Priscilla, Queen of Everything

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A long time ago I lived in a really crappy neighborhood.  And this cat showed up and looked so pitiful that I had to feed her, she was so raggedy and sad.

I told my friend Mark about her and he decided to take her in.  Somehow he remembers the date:  July 25, 1997.

That cat.  Mark took her to the vet and she got the Cadillac treatment.  She needed some expensive dental work among other things, and Mark commented that she was gold-plated now.  So she remained in my head:  Priscilla, the Gold-Plated Cat.

A few months of good grub and her coat came in.  Gone was the raggedy little thing.  She had the most glorious, soft, luxurious coat.

Today Mark had to say goodbye to her.  Her little body finally wore out.  He gave her the calm, gracious exit that we all deserve.  Here is his farewell to her:

On July 25, 1997, a friend of mine, Debra Robertson, rescued a starving stray kitty and offered me the chance to become a cat dad. At the time, I think Deb and I had watched the very slightly offbeat movie, “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”. The poor recovering stray kitty didn’t have any voice left due to outdoor misadventure. She had this really gravelly voice, like one would expect from a drag queen who had spent their entire life in a smoky bar. She even had big hair. Thus I dubbed stray kitty as Priscilla. Made sense at the time… You had to be there.

For the first two weeks she spent the entire time under the sofa in the living room. I had to sit down next to the sofa every night after work to talk to her and set out tempting treats. Eventually she acclimated and laid claim to the house. She and I have had many adventures in moving and home projects over the years. She had developed into a very social cat that worked the room when guests came over. Quite the Deva.

She helped to keep me grounded during some very difficult times. Cats (and dogs) are very much in the moment. There is very little worry about abstract concepts like grief, aging, or fear of job loss. They persevere because that is what life tells them to do and they take joy in the moment.

She had a few close calls and emergency visits to the vet, but overall she maintained very good health in her advanced years. Not being able to climb the fence anymore, she was content to patrol the backyard. I had landscaped many trees and bushes back there for stealthy rodent ambushing. The pond became her favorite water supply and source of entertainment.

Over the last few months Priscilla had been steadily declining. I knew things were changing and time was catching up. This week she took a further turn and stopped eating. Last night she let me know that it was time. I spent the whole night going back and forth on what to do. I didn’t want to be premature if she was still enjoying life. But I also wanted to do right by her and not make her go through further discomfort. Her systems were shutting down and she couldn’t get comfortable.

Today we had our last morning ritual together. Something we’ve been doing for years. We made our way to the pond, sat for coffee in the garden, then had treats on the patio (her favorite chicken & gravy baby food).

The very kind vet lady came over at 8am and explained the process. We went upstairs to Priscilla, rather than move her about. Priscilla passed away on the bed, on her favorite fake fur blanket, receiving scritches and pets. There was no fear, pain, or unfamiliar surroundings. It was very peaceful.

The vet wrapped her in a special blanket and took her to the crematorium. I plan to have a memorial marker made and will place it in one of her favorite spots in the garden. I miss her even now.

When I get home from work tonight I will begin the process of cleaning up/packing/throwing out all the things I’ve grown accustomed to supporting; food dish, water bowl, litter box, toys, and favorite blankets. It already feels strange. It’s going to be a rough week.”

Rest in peace, beautiful, merciless Priscilla.  Until we meet again.
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