Cricket came to me in the fall of 1999 when I found her wandering in front of Vanier College. She was only a few months old and bore signs of a serious injury which had healed. Her shoulder missed a patch of fur (which never grew back) and one hind leg stuck out at an angle. A vet determined that it had either been broken or ligaments had been torn. She speculated that Cricket might have been the victim of a fan belt injury. (In cold weather, cats often seek the warmth of a car engine and are injured when the driver starts the car).
In spite of all this, Cricket was a spunky, funny, silly little cat that never grew up (in spirit or size). She had crossed eyes and a dramatic flair. Instead of crying at a closed door to get into another room, she would take a run and fling herself against the door! And just let her catch sight of a favourite toy or a laser beam and she was in full predator mode. She chased that little red laser beam with all the intensity one could imagine. Play was a very serious matter for Cricket.
Closets and cabinets were also serious things for her. No matter where she was, if you opened a door, she appeared in an instant and tried to squeeze inside. Being black, she was not very noticeable in dim light and it was sometimes minutes or even much longer before you realized she was missing. Never making a sound, she would wait patiently for someone to open the door.
Another thing that she liked to do was sit on my lap when I was at the computer and put her forehead into the palm of my hand and just stay like that. (It made typing rather difficult)!
Over a year ago Cricket’s blood work indicated that she was in the second stage of kidney disease. A year later, at age 16, her condition was deemed stable and she was eating, playing and doing well. The only issue was occasional vomiting and I started giving her an antacid to help combat that.
October 22 started out like any other day. Cricket ate normally, came into the living room where I was watching TV and asked to be picked up for me to give her kisses on the top of her head (which always made her purr).
Then I went out for breakfast and a shopping trip downtown. I browsed the stores basically to pass the time (which I will always regret) and came home just before 4 p.m. When I came home, my cat Willow came to the door but not Cricket. I didn’t think very much about it at first but then I found her on the bedroom floor in the corner of the room unable to get up. It didn’t take me long to realize that she was in real trouble. I immediately called the vet and they gave me an appointment within the half hour. Then I brought the carrier to her on the floor and when I lifted her she twisted in my hands and screamed! In all the time she had been with me I had never heard a sound from Cricket other than purring. To hear her scream was shocking.
During the wait at the vet’s she also cried and I knew this was very serious and that she was in pain. She extended her paw through the bars in the front of the carrier and wrapped it around my finger and held on like that until our name was called. I could feel her tight grip as she fought the pain. I kept telling her that I was sorry – over and over. Finally when the vet came to examine her, she determined that Cricket’s temperature was low and that she had a heart murmur. The diagnosis was an aortic thromboembolism. In other words, a blood clot lodged in her aorta and blocked blood flow to her hind quarters. This results in full or partial paralysis and extreme pain as the muscles harden.
I wanted her to be free of pain as quickly as possible and since there was no hope of recovery, I opted for immediate euthanasia. While the sedation took hold (prior to the lethal injection), I stroked her purring body and told her how much I loved her and I thanked her for all the gifts she had given me over the years. She was a tremendous life-force squeezed into a tiny body that could always make me laugh with her silly antics and her adorable little face with its crossed eyes and upturned nose.