Our cat, Marley, died today.
If you've been reading the old blog for a long time then you may recall how we came to adopt Marley. He showed up on our doorstep in 2007 as a sweet, but very bedraggled kitty. He was thin, pretty much starving, and his long luxurious coat of hair was full of burrs and sticks and had bare patches.
However, he was such an affectionate animal that we immediately knew that he'd once been someone's pet. Initially, we thought he was a girl and named him "Molly". The day after we took him into our home we drove him to our vet for a visit. She informed us that "Molly" was, in fact, a neutered male. Well, we'd at least been right in assuming that he'd been someone's pet. A cat so gentle and affectionate had to have been once accustomed to being loved and petted.
Our son, Andy, renamed him "Marley" in honor of the great musician Bob Marley, with whom our new cat companion bore more than a passing resemblance.
The vet, having done the blood work on Marley, informed us that he had feline leukemia. The bad news was that it could fell him at any moment. The good news was that it might take years to return. (But that if it did return, it was essentially a death sentence.)
Well, after two and a half years with us, Marlye's leukemia reemerged. We'd noticed for the past month that Marley seemed to be losing a little weight.
One thing that we always noticed about Marley was that he loved hot weather, despite his long, thick coat of hair. He hated rain and cold, but hot weather was something that didn't bug him at all. Marley has always been an indoor-outdoor kitty. He loved to hang out with us, but come evening he generally wanted out to go roaming. Sometimes he'd return within an hour or so (we'd hear his little paws tapping on the sliding glass door), or sometimes he'd come back in the morning at first light. More often, he would wait for Carole to come home from her night shift at the hospital maternity ward.
Marley had an internal clock. He knew just when Carole would come home. And when she did he would sometimes pop out of the sewer access in front of the house (he loved to go down there, for some reason), or he would emerge from the shrubs. Each time he would greet Carole with a huge, throaty "MEOW!" and would come inside with her. He really loved Carole. And Carole loved Marley.
Last night Marley was so sick and weak that he could barely move around the house. He'd stand up and wobble and literally fall over. We saw a mark on his back and thought that maybe he'd been in a fight and had an infection. So we rushed him to the vet today.
But it wasn't a wound infection. The leukemia had come roaring back and Marley's systems were just shutting down. He was so sick and so miserable that all he could do was pant and cry. Our vet thought that the most humane thing to do was give him an injection and let him go.
So we gave her permission to do so.
We stayed with him and petted him and told him how much we loved him until he was gone. Carole cried and took it hard. It wasn't much easier for me.