Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Saying Goodbye: 212/365

Today, I said goodbye to my fifteen year-old calico cat.  In college, a friend's cat, Mango, had babies, and I adopted the runt of the litter.  Her mother protested, grabbing her by the scruff of her neck and dragging her up the staircase.  She was malnourished and flea-ridden, but I happily nursed her back to health as we both became acquainted in my first apartment.  At first I thought she was a girl, so I named her,"Daisy."  Then she appeared to be a boy, so I named her, "Doobie." By the time I learned her supposed penis was a hernia, the name had already stuck.

Doobs was a spunky alley cat, navigating her first few years in the VCU district and the next few roaming west of the Boulevard.  I was concerned about her safety in the city, but it made her so happy.  My mom reminded me that it was a quality of life issue, since when she stayed indoors she whined incessantly, waiting to join her fellow gang kitties outdoors on the porch.

Years past, I married, we moved several places, yet she continued to be my first baby until six years later, my first child was born.  Doobs tolerated my son, but by the time my daughter came less than two years later, she started showing some attitude.  Often, she would turn her back to us when she wanted attention, making us plead for eye contact by calling her name in embarrassingly high tones.  Once she deemed us worthy, she'd hop up on our lap, kneading and purring.

Over a year ago my son was diagnosed with severe asthma and hospitalized twice.  I had to make the hard decision to find another home for her.  It wasn't even a day that I had posted about her on Facebook, when our sweet friend, Wendy Allred said she wanted to adopt her.  I couldn't believe the generosity of my friend who was a full-time working mother of two.  She insisted that Doobs would be a perfect fit  since their family cat, Penelope, was older, too.

Doobs loved her new home and family.  She had two sweet boys to dote on her and a sweet, loving, second mama and dad. We missed her, and I still sometimes think I hear her clawing or meowing in the house, but my son's breathing continued to improve.  Last winter we all learned that Doob's kidneys were failing after noticing a signifiant weight loss.  As spring came, she started losing her appetite and required subcutaneous fluid therapy, which Wendy and often her son, Jacob, would help administer.

After a hospitalization a few weeks ago to give her more IV fluids, she seemed to perk up, but the last few days she stopped eating and drinking.  The once plump kitty that weighed over twenty pounds had gone down to almost five.  Wendy called me yesterday and we both agreed it was probably time.

I met Wendy at the veterinarian's office this afternoon, thinking that I would be ready, as time had mentally prepared me.  However, when I pulled up beside my friend in the parking lot, we both just looked at each other through the car windows, crying.  After hugging, we carried our cat inside, and petted her in between tears.  The vet came in and agreed that saying good-bye was the kindest thing we could do, since we had tried everything else.  It could happen naturally in the next few days at home, but there was no need for her to suffer.

The vet gave her the first injection and we continued to stroke her, telling her how much we loved her and how much she meant to both of our families. Minutes after the second injection, she was gone. I cried for the life she lived, her spunky spirit, all the lives she had touched, but most of all for this woman standing beside me, who had taken part of my family, into her home, even after losing two animals in the past three years, and loving her like there was no tomorrow.

Doobie Daisy Robertson Whitehurst Allred is buried beside the other two beloved Allred pets, Holmes and Kitty Kelly.  I am forever grateful to a family that loves without fear.  Wendy, Ken, Jacob, and Harrison, you are an incredible, inspiring bunch, that has been nothing but a blessing for our family.  Thank you for loving our kitty so much, I will never forget what you have done for us all.


  1. There are tears in my coffee.

    Hugs for you and yours.


  2. *sniffle*
    This is a horrible and sweet post all at the same time.
    It sounds to me like Doobie was a very lucky kitty to be loved and cared for so much.
    I'm sorry that you are going through this.

  3. Wow, just reading this. What an amazing tribute and I'm so sorry for the loss. Like Misha, I am crying a bit for Doobie.

  4. So sorry for both your family and Wendy's. What a lucky cat to have two families to love.

  5. I'm so sorry for your loss. This was such a nice tribute to her.