Then I noticed she hadn't touched her dry food in a few days and hadn't been drinking as much of her water. She started hanging out on the top step from the basement leading up into the main portion of the house which she has never done. She also began sneezing a whole lot. I was thinking hey maybe it's just a cold. But then I began to notice other things like her leaning to one side when she walked (almost falling over at times), and her back side was beginning to look horribly skinny.
I then started my hardcore quality Nikita time. Every night for a week I took my blanket, pillow, and book downstairs to read as she curled up in my lap. I began feeding her wet food (making it super soft with water and holding the bowl so she wouldn't sneeze or get congested while eating). It became an obsession to constantly check on her, spend time with her, be with her. As those days lingered on and she didn't get any better my heart knew this was no cold. Something was wrong. My love was slowly slipping away from me. I felt death creeping over her and didn't want to believe it, or accept it. Not yet. Just a little more time.
I found myself not having an appetite and not being able to sleep. Not exactly sure what I could do for her to make things better but yet also very aware that I could not keep putting myself through such emotional slaughter each night. So much was lingering in the air and I was smothering in being torn between letting go and denying the obvious. I called my mom Thursday (the 5th) because I wanted her to look at Nikita and see what she thought so she came over.
She was very concerned with Nikita's condition and how frail she was. Not to mention she wasn't pooping anymore. She then called Ashley who also agreeded that she wasn't looking well at all. It was decided that because David and I would be going out of town later in the week, it would be best to take her to the vet Friday (the 6th). We all knew that going to the vet would more than likely involve putting her to sleep due to her old age and condition of health. I had been very upset and crying since Tuesday but this night was hard. I didn't want to leave her. I stayed up letting her lay on me until 12:30 am. Her breathing changed that night and I wasn't sure if she would make it through the night.
I woke up at 3:40 am and 6:00 am to check on her. My stomach was in knots all day as I knew that Ashley would be picking her up to go to the vet at 2:30. I didn't want to be there when she was picked up-couldn't handle watching her be took away from her home of 20 years. So I left thinking I could get out and do some shopping. But first I had to say goodbye. She was purring while I was sobbing telling her goodbye. Another moment of not being able to tear myself away from her. Walking out the door knowing that when I would come back she wouldn't be there was rough. I cried the whole way out the door then called my dad. He told me to come by his work after hearing how upset I was. I cried the whole way from the gas station, to Dunkin Donuts, to O-Rielly auto parts.
After hanging out there I went to my parents house because my contacts were covered in a tear stained haze. That's when I got the text from Ashley that Nikita went peaceful and that she has suspected renal failure. She was to be cremated in the carebear blanket I had given her and had been cuddling with her in. That was the next flood of tears and loud sobs. Just hours before she had been downstairs in my basement and now she was....gone.
The next spout of tears came when I arrived back to my house. The first thing you see when you walk in is the leather chair she ALWAYS laid in with her pink blankets. Her food bowls were there, the water bowl, and her cat bed. Just as if she was still there. Almost as if she had never left. I had to call my dad again so I could talk to someone through my sobs as I picked up her blankets-which still smelled like her. I cleaned up everything (except the litter-I could only do so much) and put the cat stuff in the garage.
I never knew how attached I had become to Nikita until I realized she had become a part of me somehow. I've dealt with loss. I've lost both my mother's parents and our family cat that I grew up with as well as my first family dog. But for some reason this broke me in ways I hadn't felt before. She touched a special place in my heart and there she will forever remain.
I will say it is getting easier (as everyone says it will). Time is the best healer. And tears. Emotional breakdowns are welcomed and embraced. My tears have been so cleansing and no I don't feel stupid that I'm crying over a cat. Anyone that's ever loved an animal and lost them knows exactly everything I've mentioned or felt. My moments of crying are slowly having longer distances between them. I cried just the other day that the basement lamp doesn't have to stay on anymore since there's not a living thing down there that needs it. My memories are starting to bring smiles instead of stabs of pain. And I will vouch and say that in these moments we do become stronger. In the midst of it all that doesnt' seem possible but it is.
During my last days with Nikita I was reminded that I do not like aging and that death brings about the deepest pain. I was also reminded that we often get so comfotable in our schedules and routines that life becomes just that...a routine. And sometimes we just expect people or animals to always be there. But things happen. And we can't buy back lost time. I always expected Nikita to greet me when I came in from school, or be at the bottom of the steps crying telling me she needs more water. And I think in my expectations of her always doing those things, I lost out on some quality time because "she'd always be around." During my last days with Nikita I realized that I don't want to take the people (and pets) I love for granted. I dont' want to become so self absorbed that I neglect moments to share with them. I don't want to expect them to always be there thus making an excuse not to call, not to visit, not to just sit and be.
So dear sweet Nikita- thank you for allowing me the opportunity to love you and be loved in return. Thank you for your companionship. Sing sweet songs over the Bridge and be sure to take care of Boots and Kramer as well. I love you and I miss you so much.