|A recent Harriet - not bad for an old girl|
Harriet was born in or near my backyard when I lived in West Philly. Her father was Vladimir Putintat, the tom of all toms, and her mother was named Alice. Vlad and Alice were an unusual couple - they would bring their kittens to my yard, he would disappear, and she would nap, knowing that the kittens were safe. Eventually, when the kittens got old enough, their parents didn't come back for them and I had more cats. This system worked well for a long time.
Harriet and her brother Nicky were the last of the old West Philly herd of cats. We lost Nicky in April, 2021, and we lost Harriet two days ago.
She was approximately 19 and 1/2 years old, and had been holding well. She was always small - one of those perma-kittens - but that just meant when she transitioned from being a fussy eater to not wanting to eat, the weight dropped even quicker. I'm not even sure if there was anything specific wrong. At a certain age, the wheels just come off the bus, and when a cat reaches that age, I'm not going to take her to a vet to have them figure out what's wrong. What's wrong is old age, and the one thing we can do for pets as opposed to people is to arrange to let them go before they're suffering.
|Harriet in the jungle|
The only food she'd been interested in in 2 days was cream cheese, so I took some of that with me to distract her.
The tech pushed back a little bit when I said I was there for euthanasia, but when the vet came in, he looked at me, looked at Harriet, and said, "You've been doing this longer than me." He gave her a quick once over and said he could feel a mess in her abdomen, probably lymphoma, which explained the swiftness of her decline. It's also similar to what took out both Alice and her brother, so sad but not entirely unexpected.
He did what needed to be done quickly and compassionately, and Harriet passed with her face in a spoonful of cream cheese. Not a bad end, as far as that goes.
|Tiny Harriet with Alice (mom) and Nicky|