How exactly does one sum up the life of a loved one? Do we view and review their lives a little less if they are a family pet? I'd say that if you loved your pet even a little, this would not be the case. Love lost is love lost, no matter how many legs your loved one might have.
Numa started what we like to call the herd... I went to find myself a kitten, mean while Numa had other plans. She put on her best face and immediately began to fawn all over my husband. Yeah, you could say she was a bit of a ho'. :) John decided that he wanted the momma kitty (Numa), and I wanted a kitten (Sophie), so we compromised and each got the one we wanted- after I refused to back down.
We took Numa home a year after we were married and let me tell you, that cat drove a wedge between the MISU and I. Litterally. If John and I were snuggling, she would plop herself right down in between us, or on his lap... and the lovins that were once mine were now split between the 2 ladies in his life. I was a jealous wife, I was not happy.
Numa and I came to an understanding early on, the arrangement was still not quite equal if you ask me. She got his attentions during waking hours, and I got what was left over... usually while the MISU sawed logs.
We saw Numa through her second pregnancy, most of which John and I were away in the Persian Gulf. Yup, while her parents were away at war, she got knocked up. Lookin for love in all the wrong places, sheesh. This new litter would give us another of her fur kids, Ivan.
18 of her 19 years were spent with us, and I will say that she was a surly foster mother to 5 other kittens (besides Sophie and Ivan, her own) , and at one time ruling over the Herd- 6 cats. I have affectionately called her Big Momma, or Momma Kitty since then.
Numa never lost her spark or spunk until about a year and a half ago, and since then it had been a slow and steady decline. She had a hard time moving around, she was after all about 166 in human years. Over that last year and a half, John and I had contemplated more times than I have digits to count on whether or not we should put her out of her complete and utter misery. We'd think about calling the vet, talk about calling the very next day, and that would be the day Numa would decide to get up out of bed, clean herself and chat with the family. I kid you not, every single time.
Yesterday was different. I checked on her while she was sleeping and noticed that she had stopped breathing. I continued to watch for several seconds, holding my own breath in dread until I saw her chest move again. This time it lasted over 20 seconds, and her eyes were open. Nausea set in, and I stood there paralyzed. Part of me was relieved... yet so devastated and sad.
Numa repositioned herself and began to breath again, and I continued to stand there in horror. No, she hadn't gone peacefully like I had hoped. She smelled the hot dogs I fixed for the girls and raised her head a bit, and I noticed that just this small movement was quite an effort for her. She was breathing fast and shallow, her eyes half lidded as if she were in pain.
I gave her a few pieces of hot dog which she barely touched, which was very unusual for her.
I called John... and watched her suffer to her feet. She moved around painfully and restlessly for another half an hour until she finally couldn't take any more... and uncomfortably went back to bed.
Yesterday, we had to make 5th decision in 4 1/2 years... It never gets easier, it never gets less painful.
We decided to bring her home and bury her under our pine tree in the back yard, and put the ashes of Yuri (who died 12 years ago as a kitten, from a heart problem), Ursa, Seven, and the ashes of her kids Ivan and Sophie with her. We said a prayer and thanked God for sending Numa to us, for giving us such a wonderful, noisy and sometimes grumpy cat. We thanked Him for taking care of her for us now, and for showing her the way to the place where her kids and foster kids now play.
It's the end of an era and almost 2 decades, lady... we love you and miss you. You were such a good kitty.
Rest in peace, Big Momma.