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Efanor has joined Elrond, Effy, and Khym…

And I’m completely at peace with it.

This might well be more information than most people want, but for someone facing this situation for the first time, my experience today might be helpful.

I thought this AM that he was gone. His breathing was that shallow. But when I turned on the light, he rallied once more, drank and piddled, but had absolutely no interest in food. And when I’d pick him up, he was just…limp. I called the vet and she concurred that it was probably time, but I still couldn’t quite commit. I hung up, went to pick him up, and knew…it was. So I called the vet back and made the appointment with time to dig his grave before I left.

That may sound odd, but it was on purpose. I’d picked the spot the night before, a spot with a beautiful view of the waterfall, and lying under the Japanese Maple, with his head pointed toward a miniature rose, in the same orientation to the waterfall that he’d use when sitting in my work chair. He loved flowers…he’d sit with his nose buried in the bouquets of roses I’d bring in…and inside he had a little palm tree that he’d sleep under as a kitten. Because of the Maple which spreads and hugs the ground there was a beautiful area that can’t be used for plants and it’s large enough that, when the time comes, Ysabel can join him.

I actually waited to dig it until I knew when. I didn’t want to pass a hole every day (eeewww) but I wanted the spot prepared so I could lay him to rest as soon as I returned home. It also gave me some activity to get my adrenaline going which helps with the stress, and kept me from sitting around with him in my lap sobbing which would do little more than upset him.

Curiously, I found, when I went back inside to cuddle him for the final few times, that the tears that had been so much in the foreground for several days, were gone. I was at peace and could just enjoy him. He was very content to just lie in my arms and be scritched. His world had been reduced to that kind of input.

Sharon, bless her heart, called from work and came over to drive us to the vet. I am doubly grateful in retrospect because she was able to give me some real insight into what I’d sensed—what I call “telling me it’s time.” This was really useful information because one of my primary goals in choosing the right time was wanting to cause him as little stress as possible. This meant a time when I could take him to the vet’s without him being particularly aware of it, but before the bodily strains were causing him pain and/or fear. What she could tell…from his dilated pupils and other signs, was that hypoxia (a depletion of oxygen) had set in. (Considering his red cell count, it’s amazing it didn’t set in sooner.) The important thing about this is, his awareness was very limited. He’d register touch and sound, he knew me, but wasn’t really putting much together. Basically, the normal “now” of kitty reality increases tenfold. That’s why he was so content to simply lie there being petted.

The reason this point is so significant is that it meant I could take him to the vet without him building up stress. A moment of what’s unusual could cause a spike of fear, but it wouldn’t last. I hoped.

This plan ended up better than I dared hope.

We got some final pics (as you can see, he still looks wonderful) wrapped him in his blanket from the chair in the office and took him to the car. We opted to use our car rather than Sharon’s (though we were very grateful to have Sharon to drive) because that’s like his second home. It was unusual for him not to go in his carrier, but I wanted to hold him as long as I could and while there was some confusion on his part as we went to the car, as soon as I sat and began to pet him, he was calm and content. Even purring.

At the vet’s Carolyn (I’m so lucky) went in and took care of the paperwork while Efanor and I stayed in the car with Sharon. We went right in and he was, as he’d been on Monday when he’d been perfectly aware, quite calm. I think it’s really important to find a vet where your pet feels comfortable. This is different for every animal and the place we’d been taking them had gone from “comfortable” to “stressful” over the last few years. I’m so glad we discovered this one at such a timely moment. Anyway, I was concerned when the vet wanted to take him away to put in the IV catheter. I understand they have the whole thing set up in the back, but I didn’t want to stress him. Thinking, however, of what Sharon had said about his mental state, I agreed to let them take him away.

Fortunately, it went very quickly and he was relatively relaxed in the vet’s arms as she took him away and he came back a little stressed, however the moment he was back with me, he reverted to calm and in that strange little zone he’d found.

