This week Leif and I lost our beloved Luna. We would have gladly spent another 10 years with her, but it seemed that her stop had finally come. The speed of it was a bitter blessing. On Sunday night, we noticed her breathing was abnormally forced, and by Monday morning we confirmed she really hadn’t been eating, was lethargic and barely reacting, her breathing heavy and pained. We would put our ears to her little rib cage, and she would immediately start purring so loudly that we couldn’t actually hear her breathing. The vet on the phone was categorical: breathing trouble is very serious. By late morning we had a car and were driving to the emergency veterinary hospital in the west of the island. We barely explained the problem before they took her little carrier and told us to go wait in the car, and that they would call us when they figured something out. It was a bit shocking because we weren’t expecting to suddenly be separated from her, even though it was totally obvious that due to the pandemic, strict distanciation protocols are enforced for good reason. We were terrified that she would die and we wouldn’t be there with her in her final moments.

We spent most of Monday and Tuesday waiting for answers in a shadeless parking lot in the middle of an industrial zone during a heatwave. Every phone call which trickled in every two or three hours brought worse and worse news. Pleural effusion, lesions, cancer, lung cancer, terminal. She needed a procedure to alleviate her pain, and overnight observation after her blood pressure crashed. And then another procedure to stabilize her. We desperately wanted to see her before she died, and with her prognosis we thought the best we could hope for was to bring her home and spend — at first we hoped for a week — a couple more days with her. Finally, late Tuesday night, she was returned to us after having spent well over 36 hours in the emergency, shaved and hurt, full of drugs and so very loopy.

Her last night with us was as adorable as it was excruciating. She was still recovering from the sedatives and procedures yet so happy to be home. She drunkenly inspected every corner of the apartment with interest and kept head-butting us with affection. We didn’t sleep that night. We watched her doze on our bed, and then observed her listening for mice in the kitchen. At dawn, I spent time with her on the rug in the living room, and then she and I watched the chirping birds wake up in the lilac tree at dawn together, where I watched her tail swishing from excitement for what I knew was the last time. We’d wanted days with her but by early morning Leif and I knew we were prolonging the inevitable. She was in a lot of pain, her breathing still bad, and unable to sleep. But she was stoic to the last. Until 6:30 that Wednesday morning, her chief concern was following us around, exploring, and watching for birds and mice — a mouser ‘till the end, as Leif said.

Luna was the best cat, and she was beloved. Her favourite human was Leif, but I like to think she and I had become good friends over the years too. She was affectionate and smart and the most wonderful little shadow. And she seemed to understand my own boundaries around physical affection in a way that few animals I’ve spent a lot of time with have.

She was a special, lovely creature.

Comme j'ai écrit le jour même:

Impossible de décrire mes émotions autre que la gratitude envers cette boule d'amour qui est rentrée dans ma vie pour la changer à tout jamais. Merci d'avoir passé un dernier lever de soleil avec moi sur le balcon, à regarder les moineaux. Tu es maintenant avec les chasseresses de l'histoire, ma belle, à courir pour toujours après les souris. Repose en paix, Luna, notre petite chasseresse.