Since that time, I've trimmed back quite a bit in the amount of pets I've had at once, never having more than two at a time, and still sticking (mostly) to cats. Currently, I just have one cat - Kitty. Actually, she's Gracie's cat, and has been since Gracie was two years old.
Kitty has been through a lot in the last six months. Most recently, she's had to undergo being spayed because of a massive uterine infection that almost killed her. She's still dealing with being somewhat sick from the infection, but things are looking up, thankfully. But, her being sick has got me thinking back to June, when my cat - my FAVORITE of the probably 50 cats I've owned - died somewhat suddenly.
My family and I were just coming in from buying groceries when my husband realized that he hadn't seen Molly in a day or two. Now, Molly was always kind of anti-social, but regardless of that, she liked being around me. If I was in bed, she was sleeping at my feet. If I was in the living room, she was curled up on the arm of the couch or in the window. In her last few months of life, she had become more of a lapcat than ever though, and always slept with me. So when Jason said something, the realization hit me as well. We set off looking for her, hoping and praying that she hadn't found her way outside.
We finally found her in the closet where we keep the litter box, laying down. I picked her up and she was tense. When I set her on my lap, she kind of just dropped into a laying position - not limp like a rag doll, but sort of in the same way she would if she was scared and just wanting to hide in the safety of my arms. I knew something was wrong.
I stayed with her the whole night. Molly was an old cat and I had been worrying those past few months that maybe she was staying so close to me because she knew her time was near. In the morning when we got up, she and I moved to the couch. At about ten o'clock that morning, she started having seizures. Thirteen excruciating minutes later, she died. Her passing was the opposite of peaceful - it was violent, and scary. It was violent and scary to the point that I had to jump up off the couch to keep from getting clawed and bitten. I can't imagine how frightened she must have been in those last moments.
Of all the animals I've had in my life, I was only with one in her moment of passing and the memories of it haunt me to this day. I know it's been five months, but it feels like just yesterday that she was here with me, purring and kneading her paws on my belly as I drifted off to sleep.
Molly was almost like a first child to me. She was around for 10 of the 11 years that Jason and I have been together, and all of both of my children's lives up until June. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about her and miss her terribly. She was never just a cat - she was family.