Thursday, February 01, 2007

Why is it that the little lives hurt so much when they end?

My sweet kitty Louis died in his sleep this morning. He was around fourteen years old and was my first cat. He was a tough guy, raised in an alley in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood of Chicago. He moved in with me on my birthday in 1995, after my friend Rachel "adopted" him from a neighbor who had been feeding him in the alley. When we lived in Chicago, he would often sneak out the window and down the fire escape to catch rats in the alley and bring them back to me. Anyone who has seen a Chicago rat knows that this is quite an accomplishment for a ten pound cat.
He was sweet and smart and very affectionate. Everyone who met him thought he was special. He was a yellow tabby, his fur was almost blond. He had big green eyes and wore a black spiked collar the entire time he lived with me. He was both a tough guy and a lap cat. In short, he was perfect.
He was a prolific hunter and a terror to small urban wildlife when we moved back to St. Louis. As he got older he mellowed out a little, restricting his hunting forays to the backyard where he continued to half-heartedly terrorized the sparrows and cardinals in our tree. This past summer he managed at one point to take down a squirrel, which is an incredible feat in and of itself, but he did so without a single tooth in his mouth and with rather thick cataracts. I'm not positive, and I wouldn't want to insult his memory, but he may have had some help from one of his adopted sisters.
Louis was my first pet. He was a huge comfort to me the first year I was living away from my family. He was cuddly and wonderful and I will miss him terribly.
We had noticed this week that he was getting a little thin and Matt bought some fancy wet food to try to tempt him to eat more, but he just sniffed it and went back to the office to sleep on the heating vent. When I woke up this morning he was laying on his side and breathing heavily. I called the Vet's office and moved our appointment up to this afternoon. I moved Louis to the bed and was petting him while I called around for a ride to the appointment. He died right there, while I was with him, with no fuss or commotion, just as sweetly and quietly as possible.
I am glad that he didn't seem to be in any pain, and that I was with him at the end, but my heart is a little bit broken. I will miss his sweet face.
I'll find a picture later.

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Blogger djeh_b said...

Oh, I'm so sorry about your Louis. There's something so special about a first cat who has seen all the changes in your life. The sprout will love to hear your stories of how special he was.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

I'm sorry about Louis, he sounds like such a good cat. :(

11:25 AM  
Blogger aaronmaye said...

I'm sorry to hear about Louis. I have a great picture of him sitting up like a person, I'd like to give that to you.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I'm sorry about Louis.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

:( I'm so sorry. He sounds like he was a great kitty. It's good that you could be with him when he died.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous shanghai- said...

aw punkin. :(
louis was indeed a love, and one of my favorites to give attention to when we had the mafia meetings at your farm, er... house.
you gave him a good life, so be proud of that. i'm sure he's still there in spirit chasing all the squirrels and birds in your yard.

11:33 AM  

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