Saying Goodbye to a Princess

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Princess Nala and Mr Onyx about a month ago

About an hour ago, I kissed the top of my sweet Nala‘s head for the last time.  I nuzzled her little velvet ears and told her what a good girl she was and how much I loved her.  I listened to her little rumble purr with my nose buried against her cheek.  Her sweet white paw wrapped around my wrist and held me, like she wanted to tell me she knew why I was there, like she didn’t want to be alone.  And then those little pink jellybean toes let go.

She was wrapped in a blanket, in my arms.  She had been sedated, then given a lethal injection by our very caring vet.

Over the weekend, Nala was normal.  Saturday she was running around, romping with Onyx, eating like always (which means demanding her supper with some loud vocalizations).  Sunday night, we noticed that Nala was a little off.  She was struggling to walk, hadn’t eaten her supper, and was lethargic.  Monday morning she was the same.  I phoned the vet and got her in as soon as possible.

My poor sweet girl had been struggling with diabetes for a while, but never let on.  She had a UTI, that led to a kidney infection.  By the time she made it noticeable that something was wrong, she was in end stage kidney failure.

But how could this happen so fast?

Our vet explained that cats are stoic.  They are still wild predators at heart and don’t want anyone to know when they are suffering.  She was a senior – having turned 11 earlier this year – but she’d been to the vet for a check-up less than a year ago and was fine then.  But, she explained, with seniors things can go downhill very fast.  The vet talked about how healthy she looked on the outside – shiny fur, healthy teeth, bright eyes, but the bloodwork told such a different story.

Life here will not be the same without her, especially for me.  Nala was my little snuggle girl, who loved nothing more than curling up with me to purr heartily and nose my hand, urging me to stroke her tiny nose and little sweet head while I read or watched TV.  She had a quack of a meow that always made me laugh.  She was an extremely well-behaved and graceful little cat.

I’ll never forget how, when I returned home from the hospital after being gone for months, she ran to me, quacking away as if lecturing me for being gone for too long.  She laid with me – on me or beside me – for days, not letting me out of her sight.  She was like a little babysitter, monitoring me and following me to the bathroom or the kitchen, talking away the whole time.

Nala liked to sleep on my chest in bed at night, if I was sleeping on my back.  I’d sometimes wake up feeling like I couldn’t breathe, and would find her there, bright reflective eyes an inch from my nose.  If I laid on my side, she’d sometimes lay behind my head to groom my hair – something else not quite so much fun to wake up to, but I loved her, oh how I loved her, and loved even when she was being silly or waking me up and night, or vocally demanding her dinner.

I love you so, sweet girl.  You made my life better, fuller, richer.  No one could ever take your place in my heart.  You gave me so much love.  I was so lucky to have you in my life.

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