I believe this is the real reason she had been surrendered by the woman and not due to her inability to get along with other cats. The vet took some time to diagnose her illness. It was pancreatitis along with food allergies. After a hospital stay, some medication, several food trials, and many well-spent dollars, she recovered. She was good and happy, and a bit chubby in days to come.
Snowie was always sitting, or sleeping on me whenever she could. She loved to play in the middle of the night with her squeaky toys while meowing her head off. Now, it feels strange typing without her lying on the keyboard and walking in front of the monitor. I wish she could still annoy me. Somehow I knew she was reminding me to “stay present” and that our time together will be short! "Appreciate me now while you can", she was saying. I did.
Snowie became very thin very quickly. Her eyes became hollow. The time was near. No medicines or treatments were going to reverse her advanced kidney disease. I knew she was in pain against her best efforts to keep her spirits up. This part of the journey was about giving Snowie the gift of peace without pain. All that is left now is her pictures, remains, a tuft of hair, ceramic paw print, and most importantly, memories. So long baby.
Say hi to Jazz, Snowie. Be good kitties wherever you are. Miss and love you girls. My heart aches.