Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Izz-Bird

I had a cat named Izzy. She used to be Isabella, but about five minutes after I brought her home, I realized that Isabella was way too sophisticated for her, and Izzy she became. Also, sometimes Izz-Bird, or more accurately, The Izz-Bird.

This is her:

Now, I'm sure YOUR cat is awesome and all, but Izzy is the best cat. She spent the first half of her life being a silly, playful cat and then she relaxed into a wonderful, cuddly cat for a long time. I used to have to fake sleep in the morning, because if she caught me with my eyes open, she would poke at my face with her paw so I would pet her.

She also spent a couple of years as one of Jack's best friends.

About a year and a half ago, Izzy got sick. Really sick. We weren't sure she was going to make it. She was in renal failure and it was touchy for a while. Soon enough though, we got her medicine and fluids under control and she stayed happily healthy on her maintenance plan. She was expensive as hell, what with her four twice-daily medicines, her special food, and her daily subcutaneous fluids, but she got her energy back and was fun and happy for 18 months.

We had a little routine, Izzy and I. Every evening for the past year and a half, I would go upstairs to my bedroom, where she mostly stayed, and I would feed her. I would lie on my bed and she would eat and then she would come sit with me. I would hang out with her for an hour or so and give her the medication and fluids that kept her healthy. I would scratch her under the chin and she would purr.

That cat purred all the time.

Then, a week or so ago, she started getting noticeably bonier. And more lethargic. And I couldn't not take her to the vet. So yesterday, I took her in and the vet did some tests and the results weren't good. Our options were to go "all in" with a blood transfusion, hospitalization, and IV fluids or to...well, that part was sort of left unsaid.

But even if we did go all in, there were no guarantees. It seemed like a lot—for us, for Izzy, for our kids—with little chance of long-term success. I had known for a year and a half that this decision was coming. I knew there would come a day when I would be sitting in an exam room and have to make the last appointment I ever wanted to make. But it was the right choice for my family and it was the right choice for Izzy.

She was cuddly. Always cuddly.

I made an appointment to come back the next morning, because I needed my kids to be able to say goodbye. They have all known Izzy for their entire lives. They deserved to say goodbye. And I needed to do so as well.

My kids were sad. Alex was sad. Sam was brokenhearted, but always practical, noted that he would have to try to make friends with Denali, our other cat, who does not like children. Jack went upstairs and laid down next to Izzy, put his finger out for her to sniff and said, "I love you, Izzy." Quinn giggled at how cute Izzy was and patted her on the head over and over and asked if we could make a poster to remember her.

I spent the whole evening with Izzy. The rest of Team Stimey came to visit now and again throughout the evening. Sam, Jack, and Quinn all made notes for Izzy to tell her she was the best cat. They all let her know how much they loved her. They were all very gentle.

This morning everyone said goodbye to Izzy before they went to work and school. I came home and sat with her until it was time to take her in. The whole event was very gentle. The vet gave her a sedative so she would fall asleep and I scratched her under her chin as she did.

She fell asleep purring.

I'm going to miss her. I'll miss her soft fur. Tonight, when I didn't have my excuse to spend a quiet hour upstairs with my furry buddy, I missed her a lot. But I'll be okay. She lived for almost 16 years, and she had 18 months of healthy life more than we thought she would. The munchkins are all very sad, but we're talking about it and they're going to be okay.

And that poster? The one Quinn wanted to make to remember her by?

It's beautiful.

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