She was still quite critical when I last saw her. The vet gave me the option of taking her home overnight, just in case that would be less stressful. I thought the 30 minute car ride, would actually induce stress. I also had the option of taking her to a 24-7 vet hospital, but those places get kind of crazy, and I didn't want to subject poor Lily to any more stressors. The vet thinks Lily died peacefully. I hope she wasn't in any pain, at least.
If you scroll through my older posts, you'll find my eulogy to Lily's sister, Onyx, who passed away just a little over 4 years ago from the same thing - heart disease. With Onyx, it was quite sudden. Lily, it was a few days. It's still not easier.
Apparently, Lily had a heart that was too big. It's not something that vets can usually find out unless they do invasive ultrasounds and x-rays, that are also quite expensive. But I like to think that Lily's big heart meant she loved us extra hard.
I know that I gave Lily and Onyx an amazing life. Way better than if I had left them to the Central Florida wilderness where they'd surely be killed by something or get knocked up at a young age.
Onyx was a sweet kitty and it was tough losing her. But I think losing Lily is going to be extra tough. Lily and I had a different sort of bond. Anyone that hung out around our kitties enough, knew that Lily was crazy for me. I was her human. She did eventually start to love the husband, but I was definitely her favorite.
I had dogs and cats growing up, but they were never own. The pets tolerated me but they always preferred the company of my parents. Onyx, and moreso Lily, were my first true pets. And Lily was the first pet to prefer me.
Lily and Onyx represent a lot to me. I first found them as kittens back in 2004. I was 23 at the time and I was just officially entering adulthood. These kitties were there for me, through good and bad times, as I was trying to figure out relationships and this crazy thing called life. I'm now 35. I still don't have this adulting thing figured out, but these kitties were representative of this turbulent time of my life.
I have tons of Lily stories and pictures, which I'm going to share some below.
Lily was my alarm clock. Not so much in the "feed me" type of way that many cats do. But when my work alarms started going off, she got used to me petting her each time I hit snooze. If I didn't pet her, that's when she would start clawing at me or sometimes even biting me, in order to get attention.
Lily was quite militant about being loved. She loved being petted, and if you stopped when she wasn't ready, she was sure to let you know with a nip, head butt, or a paw pat, that you weren't done. I could call her name from any room in the house, and she would come running to me, excited for any bit of attention.
At night, she'd give me dirty looks telling me that she was ready for bed. She'd jump on my bed, anxious to be petted and loved on. The past 6 months or so, I always tried to love her extra before bedtime. It was our own special ritual. I always would think to myself, that Lily is a senior kitty and soon enough, these special times would be no more. Little did I know that it would happen sooner vs. later. I always thought her love for me was so fierce, that she would be one of those awnry cats, that lived till their late teens / early 20s.
Lily was kind of a boring cat. For the most part, she just would sleep, eat, and would want to be petted. She never played with toys too much. But there was this one toy, that she oddly took a liking too. During a trip to New Orleans a few years ago, I stopped in a pet shop in the French Quarter. They had these homemade voodoo doll cat toys made out of sticks, dried hay, and some felt. It was $2 and supposedly benefited the homeless kitties of the French Quarter. Lily never played with this voodoo doll toy. Except 2 years ago, she all of a sudden took a liking to this toy. She didn't play with it. But she liked bringing it to me. Many mornings, I'd wake up with the voodoo doll in the bed with me (yuck!) or at the bedside. Other times, I'd hear this weird yowling from her, and here she'd come to whatever room I was in, with the voodoo doll in her mouth, where she would then drop it by my side. It was her "kill". She often did this to my husband and I, while we were watching TV. We'd always thank Lily for the voodoo doll, and give her pets for being such a good kitty. Over the years, the voodoo doll lost its head and an arm. I always thought this meant there was some sort of decapitated kitty now in the French Quarter. I'm having the voodoo doll cremated with Lily.
I'm going to miss that kitty, fiercely. It still hasn't sunk in quite yet. But I know it will get better eventually.