Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A moon without a Twinkle

Today it's one calendar month since Twinkle died. In fact, in about an hour, it'll be a month right on the nose.

I got a card yesterday from the hospital that tried so hard to save her. It was signed by about twenty people, and they said some kind, wonderful things about Twinkle and me. I've been on a pretty even keel since Twinkle died, but that brought tears to my eyes.

Cats can't talk, of course; not in any way that meaningfully communicates abstractions. I'm not entirely clear on just who it was I shared my life with for a year and a half. An Ohioan woman I've been corresponding with since Twinkle got sick wondered recently if there'd been blood tests when I had Twinkle checked in the New Year to start her insurance. So I went back over her records, right to the start. No blood tests last January, but I really looked at the stuff the pound gave me the April before. It really breaks my heart, reading the records that came with her from the Toronto Humane Society. I kind of ignored them when I got her because hey, I was her happy ending. But I look at them now...

Admission type: Return.
Date: July 6, 2009.
Age: 3 years, 6 months.
Must spay before adoption; "very nice temperament".

There's also a urinalysis, done just after she was brought back to the pound. One thing I notice is her bilirubin is negative—it was extremely high while she was ill before she died. It does remark that her urine was "turbid", but that the resulting microbiology test resulted in "mixed growth of doubtful significance". But the fact that they were testing her urine, and my experience with her, leads me to believe it's why she lost her previous home... she was probably peeing all over their stuff, too. "Return" chills me... it makes it sound like she's been in the pound even before... though the fact she wasn't spayed seems to contraindicate that. The fact that she wasn't spayed by the time she was three makes me wonder, too... was she ever a mother, like Bonnie was when I got her? Is there a chance she left behind kittens who are a risk of the same autoimmune disease that ended her life so early?

But my heart breaks now, thinking of her sitting in those cages from July till the following April. Poor, poor Twinkle. Damn it, she had such a short, sad life, and she just never really got a break. Am I ever glad I brought her home and did my best for her. At least that was something, for a little while.

What I wouldn't give to be able to talk to her previous family... find out what she was like, how long they had her, why they gave her up.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A few more Twinklings

A few things about Twinkle I decided I should record while it's still in my mind to do so.

I guess it was right around this time last year I was writing about Twinkle as a being, regarding her struggle to come to terms with how doors—in particular, the bathroom door—worked. You know, she never did figure that out... not in the old place, and not in the new one. Applying minor force to rotate a piece of wood around greased hinges was a concept that eluded her her whole life, bless her little heart.

But she was smart in other ways. When she got sick, but before I recognized it as illness, she took to hiding. Twinkle being Twinkle, I didn't take that as a sign she wasn't well. She tended to be more of a loner than the other cats and I simply took it she was amusing herself by finding clever places the rest of us couldn't find her. Still, I didn't like the idea she might be stuck someplace, in a box or closet she couldn't get out of, and I would look for her and call her name. I'm not sure which day it was, but once in my search, I came around the corner into the dining room and she stood and meowed to me from the bottom shelf of the wardrobe. It was a display of understanding, affection, and concern that still moves me. She understood I was looking for her, and she volunteered to let me know she was alright. She grasped all that, and she cared enough to respond. The thing that makes it kind of blue is that two shelves up, that's where her ashes now rest in an urn.

It was probably the Thursday before the Friday I first took her to the vet that she behaved in a very uncharacteristic manner. She leapt up onto the back of my chair and laid down behind me, putting her tail around my left shoulder. She seemed to cough and sneeze a little, and at one point, threw up a little of what looked like green phlegm. Again, I wasn't overly concerned. Cats cough stuff up all the time, and I took it to be a sign she had a cold or a flu or something. I remember that just before Jenny (a cat I had from 1989 to 2002) died, she came and laid at my feet, something she'd never done before. I wonder if Twinkle was saying something like good-bye, I love you, or maybe just, gee, I don't feel like myself, but being near you is a comfort. I don't know. I don't really think cats understand the concept of death, particularly their own. But she clearly wasn't well by then, and I wonder what exactly was on her mind.