I know it’s Halloween. I had planned to repost a very Halloween-ish story today about Younger Daugther’s Magic cat. But I lost my DiMarno on Friday. So I will devote today to him.
It’s odd that I had just written the post about how when DiMarno moved on Pipes would join my cat family. DiMarno has looked so bad for so long that I certainly did not anticipate his passing any time soon. Well, I knew he couldn’t keep surviving in that body, but I thought it might be months more before he would make the transition. He surely caught me off guard. For one thing, on Thursday night he was exactly the same as he’s been for a long time. He ate his supper and he joined us in bed. On Friday morning he was lying on a bench in front of a window, absorbing some sunshine. I went to work at my kennel and cathouse. When I came back in the house about mid-morning, I noticed that DiMarno had had diarrhea in the floor and was lying beside it. He stopped using a litter box some time back (and we just dealt with it), but it was odd for him to just be lying there. I cleaned it up and put him back on his window bench then I went back to work. When I came to the house for lunch, I found DiMarno in one of the chairs in the catio. It was a beautiful day, but a bit of a breeze was blowing through the catio, and with DiMarno now so skinny, I was afraid he might be too cold. So I covered him with a blanket and had my lunch. The thing is, there is a certain cabinet in the kitchen that houses the containers of dog and cat treats. Whenever that cabinet opens, I am suddenly surrounded by animals. Bailey and Rube are too hard of hearing to know when I’m in that cabinet, and some of my cats don’t care about treats. But the others always gather round. DiMarno always came trotting into the room when the treat cabinet opened. I opened that cabinet after my lunch. No DiMarno.
I went to check on him and he was still in the catio chair, covered with the little blanket. Suddenly I was worried. This was completely out of character. For the next hour, as I did some chores in the house, I carried DiMarno on the cushion from room to room with me. I was upstairs when I saw him jerk and roll off his cushion. I went to him and put him back on the cushion, and that’s when the dying process started.
You know, I’ve taken so many animals to my vet clinic when I’ve known the end has come. I choose euthanasia because I don’t want suffering at the end. Here I was, suddenly faced with DiMarno’s death and too late to bring euthanasia into the picture. His breathing became immediately labored and I knew we were entering the beginning of the end. I sat with my old boy until he took his last breath. Through the whole thing, I wasn’t crying. I put my face against his over and over. I kept talking to him, telling him how much I loved him, what a huge part of this family he was, and for him to please just let go and get out of that body. When he took his last breath, I continued to just sit there on the floor beside his body. I wasn’t talking anymore. There was a deafening silence in the room.
When the tears finally came, they were a mixed bag – both good and bad. On the one hand, good – good that he was finally out of that ravaged body. But on the other hand, that deep ache that comes with loss. I had flashes of that little kitten in the ditch – mouth wide open screaming as we drove by and just happened to see him. Flashes of getting him back from his adopter who died of cancer. Flashes of his extremely sensitive nature and need for peace in the house. Flashes of him coming all the way up to my pillow just the night before to get a few chin scratches. I came downstairs and sat here at the computer. But I couldn’t type. I thought starting his story might bring me some relief, but nothing would come. So I wandered around the house for a few minutes. Everything felt off. Suds had been gone a couple of months, and I had turned so much of my attention to DiMarno. Now he was gone, too. Even with all of my other animals right there, the house felt completely empty.
We buried DiMarno right beside Suds. Over the weekend, I’ve been able to feel the relief I knew I’d feel - he is no longer trying to survive in that severely depleted body. Fly free, my beautiful DiMarno boy. I know you and Suds have joined our other family members at the Rainbow Bridge.
DiMarno – Farewell.