Death, fear, tragedy—these are indisputable elements of life. I know that. The rational, reasonable side of me knows that. I accept these facts. In time, I accept these facts. I wanted to believe that I had been given a reprieve after last year. A reprieve for a short while, at least.
Yesterday afternoon Whirl and I put Equus down. Something happened around 2:00 am, Monday morning. He woke up as he often does and hopped off the bed. Whirl also got up and went to check on him— a move done more out of habit than any particular concern. She discovered him to be terrified, seemingly bewildered. Like he had been spooked by something. She made him comfortable in the bathroom and got him some water and woke me up to let me know she suspected something was wrong with Q. Whirl was right.
I got up and joined her. As soon as I had, Q suffered the first of what would be three violent grand mal seizures within the hour’s time it took us to get him to the emergency vet. The veterinarians did a comprehensive battery of blood tests and urinalysis. They took x-ray pictures. They could find no obvious causes: no infections or hormonal imbalances, nothing wrong with any of his major organs. They kept him for a few hours – until our regular vet opened—and we carefully transferred Q back close to home.
He never recovered. — He had lost his eyesight immediately preceding the first seizure. He would not respond to light or movement of any kind. He lost his balance. He was unable to stand. He lost coordination. We believe he lost most of his hearing. Always a vocal cat, he uncharacteristically made not a sound. He just was not there. Nor was he ever going to be there. Treatment was going to involve either MRIs and exploratory brain surgery or phenobarbital. I’ve been through the hell of the former. The latter would have likely wrecked his already fairly delicate liver. Both avenues promised very little chance of meaningful recovery.
The likeliest cause is trauma—a stroke or possibly a tumor.
While I do not want to be: I am violently heartbroken. Maudlin and angry are woefully inadequate descriptions. Equus and Elijah came into our lives just three short weeks after Whirl moved in with me. We adopted Equus and Elijah from the Harmony House for Cats. They have been constant and loving companions. We have moved, we have changed careers, goals, aspirations, suffered tragedy, injury and death. And they have been there all the while: Elijah with his regal, lion-hearted presence; Equus with a brilliant, capricious courage.
This death ends a chapter in our lives. When Elijah died last August I told Whirl I believed we would lose Equus within the year. They were brothers: they fought as brothers, they played as brothers and they bonded as brothers. First they bonded in fear against the cruel streets of the city, abandoned by their mother. Then in love to their adopted family: the four of us.
I miss them. I was with Elijah when he died. I was with Equus when he died. I stayed to remove his bandages and to say goodbye. To say thank you. To mourn. To grieve.
Equus will be cremated. Whirl and I will spread Equus’ and Elijah’s remains in the garden just to the south of our building.
I miss them so very much.