Hester died at 1:15 today. I would like to tell you her story.
Hester and Pops and Boo and Mae and Jacob, came to SAINTS about a year and a half ago. Mae and Jacob have already passed and Hester joined them today. They came from another overextended rescuer, a conservative count was more than 100 cats in a small one bedroom apartment. They all were sick, had very sore mouths and were covered with ringworm and lice. I nicknamed them the Plague Cats. While Boo was only about twelve, the others were all more than 15. Hester was almost 17 yrs old when she died today. Her name was Hoop when she got here, all of them had names that I just couldn't stand. I have no idea where she or the others had come from, before they were homeless in a place too full. But they came here and it has been an ongoing struggle with Pops and Boo to keep them going sometimes. Hester was always a sweet cat, but she was a bit of a baby. At night she layed curled up under my quilt against me and squealed if anyone accidently stepped on the lump that was her. Funny how all of those cats claimed a corner here that was theirs alone. Hester my bed, Jacob our shoulders, Boo the computer, Mae the covered cat bed, and Pops as always, guarding the kitchen sink. I sometimes wonder if any of these cats, ever had a good home where they once belonged. Hester has been failing for months, despite a good appetite, she was fading away. Her thyroid was ok, her kidneys not great, but she was just starting to wear done and fade away. Last weekend when she got sick, i realized how much that I loved her. Sometimes you take those small warm bodies pressed up against you at night for granted. But this week i remembered and she so patiently accepted my caring for her, feeding her, rehydrating her and trying to make her better. Today when I took her to the vet, the vet could see, just like I did how bright was that one good eye, peacefully looking back. She was comfortable on her pain meds, she was holding her own against the virus that brought her low and no secondary bacterial infection had breached our defense. But she still would not eat or drink. she would purr and cuddle, she would rub her head against my hand, she would willingly accept my care. But she could not come any further back from the brink and held there toddering, waiting for me to decide. The vet offered the option of a stomach feeding tube and i know Hester would not have faulted me if I had tried. But at 16 yrs old and frail as she was, I decided to help her to go instead.
So, I pulled her little body towards me, and I hugged her into my chest like she loved, and with a faint and rumbling purring against my heart, I watched her peacefully let go.
Many, many of the deaths here sadden me. None of them should die in my arms. For all of them I want something better, like a home and a family of their own. But for Hester and the two remaining plague cats, I think that for them, passing from here is not so very sad.