I adopted Miss Annabelle back in 2002, when Joey and I moved into our first apartment. He had been with my sister's cat Sabrina for the past couple of years, and I thought that he needed a companion to help him pass the days.
At the SPCA, I found her, a sweet little tortoiseshell, shy, but after a little while she was rubbing her little body against my legs. I decided I would take her home.
That was the day I found out she DID NOT like being in a carrier. Annabelle about tore up the cardboard carrier the shelter put her in, but as soon as I got her home, Joey immediately took to her, and they became fast friends, bathing one another, sleeping curled next to each other.
After DH and I moved to Dallas, she had two other brothers to hang out with--BlackJack and Kino--and for three years we were all one big happy family. Well, as happy as four cats can be together. There were always spats, but we'd also see Annabelle on the bed curled up with either BlackJack or Joey. DH and I would call her our little "potato on legs," because of her round belly and little stick legs. She would want attention and we'd reach out to pet her, and she would coyly run away. Once we did pet her, though, she stuck around until we were finished scratching her neck and stroking her soft fur.
Annabelle has always been a little shy, and there would be days we wouldn't see her, but she'd always come in and play her little chase game with us.
Last night, I was in the bathroom, and Annabelle came in, meowing softly. This time, she let me pet her without running away. I noticed how thin she'd gotten--really unusual--over the past couple of weeks. She sat on the couch as DH and I petted, her, and I knew something was wrong.
We took her to the emergency vet around 8 pm last night, and they ran tests. For some reason--we don't know why--our Annabelle had quit eating and drinking, and she was in liver failure. The vet said that we could try to keep her alive, but she would have to have a feeding tube, but with three other cats, we knew that was not how she would want to live, and we didn't want to prolong her misery, if only to extend her life by a few months, at best.
So DH and I made the most difficult decision we have ever had to make. We chose to let her go.
He and I stayed until the end, because we didn't want her last moments to be alone, in an unfamiliar place. Even though she was sedated, I hope she somehow felt that we were there with her, stroking her soft head and telling her we loved her and what joy she'd brought to our lives. It was very peaceful, and she slipped away very quietly.
The most difficult thing to watch is the aftermath. Poor Joey keeps walking around looking for her, and he'll just sit in the hallway, as if waiting for her to come around the corner. Even BlackJack and Kino know something isn't right, and they've been skulking around, wondering what is going on.
They will miss her as much as we will.
Rest in peace, my little Annabelle. I hope that your sweet little soul is chasing butterflies.