It is Finished

Minna is gone.

Her condition worsened over the day yesterday, to the point where we drove her to Columbus to MedVet, a veterinary ER and specialized health services facility where a friend of ours is a vet.

When they admitted her, the examining doctor was of the opinion that it was FIP–feline infectious peritonitis. FIP is a coronavirus that she could have carried all of her life, and only in the last few months, it could have mutated into the fatal form of the FIP virus.

Or, according to the internal medicine specialist who looked at her this morning, it could have been cancer.

Rather than put her through any more pain to diagnose her illness when the prognosis was terminal–we chose to let them euthanize her immediately, and then do a necropsy to determine if our other cats were in any danger.

We’ve had her for almost exactly eight years–it would be eight years this week or next.

I just wish we could have been there with her, but we didn’t want to prolong her suffering for the hours it would take us to get there, and then we didn’t want to risk not being here when Morganna came home from visiting with her father.

I am very sad right now, because she was an amazing little cat, so full of love and personality.

But, as sad as I am, I know that Zak feels worse, because she was his little shadow who followed him everywhere, and was happiest draped over his shoulders while he played flute.

Zak and I want to thank everyone who has given support and love through this past week. It really means a lot, even though we have never met most of you, to know that you were with us.

I’ll be back to posting about food tomorrow.


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  1. I’m so sorry about Minna’s passing! I know how hard it is to love them enough to stop their suffering — your decision was the most loving decision possible. Minna is not suffering anymore, but I know her loved ones still here are suffering because they miss her. My condolances to all!

    Comment by Anonymous — October 16, 2005 #

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty, Barbara. I’m sure she knew how lucky and how loved she was.

    Comment by Nic — October 16, 2005 #

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my “Julio” about 3 weeks ago. He was 14 years old and lived most of his life with FIV. One day he just decided to die and did so within 24 hours. I’ve never had to make the decision to euthanize an animal. I think it’s easier to accept their decision that it is time to go.

    Comment by Anonymous — October 16, 2005 #

  4. Oh Barbara – I am so sorry to hear about this! You have done such a good job of conveying through your words what a wonderful cat Minna was.

    My best to you all during this time —

    Comment by Jennifer Maiser — October 16, 2005 #

  5. God sees the little sparrow fall …

    Comment by AK — October 16, 2005 #

  6. Barbara, I am so sorry to hear of Minna’s loss. You all have my deepest sympathies.

    Special scritchies to Zak.

    Comment by Charlotte — October 16, 2005 #

  7. Thank you all.

    “Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
    A hero perish or a sparrow fall.
    Atoms or systems into ruin hurl’d
    And now a bubble burst, and now a world.

    –Alexander Pope

    One more thing I will say.

    When we choose to love that which lives, we make a choice of bravery, for we know pain is the price. All that is worth loving in this world, we will lose to death one day. And that is the way of things in this life.

    Some people take a path which I suppose might be easier, by loving that which cannot ever be touched by death–things of beauty which are eternal–physical riches.

    But it is all illusion. These non-living things some people love–they can never love them back, and so there is no joy that is magnified in such a love.

    I will pay for love in the coin of death, every time, and though I know I will weep, in the end, my heart is so much greater for having shared life with the many shining souls who have walked by my side over the years.

    I have never stopped loving any of them.

    And I feel that I am stronger, and more able to love, for having done so.

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — October 16, 2005 #

  8. Oh, my. I am so sorry for you all. And thank you for you added comment, it sums up much how I feel – that we are blessed with an awesome and terrible responsibility when we choose to share our lives with animal companions. The boys and I send our love to your family, especially the irreplaceable Minna.

    Comment by Amy — October 16, 2005 #

  9. Oh, I am so sorry, I caught my breath at the news just now as I had thought she was on the mend. This is my first time commenting, I’ve been reading you for 3-4 months, now, and I enjoy your lengthy entries, but I feel compelled tonight to express my sympathies, losing a beloved pet is such a hard hard thing.

    Comment by Kristi — October 16, 2005 #

  10. Oh, Barbara, I’m so sorry. Minna was so fortunate to live for so long among such loving people. May you all be consoled in each other’s wonderful company.

