Last night, our much-loved cat Nochie died of old age. She was a part of our lives for almost two decades, from when Tammy found her as a kitten in the parking lot of the school she taught at.
It seems unreal, after the last few days. If anything, for the last month she really had perked up. In October, I would not have bet that she would make it to Christmas. But just yesterday I commented to Dad that she was perkier than she had been when he was here in October.
The last few days, she had been turning up her nose at her cat food. She would eat some, but she would also ask for food at the table, and jump up between the kids to look for “free samples”.
But we were always on the lookout for a change in behaviour. And it started last night.
The first signal was when we were leaving to take Dad to the airport. Dad, Tammy and Miranda were already out in the car, and Ian and I were coming out. Nochie tried to get out of the house and into the garage. She never tried to get into the garage before.
Later that evening, she was making signs of wanting to throw up, and we were following her around to herd her onto easily-cleanable surfaces. That was when Tammy noticed that Nochie was trying to hide under Miranda’s desk and behind her door. I didn’t take the report to heart, but when Tammy brought it to my attention, I commented that “I know what I’m thinking.” I believed that these were the signals we’d been dreading.
But it wasn’t until later, when the kids were in bed and Tammy was upstairs, that I saw Nochie in the kitchen, but near the oven, not at her usual spot in front of the warm air that blows out from underneath the refrigerator. I picked her up and brought her over to a chair for a hug, and she didn’t want one. She jumped right down, and then hunkered down under the Christmas tree. That’s when I lost it.
I went upstairs and got Tammy, and we sat with Nochie and cried for a while. Nochie didn’t want to be bothered. She was moving from place to place: tree, cat box, kitchen, dining room. We said good night to her in the kitchen and gave her pats and Tammy gave her a kiss on the head.
I was awake at 4:30 this morning, and had to use the bathroom. I went downstairs to check up on her, and found her lying on the mat under the kitchen sink. She was gone.
I woke Tammy to tell her, and eventually the kids. When the vet opens at 8:00, we’ll make some arrangements.
Good bye Nochie.