Last Saturday it was clear that something had happened to Phoebe during the night. She couldn't hold her head up and when she stood, she wobbled around on floppy legs like a newborn giraffe. It looked like she was a goner.
Phoebe, who will be 20 in a couple of weeks, has had it pretty easy most of her life. We adopted her from Georgianne and Christopher Walken in an attempt to deter their testosterone-fueled tom, Wolf, a stunning Abyssian male, from attacking our gentle, generic grey cat, Macavity. The Walkens lived over the stream and through the woods from our house in Wilton, and Wolf had appropriated our back yard as his part of his fiefdom.
Surprisingly, the ploy worked. With his baby girl now in place to torment the long-suffering Macavity, Wolf decided he could head off to fresh pastures. Peace reigned once more. Except that Phoebe was a chip off her old man's block.
The runt of the litter, Phoebe never nudged the needle much above eight pounds on the vet's scale. But she was a holy terror. Anything that moved, she killed. We all learned to look down before stepping outside, and we got good at cornering the chipmunks she brought indoors.
She would terrorize the kids who came over to play. While Macavity and Cleo, Phoebe's sister, seemed quite happy to spend their afternoons dressed in baby clothes in the doll's pram, Phoebe would hiss and spit at everyone, and then get in a quick bite just to make sure they'd gotten the message. Nobody messed with Phoebe.
So as Phoebe lay on the sofa, looking pathetic with her bent neck and sorrowful eyes, I stroked her and told her she'd been a wonderful cat and outlived all the others. She purred quietly. I sent her photo to my kids, who all stopped in to say goodbye.
On Monday morning, Phoebe was still alive so we went to the vet. I wondered if I'd have the courage to pull the plug on her. The vet sent us home with a potassium gel supplement (her levels were a bit low) and a bottle of liquid prednisone in case it was a pinched nerve. She was too weak to fight me off, but I "papoosed" her in a towel anyway and shot the meds down her throat.
By Tuesday morning, she looked a little better and let herself be tempted by some tuna. By the end of the day, she was completely back to normal, meowing loudly (she's deaf) for food.
They say cats have nine lives. I'm not sure how many she still has to go, but her time wasn't up last weekend. And to think I'd sharpened the shovel and picked out her final resting place.
Do you have any pet stories to share? Let us know below.