    Comment by Hadar — October 17, 2005 #

  11. I don’t have much to add except to say I am so sorry for you lost. My thoughts are with you.

    Comment by Pim — October 17, 2005 #

  12. Barbara, I’m so sorry to hear about Minna. It’s always awful to lose a member of the family, whether two-legged or four-legged. Glad you have many beautiful memories of her. [hugs]

    Comment by Christina — October 17, 2005 #

  13. I am so sorry to read about Minna. These little creatures have such a way of gaining our hearts to the fullest. Peace.

    Comment by chronicler — October 17, 2005 #

  14. Barbara, I’m sending you hugs. I know what an awful feeling it is to lose a beloved furry pal. I hope it turns out that the rest of the cats aren’t at risk and that everyone is able to heal in time.

    Comment by sprite — October 17, 2005 #

  15. I haven’t checked your blog in awhile, so I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch during this trying time.

    I am so sorry for your loss and I am sending you support and comfort and strength–to you, Zak, Morganna, and all your other kitties!

    Comment by Court — October 17, 2005 #

  16. Amy, thank you–I am feeling better today, but it is still very hard to realize that when I open the closet door to get dressed or undressed that I don’t have to look out for Minna rushing in to play hide and seek. She got locked in the closet many times for her silliness, but would always come out purring, after a nice cosy nap on top of our linens or sweaters, pleased with herself for having fooled us slow-witted two-legs.

    Kristi–welcome! I am glad to hear you have been reading along, and while I am sad for what compelled you to comment, I am happy that you did comment. You are welcome to at any time, you know.

    I am also glad that you like my long posts; due to natural long-windedness and having more experience writing in longer forms such as magazine articles, essays and short stories (I should call them not-so-short stories, though), I fear that I am not very good at being a typical blogger, who is able to write concise, pithy posts. But, I guess that is part of what makes my blog different.

    Hadar–thank you ever so much, Little Sister. I am posting a nice tofu recipe that I think you will like–do you have good tofu in Israel? I will write it and post it today.

    Pim–thank you for your thoughts–they mean a lot. Do have a bit of extra fun for me in London on your visit–it is one of my favorite cities in the world–and try not to destry any kitchens while there. I don’t think we need an international incident at this time. 😉 (I did love the post about your destructive tendencies in the kitchen–I have never done any permanent damage to anyone’s kitchen but my own, but I am known for making powerfully hideous messes–though after culinary school, I got much better.)

    Christina–thank you for the hug–it helps. Virtual hugs are as good as real ones, though some day, I would like to come back to the UK, and then collect a real one from you. 😉

    Chronicler–yes, the four-legged ones are dear, and never fail to capture my heart with their loving ways and ever-interesting dispositions and personalities. Anyone who swears that cats have no individuality to them has never spent much time with them. I sometimes wonder if they do not have some sort of symbiotic thing with their people, that they pick up eccentricities from them, because people have always said that Zak and I have cats with an overabundance of personality, and maybe it is because we encourage eccentric behavior, being rather odd ourselves. Or, it could be that we select carefully for quirkiness.

    Sprite–I am reasonably positive that the other cats are safe. FIP, though contagious, is not easily passed from cat to cat. It is possible, of course, or it wouldn’t be contagious at all, but it isn’t very likely. The vets at MedVet all said that, and I have read much the same myself–it seems most easily passed from mother to kitten in vitro.

    Courtney–no worries. This ongoing worry is part of why I haven’t called you. That, and being a full-time Mom is a whirlwind that I am not used to yet. I am getting better, though, and want to get you over to meet my friends sometime. Thank you for your support and thoughts. I do very much appreciate them.

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — October 17, 2005 #

  17. I am so sorry to hear that. I remember mina from our whirlwind visit last year. Hugs to you and Zak!

    Comment by Noddy — October 17, 2005 #

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    Comment by crazyquilt — October 17, 2005 #

  19. Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts & words. Minna was very, very special to me. I generally hate playing favorites, but she made it easy (and was insistent on asserting her inherent superiority!)

    I’m a little hazy on souls & white light, but I’m clear on my memories, and those are crystal clear. I doubt I will ever play flute again without thinking, if only for a fleeting moment, about Minna. If she wasn’t with me when I started playing around the house, she was almost always there by the time I was done, purring blissfully.

    On Saturday, she meowed loudly when I tried to play for her; she didn’t seem so much as if it hurt her, but that it confused or frightened her. I think I knew then that Minna was gone. She would reappear in flickers, after that, but they were fleeting moments of lucidity. When we said goodbye to her, very late Saturday night, she clambered onto my shoulders, showing more energy than she had in some time. Minna pushed herself against the back of my neck, purring thunderously, her entire body tense, although it had been limp and weak for most of the day.

