Sunday, October 12, 2008
Bianca's Passed On
Earlier today (Oct. 11), I took Bianca to the vet and had her euthanized. She could not longer eat. The vet is only a half block from my doorstep so I wrapped her loosely in a soft blanket and put her on her favorite cushy and picked it up with her in it like a taco. The day was clear and the air super crisp, warm with the scent and nip of fall in it. It was perfect. I deliberately walked slow and Bianca was looking right at me and smelling the air. She was very, very relaxed and started purring. I was soooooo glad and relieved that she was comfortable and content.
When I walked into the vet, the door chime went off and Bianca immediately stiffened and tried to look around. I knew that she knew that the chime meant VET. I started singing to her and she settled back down. I took her back outside when I realized we had a short wait. We got put into a room after a few minutes and waiting another few. I didn't like that we waited in there because we could hear a dog and a man's voice and Bianca was unsettled. I sang again and that helped.
Once it was quiet, Bianca was relaxed and stayed that way. The doctor came in and explained his procedure which is to inject the solution like a vaccine instead of into a vein. That way there is no trauma of trying to find a vein or of using a tranquilizer first. She didn't even notice when the needle went in.
I had less than 30 seconds, which was perfect. The vet left and I held her so I was alone with her when she actually died, which is how I wanted it. He'd said it could be up to like 10 minutes and I told him I wanted to walk her home in that case before she died. He didn't like that idea but it was a mute point since she passed so quickly. I also had arranged to be billed rather than pay then and there. I called him back in once I was sure her heart had stopped and he confirmed it. He wanted to look in her mouth at the damage since we'd not seen it, but I told him that I didn't want to disrespect her that way and he understood.
I put Bianca back into her blanket and "taco" and walked home. I let my other cats see that she was dead. Again, Sammy took a long time smelling her all over. I got out my shovel and prepared her final resting place then buried her. I now have four "garden kitties."
For each cat that has passed away, I've made very careful plans for how they would die and a ritual for each one emerged.
White was euthanized at home. I bought a live houseplant the same day and had it in the room with us. I still have the plant. I also saved the shirt I wore while I held her. It smelled like her for a long time. Recently, I took it out and it didn't smell like her any more so I washed it and wore it again.
Max's passing didn't go as I'd hoped. I believe he suffered too much, due to the vet (different one than I have now) grossly misinforming me. Thankfully, I was home with him and able to be with him and tend to him. I didn't bury him for awhile after he died, over an hour. I buried White faster than I needed to. I'd been afraid of rigormortis with her. Now that I understand it better, I didn't worry about it with Max. It was also the middle of the night so it took me awhile to dig his grave. With Max, I cut a lock of his curly belly hair to save. I'd have loved one of his luxurious long wiskers, but couldn't bear to pluck one from him. A friend brought me flowers for Max's grave the next day.
Darling had the most perfect passing a pet owner could ask for, in my opinion. She had a brief decline at home, a few days are labored breathing and not eating, then she passed without me with her, but went to the spot I'd prepared, laid herself down on her pillow and died. I buried her near Max. The ritual with her pertained to how she let me know telepathically that it was her time and that she'd gone to the spot I made for her. She showed a strength and grace I didn't know she had in her last week of life.
This morning I put on the shirt I'd worn with White for Bianca. It was appropriate. I pet her and held her a lot before, during and after her death. I talked to her and sang to her. I told her that White, Max and Darling are waiting for her. After I buried her, I went to San Francisco's Chinatown and, while browsing, found this wood carving of a cat that reminded me of her.
Each cat was buried in a 100% cotton receiving blanket and nothing else. They were truly returned to the earth.
I do the best I can to celebrate the life of my pets, but I'm sad, too, and miss them. Feeding time is the most difficult at first because I often forget and get out their bowl and then notice I've got one extra after I've served the food. Tomorrow I'm going to put the rocking chair that Bianca claim as her spot into storage. When next I need it, it will be my spot for rocking my daughter.