He passed quickly and quietly. I wrapped him in his blue blanket, took him to the car and we took him home to his little spot beneath the maple. We gave him the rest of his smoochies to share with Elrond, Effy and Khym, and Carolyn gave him his traditional Roman three handfuls of dirt, one for heaven, one for earth and one for the world below. By Roman tradition, this was to show that he had someone to care enough to bury him.

Then we lighted a candle in the lantern, said goodnight and covered him up.

And for the first time in several days, I was hungry. We went to our favorite watering hole, the Swinging Door, had lunch and got one of our favorite, craziest waitresses. She and Sharon had us rolling in the aisles. We raised a glass to our darling fuzzy friend…and began discussing his next incarnation: Eushu.

Don’t be surprised if the next pic you see here is of a little black kitten….

23 comments to Efanor has joined Elrond, Effy, and Khym…

  • 82Eridani

    Oh Jane, I’m so sorry he’s gone, but happy he was surrounded by love and felt little pain or anxiety at the end. He’s at peace, and I wish you peace as well. I believe an animal has a great a soul as any human…you’ll meet up again some day. (((hugs)))

  • smartcat

    {{{hugs}}} and :heart: to you all.

  • When we finally lost Chloe, things went much as you’ve put it above. My wife was able to hug and stroke her right up to the very end, and we buried her next to Whisky, her companion who’d died several years before.

    Within two weeks we found a beautiful pair, brother and sister, of black-and-whites – and my wife swears it was the best thing we could have done, for her. So now Smudge and Jess light up our lives. I think “a little black kitten” is just what the docter ordered for you, Jane.

    But [Hugs] anyway. 🙂

  • Between you, me, the fencepost (and now the internet) I’ve always had the feeling that each of my boys lived on in the next. There are little mannerisms they all shared right from the start. Each is an individual in their own right, but…cats do have nine lives, you know!

    Still, it’s spooky how similar they are in so many ways (OK…so I raised them all, but still!)

    Anyway, Carolyn, bless her heart, has already scoped out some VERY likely possibilities. Since my sis scoped out Elrond and Carolyn scoped out Efanor…I think I’m gonna go with the flow! Only problem is, this time I have CHOICES!!!! ARGH! Me. The person you don’t hand a menu unless you’re ready for an hour of indecision!!!!

    I trust, however, one of the little fellows will talk to me with that voice only “mamas” hear.

  • Lynn

    Hugs and tears…

    I’ll miss him, too…and look forward to meeting your next black kitty. (Not a new incarnation…an augmentation, perhaps?)

  • kokipy

    Thank you for sharing that. It is very sad. I am glad he has the lantern before him and is in such a lovely place.
    I am sure your next kitty will claim you. They always do. You will actually have no choice at all in the matter.

  • Kroyd

    Condolences from myself and my sister, Witchyg. One hopes to pay respects next Shejicon. My sister would post if she could, but our uncle has developed lymphoma, and she is extrordinarily occupied right now, but did ask me to pass along her sentiments.
    Regarding the similarity in all your kittehs, I had a mental picture of them standing next to one of the Gates, with all the lights swirling around.

    Hugs to you, Carolyn, and Ysabel.

    • Oh my goodness! Hugs right back at you, W, and your uncle. Sending healing thoughts through the web.

      I love that image. Elrond was fascinated with the filk “the cat who warps by herself” afterall…. hmmmm.

  • 82Eridani

    When we adopted Tucker at 7 weeks old, it was odd that he seemed so at home right away. He was house trained within 24 hours, would settle right down in the car, and would collapse in the former dogs’ pillows to sleep without prompting. I swear the spirits of Stevie Ray and Toby were welcoming and coaching him.

    • Efanor was a bit older…at least a month past weaning and I think more, so it took him a while to “find” Elrond and Effy. I think partly because he moved so fast! Talk about a darting dinky. But he wandered the house crying…I was so sure I’d made a mistake. Then…kind of all of a sudden, he just started sleeping with me and was my baby from then on.

