Friday, November 6, 2009

RIP Armenia, 1995-2009

Well, you really never know what's coming around the corner, do you?

I have a little cold brewing so I left work early yesterday, having spent the previous night in New Jersey. I got to my apartment about 4:30 p.m. When I unlocked the door, Armenia wasn't there to meet me.

I came inside and saw her lying on her side at the foot of the bed. From a distance she looked like she might be asleep, except that she didn't move as I approached. I bent down to touch her, and she was cold and stiff.

It's very strange to touch an animal you know to be warm and soft and cuddly, and instead feel that.

I called Dave and left a long, bewildered message, and then called the vet. I knew I had to get Armenia's body to his office before it closed, or I'd be sleeping with a dead cat all night. I carried her over right away and left her to be cremated.

Now, I'm just in a state of shock. Armenia wasn't young, and she had her share of health problems -- weak kidneys, for example. But she seemed fine on Wednesday morning, when she ate her Fancy Feast as usual and lay purring on my chest as I read. I never, ever expected her to literally drop dead.

My feelings are kind of complicated. I'm not quite sad, though maybe that will come. Armenia and I always had a complex relationship. She was not a warm-hearted cat, and in fact was quite feisty -- she bit me more than once when I did something she didn't like, such as comb her fur. She was almost universally disliked by my friends, who were the targets of her hissing, spitting and cold glares.

But the truth is, she was just insecure. She loved me, she really did. She wasted no opportunity to lie on my chest, and in fact could be quite insistent and annoying about it, regardless of what else I was trying to do at the time. She was a kitten masquerading as a tiger.

I'm happy that she died here at home, and didn't have to endure her last moments in a cold vet's office. She died near the heater where she loved to lie all winter, soaking up warmth.

I'm sorry, though, that she died alone. It seems to have happened quite suddenly and I don't think I could have stopped it. And I'm not sure she'd have wanted me here -- animals instinctively go off by themselves to die, and often seem to prefer it that way. Still, I wish I'd been around.

My apartment now seems very empty.

(Photo: The last picture I took of Armenia, from Monday night. She's annoyed at the flash.)


  1. Wow! What a surprise. But in many ways it seems so much more humane for an animal to die suddenly while lying on the foot of the bed. I'm sorry you didn't get to say goodbye while she was still alive. I'm sure you will miss her, even those feisty bites.

    Will you get another cat? Or a dog? Or just share your love with Ernie and Ruby?

  2. Steve, I am so sorry to hear this. She lived a full and happy life and I know she'll be terribly missed. I am glad your last memories of her were happy ones.

  3. She was a good beast, Stephen. I knew that the moment she crapped on my arm.

    The death of a pet is never easy. I still think about Utah when I'm alone or maybe doing something mundane that allows my mind to drift. Some of that, though is my guilt related to his dying being somehow my choice and not his. Armenia on the other hand, sounds like she decided, maybe in a very Armenia way, that the decision was hers and that was that. Funny how animals, even in their passing, somehow reflect their personalities.

    It'll be weird, but you don't necessarily need me to tell you that. Just remember to talk to people about it if you need to...we're all around you.

  4. I so sorry for your loss, Steve. All my best.

  5. Oh Steve, I'm so sorry to hear this sad news. What a shock! I'm sure it will take awhile for the reality to sink in. In the meantime please know I'm sending love and soothing energy in your direction, wrapping you with protective sweetness and care.

  6. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm not by nature a cat person: technically, I'm allergic. But living with Jim and his eight cats has really changed that. They each have their own personality, and they each "grow on you" in their own way.

    We've lost two cats in the time we've been together. One died at home after a long sickness, and the other we had to put down. Even when you're "expecting it," it always comes as a shock.

  7. Oh, I'm so sorry. :(

    I'm sure that she had a good life, though ... and really, you were both very fortunate that she died quickly and peacefully and at home. That's a humane and honorable way to go, and it's what I hope for Miles.

    You take care.

  8. I'm so sorry that you lost your friend, Steve. Though her sudden death robbed you of the opportunity to say goodbye, at least you didn't have to watch her suffer through a long illness or make any agonizing decisions. It sounds like she had a great life and left you with many special memories. From personal experience, I can tell you that a cuddly kitten or two can greatly speed the healing process, though of course you'll never replace Armenia.

  9. Steve,
    I am sorry to hear about Armenia's passing; you gave her a great life and you took wonderful care of her.
    Sending a huge hug your way, you know whenever you fell the need to talk about it we are here, there, and everywhere for you.

  10. I'm so sorry for your loss, Steve. It's hard to lose a pet, and I don't know what's worse -- having to make the decision to help them out of this life, or find them already gone.

    Let me know if you're interested in a "temporary" loan of a cat, for a year, while my Brooklyn-resident daughter is off to Australia....

  11. hugs to you. saddened to hear about armenia's death. what a shock. 14 years is a long time to have shared your lives, no wonder the apartment seems empty.

    sending sweet thoughts your way.

  12. Oh Armenia's gone!! I know you will miss her sorely but far worse things could have happened to her at the end of her days.
    Much sympathy
    Ms Soup

  13. I'm sorry to hear this, Steve! Of course you are in shock. Let me know if you need an ear. Losing a pet of fourteen years is difficult, but I know she was grateful for the love and home you provided.

    I hope you saw my birthday greeting???

    Take care and best to Dave.

  14. Sad news. Sorry to hear this.

  15. rest in peace Sister. xxxooo

    she poked my human once, but it a nice way with no claws out.