In honor of Princess Priscilla, my beloved cat . . .

April 22, 2014 –now it’s May 1st, how quickly the days pass. Priscilla died ten days ago . . .
An unfinished story in honor of my sweet, adventurous cat Priscilla, who passed out of this material world on Tuesday morning, April 22, 2014, between 10:35 –10:45 a.m., at Matilija Veterinary office, in Ojai, California. 
000_photoApril 21, 2014
Please pray for the peaceful passing of my elder cat, Princess Priscilla, the fluffy feline in this photo whom I’ve written about many times over the past 18 years.
I adopted Priscilla and her brother, Leo the Lion, sight unseen. A friend of my daughter’s was about to drop them off at the Humane Society. I remember exclaiming, “Don’t do that!” and told my daughter to call her friend and tell her that we would take them instead.

From the moment this brother sister duo arrived, they had one great adventure after another. Never a dull moment. They played tag, hide-and-seek–they danced and frolicked as kittens do, from dawn to dusk. My roommate at the time complained because at night they liked to run back and forth in the small space between my bed and the wall. He said it sounded like mice running and they kept him awake!

During their kittenhood and young adult years, we lived in a rural, low-traffic area with other cats, dogs, a pig, pet mice, and chickens. Leo and Priscilla roamed the neighborhood and often spent the day in the nearby field and park-like gardens across the street.

For about 12 years they lived in the same place. In the year after I moved, Priscilla had trouble adjusting. (Leo and my other cat adjusted immediately.) She made at least a dozen trips back to our former house until one day she disappeared. After a month of searching at all hours of the day and night, and no sign of her anywhere, I accepted that a coyote or a car had gotten her.

The note below from October 24, 2011, described how Priscilla finally returned–emaciated but alive– after many months.

For the past five years, Priscilla has lived mostly in the river bottom. She thrived there. But about a month after my in-between move, during which timeI had to keep her indoors for her safety, she developed what I thought was an eye infection. I took her to a local vet who could not determine the cause but prescribed antibiotic eyedrops. She had a thorough exam, blood work, and there were other health issues (thyroid problem, bladder infection) as well.

After spending about $300 with no end in sight, I had to face the fact that, especially with several other animals to care for, I could not justify the expensive choices that might prolong her life.

I kept Priscilla as comfortable as I could. She sleeps next to me or close to her favorite radiant heater. She has a totally safe fenced back patio area where she can bask in the sun and fresh air. She knows she’s too old and weak to run away–she never tries to hop the fence.

About three days ago I think my sweet Priscilla had a stroke. Her head is crooked–she now needs help eating and drinking. She’s disoriented much of the time and often walks in circles. When I picked her up today her body felt heavy and limp. She is more and more passive and sleeps longer and longer.

I called the vet and was assured that they can fit her in if she needs help to ease her passing.

This is my first end-of-life experience with an old cat. I’ve been with many dogs as they made their transition, at home, with the help of Dr. Lewis, but I’m uncertain what to expect with a cat. The websites of signs of cats dying list not eating and drinking but this morning she ate with gusto. She has trouble getting water into her mouth from a saucer so this afternoon, each time she woke up, I dribbled water into her mouth with a syringe.

I’m so hoping Priscilla’s sweet cat spirit will gently slip away, and that she’ll pass peacefully while resting in my arms or while sleeping in my bed.

We’ll see what the rest of this day brings.

[I remember now that I wrote about her passing and somehow lost what I’d written–and I was too  tired and too sad to try again . . . we had a sweet last night together, but her heart kept going even as her other organs failed—and I had to ease her out of her suffering when she could no longer eat or drink and she walked in circles . . . ]* * *
April 7, 2014
Babies are sweet, dogs are divine, and men can be delicious, but a cat purring away on your chest, or nestling all night under the covers in the crook of your arm, its heart beating next to yours, its dear little cat head tucked under your chin, its sharp claws occasionally digging into your flesh–reminding you that you are cuddling with a wild creature–is bliss on Earth! There’s nothing else like it in this world!

[I did not realize when I wrote this that whatever was wrong this past month with her eye was only getting worse and that she would be dead in two more weeks]
* * *
October 24, 2011 
Princess Priscilla, who came home last Monday, October 17, 2011, at around 6 a.m., after disappearing about four months ago. She was very gaunt, like a skeleton, ravenously hungry and thirsty, but very much alive. Her brother Leo (see photo of Leo the Lion) acted like he saw a ghost. He stared at her in utter disbelief…it was like she came back from the dead. I am so happy to have my miracle cat home again! — in Ojai, CA.
 — in Ojai, CA.

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