  • I am so sorry, Jane. Need a virtual shoulder to cry on? Hugs to you and I hope your choices for a new kitty are easy (not like trying to decide what to order at the Steam Plant Grill).

    • The one who really needs a shoulder is Ysabel. She’s soo confused, and there’s just no way to explain to her.

      I think the kitteh choice might be easier than I thought. Carolyn found several different possibilities on Craig’s list (unfortunately, apparently a lot of other people found them, too) and there was definitely one who called to me and others who didn’t. I might not get this one, but I have every confidence that Eushu is waiting somewhere.

  • philospher77

    I’m so sorry to hear about Efanor. But you are right… they do let us know when it’s time. My Trinkett just gave me this look, and I knew. It also helped that I had two vets telling me “it’s not too soon”, I’ll admit. She was the first of my pets to pass, so I am grateful that it all went smoothly, even though it was pretty sudden.

    And you never know… your next kitteh may very well just show up on your doorstep!

  • arkessian

    I’m so sorry to hear this, but glad that you could manage to make it so peaceful for him.

  • Aw heck. So very sorry it happened, but perhaps it saved him from a harder time.

    My opinion on when to get a new kitty is…it very much depends on when Jane herself is ready. That can vary by case. I usually have gotten a new pet within a month of losing one, but after my cat, Toby, died, I waited several months. He was special and…I was not ready. But when I got Goober, well, he is his own kind of special, as is Smokey, nearly four years later. Each one who’s ever been a companion, an associate, a beloved family member, always has his or her unique self. They are not human, but they are as valuable and needed.

    Kindest thoughts for Jane and family. She’ll know when she’s ready for another friend to join them.

    BlueCatShip | Ben W.
    * “You can be more.” ~ Farscape * “You can’t take the sky from me.” ~ Firefly Serenity *

    • I’ve never been inclined to wait, though each of my “boys” has been incredibly special. It’s like they pass the wand to the next familiar…knowing somebody needs to keep me in line!

      When my sis called from Pullman to tell me about Effy (she, poor lady, had to deal with his death) I said, while sniveling into the phone, “don’t be surprised if I show up with a kitten. (I was in Bellingham for the summer…long story) By the time she came to pick me up, she already had a line on a calico mama with a litter with one scruffy little black kitten. That little scruff was my Elrond.

      When Elrond left us, Carolyn found an ad in the paper for a just weaned kitten over near the school where she used to teach. We thought that was kind of a cool link, so we checked him out. After tearing the house apart chasing him, we finally had him, panting and squirming. He was older than I thought but I couldn’t leave him there with those two horrible yapping dogs.

      So…he came home with us and after lots and lots of patience became an incredibly loving, sweet, but always shy and a bit spooky, Efanor.

      Ooof…Gotta get to work.

  • TabbyCat

    I am so sorry. But it was such a peaceful departure, and he has left the three of you beautiful memories.
    And you don’t have to choose Eushu; he or she will choose you. The very best kittehs always do.

  • Walt

    Requiescat in pace, Efanor. Be well, Jane.

  • skitterling

    My very deepest sympathies to you and I wish you both ease and joyful memories.

  • Isharell

    I do understand you feeling so at peace with the situation and I am glad, for your sake, that you felt so. When I lost my Tabitha after 19 yrs, I went and sat by the beach for a little while, just listening to the waves and feeling the wind in my face. I didn’t even mind the gritty sand. My family couldn’t understand, but I felt so peaceful, so calm… I knew she was okay, just… somewhere else.
    Remember the good times, that is what sustains us at these times.

  • “Bushu” as in “lazy, indolent”? My dictionary spells it “bushoo”, then there’s “Bushi” which is a warrior (or samurai)…..well, my dictionary is only a pocket sized copy…..

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