Gabriel had feline infectious peritonitis.
Cat owners: a swollen belly is a medical emergency for a cat. If it's not FIP, it can be several other unpleasant things.
FIP is lethal and incurable. She was suffering. And it was dangerous for the other cats. Goodbye, dear kitty.
I'm glad it moved fast; she had only one bad day.
Practically her last act was to walk repeatedly over the vet's keyboard, entering her own password onto his computer screen. Many of you have had her secret messages typed into chats. Recently she typed "loki," and on several occasions managed to change the computer's settings.
Despite her technological savvy, she stayed a wild animal to the end: a feral cat who nevertheless loved me and permitted herself to be loved. In these past few years she grew to love housepet
, or at least be willing to cuddle or even sleep with them.
She was always a climbing cat -- she used to leap to the top of my 7-foot bookcases from the 3-foot ones, then to the top of the open door. Then to the top of the armoire, 8 and a half feet above the floor. When she was done napping up there, she would spread herself out like a flying squirrel and glide down to the floor.
Now she has gone to the great woods with all the other cats: Targy and Possum, Mad Max (Beyond Thunderpurr), Marlowe and Eqypt, Pyewacket the polydactyl.
The Heaven of Animals
By James L. Dickey
Here they are. The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.
Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.
To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field.
For some of these,
It could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done,
But with claws and teeth grown perfect,
More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey
May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life,
Their reward: to walk
Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain
At the cycle’s center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.
James Dickey, “The Heaven of Animals” from The Whole Motion: Collected Poems 1945-1992. Copyright © 1992 by James Dickey.