Saturday, October 4, 2008

The End

Isabella died on Sunday September 21, 2008.

I've been waiting for the right time and the right inspiration to write this final entry but I don't think that time will ever truly come. So today, on the day that I buried Isabella's ashes, I am closing this blog.

I want to be clear about one thing: diabetes was not the cause of her death. Although I don't specifically know why she declined over her last ten days, I do know it wasn't diabetes. Because she was walking with so much discomfort, and eating so little, and in the end, breathing with such difficulty, I speculate that the cancer, though small at the surface, was likely doing unseen bad things. It may have spread to her lungs. I don't know and never will.

What I do know is that Isabella was a cat who lived life on her own terms. She had her ideas about how things would be and was not shy about letting me (or anyone) know when something wasn't to her liking. She bit me many, many times. I would have preferred some other means of communication (litter box hieroglyphics, anyone?), but that was Isabella. She didn't care one whit about how someone else felt - she cared first and only about herself.

Isabella behaved uniformly horridly to anyone who came to the house. She glared at, hissed at, swatted, and occasionally sank her teeth into my friends and family. No one, and I mean no one, could understand why (or how) I treated both cancer and diabetes in my mean kitty. My father took particular delight in antagonizing her. He'd gleefully thrust out his scratched and bitten forearm: Look what your cat did to me! I'd just roll my eyes. Certainly after more than a decade he knew better. Sometimes I thought Isabella was more well behaved than he.

Under her snarky, cantankerous, feisty attitude, Isabella was a very loyal kitty. If I was home, she was with me or at least nearby. She slept on my bed every night with only two exceptions: right before she was diagnosed with diabetes and right before she died. Her loyalty bloomed early in kittenhood - once leading her right into the refrigerator when I opened it. Unlucky for her, I didn't see her climb in. Lucky for her, I did miss my little velcro kitten in short order (where'd that cat go?) and opened the fridge to find her sitting next to the cottage cheese like it was the most normal place in the world for her to be. Her habit of walking through any door I opened taught me to account for all cats before leaving the house - and many times saved her from closet and cupboard incarceration.

Isabella lived her nine lives well. She beat vaccine-associated fibrosarcoma for more than three years. She laughed in the face of diabetes. And she escaped the wrath of the many, many people she abused, some whom would have abused her in return had I ever turned my back.

Through her personality Isabella taught me tolerance. Through her diabetes I learned patience and how to let go of things I could not fully control. (OK, if I'm being honest, maybe not so much on curing my inner control freak). Isabella also led me to the wonderful and wise community of the Feline Diabetes Message Board, where lots of other control freaks (admit it, people!) struggle, and laugh, and learn about caring for a diabetic cat. I am grateful for the guidance and friendship I found there.

Isabella, my little punkie, you were demanding and uncompromising for every minute of your 13 years. I loved you and I will miss you forever.

Sometimes, she was just so darn cute.