Yesterday was a sad day for us. Our cat, little Ms. Watson, had been doing poorly, and when we took her to the vets, the diagnosis was liver cancer. As Ms. Watson had lost one pound in three weeks—a lot for a cat who only weighs twelve pounds—and had stopped eating, we decided to have her put down. Clif and I decided there was no sense in prolonging her misery, and our vet agreed.
Still, how hard it is to watch a beloved pet die, and I made use of the tissues in our vet’s office. We stayed to the very end, patting Ms. Watson’s head and talking to her. She was fourteen years old and had lived a long life, but we were hoping to have her for a few more years. We always want more, don’t we?
Ms. Watson was one of the sweetest cats we have ever had, but she came to us as an afterthought. Fourteen years ago, I went to the local humane shelter to pick up an orange kitten I had seen listed on their website. (I have a special fondness for orange cats.) In the cage with the orange kitten was his litter mate, a little black and white female.
The man working at the desk said, “I’ll give you two for the price of one.”
“Okay,” I said, figuring the kittens would keep each other company, and home I came with the orange kitten—Sherlock—and his black and white sister—Ms. Watson.
As it turned it out, Sherlock was a real handful. On a good day, you might call him “a character.” On a bad day, well never mind that. Let’s just say Sherlock was an alpha cat supreme, and he never let Ms. Watson forget who was in charge. Bullying would not be too strong a word to describe how he treated her.
Ms. Watson, on the other hand, was a sweetheart from beginning to end. Two years ago, when Sherlock was partly paralyzed and lying on the kitchen floor, Ms. Watson slowly approached him and gave him one, two, three soft licks on the head. (A little later, I took Sherlock to the vets to be put down, and, yes, I cried for him, too.) I think Ms. Watson understood how sick Sherlock was and was showing her sympathy.
Not surprisingly, Ms. Watson loved being an only cat. She became queen of the house and could roam freely without fear of being bullied by Sherlock. At night, when I watched T.V., my lap was her favorite place. She became very talkative, meowing her greetings or her displeasure, depending on the situation. In the morning, when I turned on our gas heater, she came running to sit by it and absorb the warmth.
However, the happiest day of Ms. Watson’s life was when our daughter Dee came to stay with us in the summer of 2021. Dee is a cat lover, and Ms. Watson, usually very shy, decided that Dee was her special person. Each morning, before Dee got up, Ms. Watson would be waiting by the door, and as soon as Dee opened it, Ms. Watson meowed her greeting. She often stayed in Dee’s room during the day, keeping Dee company while she worked remotely. It was a mutual admiration society, and Dee loved Ms. Watson as much as Ms. Watson loved Dee.
Ms. Watson’s passing is the end of an era for us. For the first time since we moved into this house—nearly forty years ago—we do not have any pets. For various reasons, we don’t plan on getting another cat, and this makes Ms. Watson’s passing all the more poignant.
Farewell, Ms. Watson. How we miss you. You will be in our hearts forever.