Monday, July 11, 2011

Hailey Mae July 13, 1993 - July 2, 2011

It was June 7, 1993, I had just returned from a trip south and had one more day left of vacation.  It was sunny and bright out and I relished spending the day in the sun.  Then I got a call from a friend of mine who lived in Washington and she was in town and wanted to go to lunch.  Perfect.  After getting ready I headed out the door and I noticed my cat, Gretchen, following me down the stairs. I thought it was funny that she seemingly didn’t want me out of her site after being gone a couple weeks.  I got in my car and spent 3-4 minutes with the engine running searching for the beginning of a song on the tape,  (remember those days?) then I put the car in gear and started to back out.  I immediately heard a sound I will never forget, a scream, and I instantly knew I had run over my cat. 

Eying the treats that are above her
Fast forward a month or so and my friend Caroline told me about some kittens a friend of hers had.  She took me to their house one night and I picked one out but the kitten wasn’t old enough to bring home.  Caroline seemed determined to get me a replacement cat but my heart wasn’t really in it.  I was worried I wasn’t ready yet and worried if I got one too soon I’d never bond with it.  Non-pet people usually assume when you lose a pet any old animal will do in its place.  I can tell you it doesn’t work like that with pets anymore than it does with humans.  They have such different little personalities and Gretchen I had definitely been in synch.  I loved that cat more than anything in my life and I was the only mama she knew. So I wasn’t really sure when the day came that I brought Hailey home. 

I shouldn’t have worried.  She had me from ‘meow’.  From the moment she arrived I was her mommy and she didn’t want me out of her sight.  She’d sit on the bathtub edge and cry when I was in the shower.  She’d sleep on my pillow.  I’d wake up in the middle of the night and just look at this cute little buddle of fur.  One of the cutest pictures I have of her was when she was a little bitty thing and I was sick.  One afternoon I fell asleep on the couch with my box of Kleenex next to me and when I woke there was Hailey inside the Kleenex box.  It was adorable. 

One of her kitten hood misadventures happened when she and Hillary were playing with a ball of yarn.  I had gone to lunch with a friend and when I returned it took me a few minutes to realize she wasn’t around.  And then I saw her...she was so tangled up in that yarn she literally couldn’t move a muscle and it was wrapped tightly around her neck.  That was the last time yarn was used as a cat toy in my house.

Her claim to fame was her ability to get plastic lids off.  Treats always came in containers with plastics lids and she was a pro.  I had to hid treats where she couldn't get them lest she open it up and eat the whole can.  One day I came home and she had gotten a can of Slim Fast powder off the counter and the lid off. She must have thought anything with a plastic lid was cat treats so she must have been sorely disappointed to go through all that work only to discover a weight loss powder....which I was vacuuming up for months out of my lovely 70s orange shag carpet.

I always had 1-2 other cats throughout her whole life and she was always my favorite.  I really loved that cat, everything she did was just so cute to me.  Unlike Hillary who sought to win Chris over when he joined our household, Hailey wanted nothing to do with him.  She was always a one person cat.  Somewhere along the line I gave her a middle name and always called her “Hailey Mae”......she was really very special.    But cats in old age can be as cantankerous as humans in old age and she was grumpy in recent years, compounded by the fact she did not ever befriend the two new cats or the dog.  She became increasingly isolated in the dog kennel.  She also quit grooming herself and developed mats of hair all over and she stunk.  She quit eating proper cat food and would only eat cat treats.  And she had stomach problems which translates into massive amounts of vomit......everywhere.  Then she started wetting herself so last Saturday I finally made the decision to end her life.  She was 18 years old and she had seen me through a lot of life.  I was pretty confident I was doing the right thing as I drove to the clinic and did fine as I was explaining my decision to the vet.  But the moment I bent down to kiss her goodbye I was hit with a wave of emotion that just about knocked me to my knees.  It was such a visceral reaction that I did not expect.  Emotions are a funny thing, even when you think you have them all boxed up and put away they can knock you for a loop. 

So here’s to you my sweet feline friend, rest in peace.

1 comment:

  1. She was a beautiful cat! Thank goodness Caroline persisted!