Today is a sad day at Ravenseyrie. Our dear friend, Siamese (we say it like its a formal name: Sy Meese) died at 1:15am after an all day vigil yesterday alternating between Kevin and I. His last breath was on Kevin's watch...which is fitting as Kevin is the greater cat person of the two of us.
Siamese has always been prone to being overweight. He had lost weight after moving to the island, but never seemed to lose his saggy belly. In late April, we noticed that saggy belly had ballooned and Siamese seemed to be struggling to pass stools, but in all other ways seemed like himself. After several days of no alteration in the situation, we took him to the veterinarian. They palpated a mass, the diagnosis was lymphoma, they gave little hope for recovery, even if we elected to have the tumor removed.
We brought him home and dedicated ourselves to being especially sweet and doting. The first week after the diagnosis, having seen him defecate, remain active and enjoy his meals, I began to hope that he could grab one of those famous "nine lives" and the cancer would go into a remission and the tumor miraculously dissolve. But...this week, he went downhill day by day, and I knew...this mid-teens stray kitty who adopted us so many years ago was fixing to leave us now.
He gave up eating but decided a bit of water from time to time was okay. Then he eschewed even water, and got promptly weaker almost overnight and soon lost good motor control--and yet, he would still managed to move himself from one favorite spot to another, even managing to climb the cat-ramp leading to the cat-flap in the basement window so that he could go outside.
He desired to be close to us, remaining a part of each day's usual activities--he wanted things to keep moving even though he wasn't as actively involved. He would purr his appreciation with every light caress and special time of cuddling.
Last night was the first night he conveyed his obvious discomfort, and that was because he couldn't move himself hardly at all and when he did, I expect it hurt, because he would moan. If he refrained from trying to move, he could cope, and so that is what he did. And he meditated more than slept. And soon, when you touched him, you could feel very little energy meeting your hand. His breathing slowed and great long pauses in between the rising and falling of his diaphragm, until finally, the pause was permanent.
The other two cats and the dogs seemed to know that a transformative process was underway, and they would come and sniff him throughout the day. They all were allowed to spend a little time with him after he was gone.
In the morning, we had our funeral.
Kevin made a space for Siamese's body in one of the many piles of field stone in the grasslands. We picked one that we could see from the window over our kitchen table. Carefully, so as not to crush him, Kevin arranged the stone cairn, while some funeral attendees stayed nearby.
"Cats don't belong to people. They belong to places." --Wright Morris
My nieces, the first to feed him and encourage him to give up the stray-cat life, called Siamese, "don Juan". We also referred to him as "Blue Eyes", or just "Meez".
He was the kind of cat that liked to get right behind you, stealthily, and when you of course stepped on him and jumped in panic, he would give a rather humorous "mew!"--it happened so often I think it was his own quirky game.
The body has slipped away from us, there will be no more accidental stepping upon him...but the spirit of Siamese has claimed the entire landscape here and beyond the shadowy veil between worlds. He will be missed--he will be remembered. How thankful we are to have known such a friendly, funny and incredibly handsome feline!