    Maybe she knew, too.

    The Cat and the Moon

    The cat went here and there
    And the moon spun round like a top,
    And the nearest kin of the moon,
    The creeping cat, looked up.
    Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
    For, wander and wail as she would,
    The pure cold light in the sky
    Troubled her animal blood.
    Minnaloushe runs in the grass
    Lifting her delicate feet.
    Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
    When two close kindred meet,
    What better than call a dance?
    Maybe the moon may learn,
    Tired of that courtly fashion,
    A new dance turn.
    Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
    From moonlit place to place,
    The sacred moon overhead
    Has taken a new phase.
    Does Minnaloushe know that her pupils
    Will pass from change to change,
    And that from round to crescent,
    From crescent to round they range?
    Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
    Alone, important and wise,
    And lifts to the changing moon
    Her changing eyes.

    — (with apologies to) William Butler Yeats

    Comment by crazyquilt — October 17, 2005 #

  20. My heart goes out to you; it is so hard to have a sick kitty because they can’t come out and tell you how they are. I had a kitty die from FIP (the vet thinks) when he was 2. He was so sweet that the vet tried everything to save him, but sometimes you just can’t do it. I hope you are both doing well.


    Comment by Lisa the Waitress — October 17, 2005 #

  21. oh, i’m so sorry. it’s really tough to lose those we love. minna was obviously a sweetie of a cat.

    Comment by andrea — October 17, 2005 #

  22. Hello, Noddy–Yes, I remember Minna working her magick on both you and Myth. She had a way of wiggling her way into people’s hearts within the span of minutes. You can imagine what years of that can do to a person.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    Lisa–we are doing better today, though sometimes the littlest thing will make me choke up. Zak played his flute today, and I could hear it on the deck and I misted up.

    FIP is awful–and there is very little a vet can do–as you well know. I am sorry your baby was only two–that is really, really hard.

    Andrea–thank you for your caring–Minna was one really, really special. I mean, all cats are special, but she made me think that there were beings in the world made not of flesh and bone, but pure love.

    Zak–I don’t think I will ever be able to read that poem again without having to swallow hard.

    I think WB would be pleased–he himself adored cats greatly.

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — October 17, 2005 #

  23. hi barbara,

    I am very sorry that your beloved minna passed.
    I know its hard to let go, but in the end its the only friendly turn we can do for them.

    My deepest sympathies to you,
    best whishes from vienna – Astrid

    Comment by astrid — October 18, 2005 #

  24. Sorry to hear about Minna passing away.Can only sympathise with you and know how awful it must be to lose her.

    Comment by deccanheffalump — October 18, 2005 #

  25. Barbara,

    I’m so incredibly sorry to hear about Minna. I havn’t read your blog for a while and I wasn’t aware of her being ill; I’m sorry for not being here.

    My deepest sympathies to you and your family. It’s terrible to loose a family member. Nothing I write can make you feel better, but at least you know that I sympathise with you.

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

    /Author unknown…

    Big hugs,

    Comment by Dagmar — October 18, 2005 #

  26. Astrid–thank you so very much–I think that Minna would be surprised, but happy to know that folks from all over the world expressed such lovely thoughts upon her passing.

    Deccanheffalump–it is always hard to lose a friend, no matter whether they walk on two legs or four. But, I am also certain that every soul returns on the wheel of life, so I know that while she will not wear the same physical form, her spirit will continue to be woven in the tapestry of the Universe.

    Dagmar–that Rainbow Bridge passage always makes me cry and laugh. I cry, because it is touching–and I laugh–well, because when I come to the Rainbow Bridge (which is called Bifrost, and connects Midgard to Asgard and is guarded by Heimdall in Norse mythology), I am apt to be inundated with a veritable menagerie of critters–cats, dogs, birds, cows–yes, cows!–and ferrets.

    My spirit is liable to be run over by a stampede of all of my beloved pets waiting for me!

    Thank you for the tears–and the laughter. They are both healing.

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — October 19, 2005 #

  27. oh I am sooooooooooo soooooo sorry

    Comment by Clare Eats — October 22, 2005 #

  28. Thank you, Clare–nothing will replace Minna, but we are coping pretty well.

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — October 25, 2005 #

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