This morning I was sitting at my computer in the room after just having gotten out of bed, checking my e-mail. My wife came in and said in a serious tone, “Fievel is gone.” She was trying to be tough, but then she sat down on my knee and broke down, saying that she was so sad. So, I asked where Fievel was, and she told me that he was in the living room, in a small box she had lined with towels so he could rest in the sunlight while she was cooking lunch.
We went out to the living room and I saw the box sitting on the couch. I shifted the towels and saw Fievel laying there on his side. He could have been sleeping, but his chest wasn’t moving. I poked at him a bit, tickled his belly and rubbed the back of his head, but he didn’t move. So, I picked him up and listened for breath and felt for a heartbeat, but he truly was dead.
We got Fievel just over a week ago. Someone had abandoned him in a pile of garbage and one of my wife’s coworkers picked him up. Well, actually her dog picked him up, but she brought him home, and my wife, being the cat lover that she is, volunteered to take Fievel in, in the hopes that he would recover. She went over to her friend’s house after a long day at work and brought Fievel home.
When I first saw Fievel he was in pretty bad shape. He was filthy and crying. He was crapping blood and struggling weakly. He cried quite a bit too. We did what we could for him. We gave him a bath in warm water to clean him up and made sure he ate. The strange thing was that he didn’t want to eat. We had to force him to drink special kitten milk that we got for him. For a few days Fievel seemed to improve. The bloody crapping stopped and he seemed to get stronger, but then I noticed that he had a serious infection in one of his eyes. There was quite a bit of pus, which I tried my best to clean up. He still seemed to be doing ok though, and I still had hopes he might recover. Yesterday though, my opinion of the situation changed. Fievel had been keeping his infected eye closed, which is understandable, but yesterday I noticed that he was keeping both of his eyes closed and when I checked I realized that the infection had spread. He couldn’t walk anymore either. When he tried to, he would fall over and then he seemed too weak to be able to get up. He would try, then fall back over and pass out where he was. I talked to Margee about it and we were considering whether taking him to the vet was a good idea, or whether it was just too late. Then this morning, my wife took him to the living room to get some sun. She sat there for a bit, petting him, and he seemed to take comfort from that. He meowed weakly a few times and settled into the towel, and then he died.
At least we can be satisfied that we took him in and gave him a chance to live, when someone else had simply thrown him in the garbage. We kept him as comfortable as we could and made sure that he was fed. We held him often, because he liked it so much. He even purred when cradled in one of our arms, which I thought was amusing. The kitten was so small, but it already knew how to purr. One of our other cats, Dapper, was finally getting over her jealousy and was taking a liking to Fievel. She would stop by the carrier we were keeping him in to check on him, and would often walk up and give Fievel a few sniffs when he was exploring the floor. So, at least Fievel died comfortable and knowing that someone was caring for him. How cruel would it have been to leave him in the trash, to die alone in the heat, or to be eaten by something?
My wife prepared a shoebox and I gently laid Fievel into it. Then she covered him with a cloth and some newspaper and then I taped up the box, and wrote a few words on it. While she went to finish preparing lunch, I took Fievel out and placed him into the trash chute. It seemed a wrong and almost disrespectful way to send him on his way, but where in Singapore do you bury pets? It doesn’t matter much though, Fievel was already gone. Still, I hesitated when it came time to push the chute closed.
I suppose he chose a good time to go. My wife happened to be off from work today. At least she was here to spend some time with him and she got to see him off. I’m sure she would have felt worse if she had been at work and I had told her what had happened when she got home. We didn’t have Fievel long, but he had become part of our little family. I was never too interested in cats, but it’s hard to have any pet and see it die, no matter how short a time you’ve had it. It’s even harder to have a young pet die on you. This is the first time I remember having a pet pass away on me since my hamster died in Germany when I was a kid. I still remember my dad burying it in the woods there. I’m consoled by the fact that we did our best for Fievel and he died comfortably.