Artemis 2005-2014 Many of you might recall my cat Artemis, whom I've posted about here from time to time. Some of you were kind enough to help me financially to get her to a vet during my long period of unemployment a little while back. (and again, thanks to each of you)
So I should tell you that last Monday, Artemis died after a month's illness, starting with a mysterious lump appearing suddenly on her head. She soon after stopped eating--she had an appetite but threw up if she tried to eat, so would only go to her dish, think about it a moment, then walk away sad, getting thinner and thinner. I had to put wet food in her mouth myself for the last 3 weeks. She'd eat it then, but wouldn't on her own.
The vet was still putting her through tests when she eventually dehydrated last Monday, going into gasps all morning. I stayed home from my day job, trying my best to comfort her. The only thing she liked at that moment was being brushed, so I just kept brushing her. I don't think her fur was ever smoother. She would take no food at all. But she still hung on.We already had an appointment for her later that day, but had managed to move it up. She tried. She fought to the end. There had been more than a few scares with her over the years, some
(most, really) very recent, and she'd said "fuck you" to death each time. Artemis was
the Cat That Wouldn't Give Up. She had just recovered all her weight and fur from last year's illness, and had never been so happy and content in her life. Then one day, a lump out of nowhere at the base of her poor little skull, because if there's a god he's pretty damn cruel, I guess, and all that soon went away. The damndest thing can change in an instant. We put her in the carrier to take her to the vet. And then she suddenly died, just like that, when I left the room a few moments to visit the restroom before we left. And so the stupidest thing possible kept me from being with her when it happened. She didn't even really look dead. I had to keep checking that she had really stopped breathing. She just looked confused that her body had given up. There was so little left of what had once been a very big and healthy cat. We buried her next to Sunny. It was one of the worst days I remember since...Sunny died, really.
Artemis when she was still big and healthy, late 2012, Berkeley CA.
And so, along with Sunny just a little over a year ago, both the cats I came here with, who have been with me for years, are dead. They were just about the only friends I had in my five years in Seattle, and Artemis had been with me since 2006 in Chicago. Sunny was somewhat old, older than I had known. But Artemis wasn't even ten.
And she was the most devoted, loving cat I've ever seen. An ex-girlfriend once remarked, "Artemis doesn't 'love you.' She's 'in love with you.'" I used to call her my little stalker.
The one-year-old Charlie is still about, of course. And he's pretty sad. I tried to stop him, but he saw Artemis' corpse and sniffed at it before we could cover it. I don't know how a kitten takes such a thing. I'm hoping he's still young and shallow enough to let it pass. They had gotten very close.
I still expect to keep seeing her.
She was the sweetest, bravest and gentlest cat I ever knew
and I don't feel I ever appreciated her as much as she deserved. And
I'll miss her, hard. ___________________
"Eternity in the company of Beelzebub, and all of his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me & this pencil." --E. Blackadder, 1789 Questionable
words & pictures from John Linton Roberson