Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sweet Amber

Today we had to say good-bye to our sweet kitty Amber.

We knew it was coming. In the end, she wasn't even half her normal size, she was blind and we think she may have become deaf also. She could no longer purr and seemed to be having a hard time breathing. I worried she'd had a stroke and didn't know who we were or why she was picked up every once in a while.

I asked Bob to get one of his t-shirts that he had worn recently (she loved Bob so much she would crawl into his dirty clothes to sleep) and we wrapped her up and carried her to the vet.

The vet felt a mass in her tummy, from a previous visit she thought her blindness (her pupils didn't dilate) could be from a brain tumour and in the end, we asked her to tell us what was best for Amber period. Our vets are great (there are two who know us and our pets very well) and so supportive and know we'll do what it takes but she believed it was time. It was our decision of course but if she had said 'oh no, she'll be right as rain in a week' then we would have done it. Sadly, it was not to be.

Bob was a mess and that's normal. I always keep it together until later and boy, later hurts.

Neither of us could come home right away so we went out and browsed and had dinner. I was nauseous before we went but I thought maybe it was because I hadn't eaten yet. I was worse after dinner so I figure it was the 'denial'.

I keep seeing her orange fur and I want to hold her just one last time.

We came home and went to see Emma immediately. It was so weird. We were a family of 4 pets for the longest time and now Emma is the only one. I told Bob I could never come home to an empty house and he understood.

I don't know that'll we'll wait too long to get another kitty. We already had the void of not having a dog and now that void feels like a canyon.

We have some clean up to do. Our beauty Amber was such a clean kitty all her life and we knew it probably killed her to have accidents. Our entry way became a urine spot, another was in the pantry and then there were times she just couldn't find the box in the basement. There were times I would see Amber wandering around and I would pick her up and carry her to her litter and her relief was genuine.

We'll have to neutralize those areas. And I think the basement subfloor will have to come up so we could be a month before adding a new family member.

But onto my favourite memories of Amber.

Amber was put in a cage at an animal shelter and that's where Bob and I found her. Bob and I weren't married yet so whenever I went home to my parents she would caterwaul around the house for hours. (I actually think she was in heat but Bob likes to say she was looking for me). She was so skinny when we got her and compared to Bob's two older cats she looked like a china pet.

Amber loved to bathe and if another cat or dog got in the way of her tongue she was more than willing to clean them up too. Bewildered Rocky cause he was a dopey dog but you had to love him and Amber did. She also loved to tease the dogs. She would walk right up to Rocky and scoot him off his bed only to lay full out and reach out with her toes to his nose. It was comical to see how 2 large dogs catered to her every whim and when they got out of line she would hiss and thwack them in the nose (she was declawed).

Whenever I had 'the' cramps she would lay on my hip or against my back as if to let me know she was there. She also climbed up on us when we were sick. She learned the art of being annoyed by her older sibling Bunny. Bunny would start puking the minute he saw Bob's suitcase. Seriously, coming home was a nightmare cause who knew what Bunny had decided to do while we were gone. Amber, being a clean kitty found better ways to let us know she was upset. A well placed sit down with her back facing us was her way. Bob would snuggle her until she started purring and in reality she was a push over for a kitty.

Even though she was the youngest of the pets in the house at the time she was like a mother hen. Cleaning and scolding. When Emma showed up a few years later, Amber stopped talking for a year. All the same, she cleaned that kitten whenever it crossed her path and Emma became used to having her head washed by her bestest friend Amber.

It was heart breaking in the last year to see Emma walk up to Amber and lower her head. She would wait for Amber to acknowledge her but Amber just didn't know she was there. In the past few weeks we noticed that Amber would clean Emma's head even if it was just for a moment. We don't know if Amber had lost her sense of smell so had no fear or if Emma had somehow positioned herself just perfectly so that Amber's tongue managed to stroke her head a few times.

Amber's routine later in life was to call out to Bob before bed. No being late! He would tuck his hand around her and she would purr while he went to sleep. She could sleep with him for hours but then Bob doesn't move much in his sleep. She barely tolerated me cause I move too much in my sleep. But when Bob was gone for the night Amber would find me and let me know she was turning in and that maybe I should be going to bed also.

I think it was Amber who taught me how to nap.

I'm just saying.

An orange kitty curled up on a white down comforter in the middle of winter was hard to walk away from. She looked like she needed company and that's my story.

I loved that little monkey and I'll miss her every day.


Kristie (J) said...

((((((Cindy and Bob)))))))
I know how big a part of your family your pets are and what a loss Amber will be.

Kat O+ said...

I'm not an animal person at all, but the way you write about your brood never fails to touch me. Big hugs to you and Bob. What a wonderful family Amber had.

Rosario said...

Oh, Cindy, I'm so sorry for your loss. (((Hugs)))

Marg said...

It's sad when you have to say goodbye to your pets. Sending my thoughts your way.

LinnieGayl said...

Cindy, I'm so very sorry for your loss. And what a beautiful tribute to dear Amber.

Mollie said...

I couldn't read your whole post. Didn't want to be crying at work...

So sorry for your loss.

nath said...

Awwww, Cindy, I'm so sorry to hear :( However, Bob and you did the right thing. If it was time, then it's better for Amber...and you have great memories, that's what matters.

(((Cindy and Bob)))

Anonymous said...

So sorry that you had to say goodbye. My thoughts are with you and Bob. I am usually just a lurker but I enjoy your blog very much.

AAR Rachel said...

Oh, Cindy! How sad. I'm so sorry for your loss. This was a lovely tribute.

Amy said...

Cindy, I'm so sorry, sweetie. I totally understand how pets become such a part of your life and know you'll always remember Amber. She was truly lucky to have you and Bob as "her people".

Mary G said...

You're only allowed to make me laugh girl not cry. OMG that was such a beautiful tribute. TTakes a lot of love to put them first.
You're both so brave.
((((((Cindy & Bob))))))

C2 said...

((((((((((Cindy and Bob))))))))))))


Bookwormom said...

I'm so sorry, (((Cindy & Bob))).

jmc said...

I'm so sorry to read about Amber. But also touched by how much a part of your family she was. (((Cindy and Bob)))

CindyS said...

Thanks so much everyone for being so understanding - I feel like such a downer but sometimes you just have to share.

Bob seems very serious about getting a new family member as soon as possible. I'm all for it as the house feels completely empty.

We've also learned that we should spread out the age groups of our pets. The past 4 years have been tough on us with the loss of 3 out of our 4 pets.

It's time for some newbies in the house with new personalities and quirks. I can only hope we'll find another kitty as precious as Amber.

And you can count on pictures and stories ;) Thanks again.


Wendy said...


I meant to comment on this post yesterday and my brain must have melted.

(((Cindy & Bob))))

It's tough to let them go - especially when they've been a part of your life for so long. Sounds like Amber had a full, rich life with you.....