Mr. Snuggles’ Last Day

I sing of sweet loss and the pangs of love. I sing of missing my closest friend. I sing the longing song of wishing he were well and alive again, with me like he used to, here beside me while I’m at the computer, at my pant leg, poking me with his claw to remind me to go to bed. I sing of Mr. Snuggles, the Midnight Angel, Witch’s Familiar Extraordinaire, my little lover, my baby, my one and only boy, aged only 7 years a lifetime — you should have met him.

==================================

There is no death. Only a change of worlds.
 – Chief Seattle

Home is where my sweetheart once lay, no, now lies at this moment, his body wrapped tight in the softest blanket I gave him, my little funerary Egyptian feline mummy, preserved like ice cream in the freezer’s tummy. Even lifeless, his shell holds its beauty, the fur glossy-gleams, this house panther of my dreams… Oh, Mr. Snuggles, help bring me to sleep tonight like you always used to, crawl up to my pillow and breathe into my ear, sing me your heart song and I’ll answer yours with mine. Everything home I know here is all saturated with you. No corner, no piece of FURniture is not complete without some trace of your fur, or a torn claw, a displaced whisker, not even a pillow scarce be dented without some shape of your body. Everything ‘you’ is all over me, too, and, I don’t fear, shall always be. I carry you, my belly pregnant with you, my furry child, as you carry me, little in-love-with-me-ghost-who-walks-inside-me, and together now we travel as one, as fate has it now, no walking back, forward and around the world now, no need for cat carriers or tranquilizers…  “I can go with you anywhere now, Mama” I almost hear him cheerfully chirp.

I break from my sobs to write the sad report of the death of my beloved cat, who less than 24 hours ago, died within my arms. It happened, as the deaths of others I’ve known, as suddenly as life begins. I gripped him in his last violent spasms of a seizure, without complaint enduring kitty kicks to my face, and massaging his belly and chest into some semblance of calm — all the while keeping a very uneasy grip on my own.

I don’t know how many times I said “okay, it’s okay” perhaps it was in the hundreds, was it ever enough?

As his head began to slump to the side, I braced his spine with my leg and rubbed his sides, looking into him, keeping his attention as much as possible. These were the labor pains of death, “my death” Mr. Snuggles seemed to silently acknowledge, his eyes starting to lose their vibrance as he stared into me as if I were disappearing. And I felt as if I were the one dying, he leaving me behind, and I could not go with him. It was then I know how it felt like whenever I left him home alone. But he must had some knowing I’d be back, because he knew precisely when to jump up to the window and cry for me. As he kept slumping, I wailed for him, apologizing to him first for alarming him, because that wild cry that comes out of me is frightening, a keening so banshee-like it has sent neighbors calling 911 on me, and for good reason. I am not me when I give myself to mourning. I surrender to the passion of it, I sing in Menominee, not quite remembering all the words to the prayers I was taught long ago, yet they come back in an emergency. Then the Menominee words fever pitch into other languages then into animal noises quite barbaric.

My expression of grief is like world music, very non-ethnocentric, yet all me, my own creating, coming out from the deep woman I may have been once during an ancient time in a forgotten culture…  I lose track of my thoughts for a moment. My tear-strained temples pull at my brows and eyes and my sight goes all blurry. What am I trying to say?  I’ve seemed to lost myself in hyperbole.

Let me breathe.

Mr. Snuggles knew what was happening. I was in deep trance prayer and grief, part of my soul stretched and torn and reshaped to let him go, a death midwifery process, holding him, at the end, against my belly and breast as I would my own child (yet I do not know what that is like — I have no children — just a cat who is my child). As he lost all muscle control, somehow he shot up an arm to dig into me with his last ounce of strength and control, looking straight into my eyes from the pillow of my right breast, and I, looking into him, felt our connection all the keener, cutting into each other deeper than before. Over my heart he coughed up deep, black blood. His tongue had turned a dark blue and he couldn’t open his mouth enough to vomit out the blood in order to breathe. As the thunder of his heart dropped silent, I tried to clear his throat, prepared to give him CPR, but…

His eyes then indicated all was lost.

Everything was black inside him. His body was all poisoned. I felt crazy screams itching at the back of my throat, but I stayed silent now, calming my brother who was on the phone (I barely remembered him ringing) asking what was going on, and “are you alright?” “Can you feel a pulse?” “Check his breathing!” I worked my fingers into Mr. Snuggles’ mouth, prying open the jaw that fought to cage the slack black tongue, a black tongue growing grey. Gobs of old blood decorated my skin, gooey as honey, nothing to be done, my darling was gone.

His left paw seemed stapled into my shoulder, his grip lasted for a long while, it made me feel like he was still going to cough back to life. I waited fevered seconds for an answer from his empty eyes. Those eyes had the look I knew too well, except I’d seen them on human beings…

There is something far different about the death of an innocent animal.  There’s a wild yearning in them for release and they are filled with curiousity for the end, determined to live out every second til that end, sometimes willingly. Mr. Snuggles had ways of teaching me how to meet the end with dignity and a great deal of love. He wanted to die with me at home. I gave him what I promised him from the very start of our relationship:

“Baby,” I always told him, not caring whether or not he understood human talk, “I love you so much, I don’t care what it takes, I will be there for you til the very end.”

Our story is a long one, filled with many adventures, I took him to meet lots of interesting people and other animals, I brought him with me on walks and trips, neighbors envied the way he’d cling to my left shoulder in a near parrot fashion and perfectly behave as if he truly were my baby.  Yes.  He was my baby.  At this point, this is our “forever story”, the one where his spirit gets to glide around me, waiting for me to catch up to him when my time comes to pass.

I still feel him clinging to my left shoulder. I don’t want him to let go, so I won’t let go. We’re part of each other. He’s truly a “spirit” familiar now.

Or perhaps he was always a part of me just fused back into my body to make me whole again?  Spirit is full of strange lessons, and I am full of weird musings.

==================================

It is assumed that Mr. Snuggles died of liver cancer that spread quickly throughout his body.  Blood tests confirmed he was living on borrowed time.  He was given a “death sentence” on August 21 and I was given the choice to put him down in a vet’s office, but I listened to my cat’s wishes instead.  He wanted to die at home.  He knew more than I did what was going on, yet I was determined to keep him going.

At 2:30am (standard central time) August 30th, Mr. Snuggles exhibited strange behavior — I heard him scratching at the door and howling loudly.  I did not know he was in pain or not.  When I went to investigate, he hid under my bed and would not come out for some time.  Then, as I tried to get back to sleep, he creeped back out from under the bed to sit and stare at me.  I picked him up and he howled.  Something was really wrong.  I read it in his face.  After failing to help him go to the litter box, I took him to bed with me and we both settled down.

We spent one last night together cuddled cheek-to-cheek, but upon waking, Mr. Snuggles’ jaw was going slack and he wasn’t swallowing water.  Sadly, this reminded me of when my mother was dying.  The same happened with her.  She could not swallow when her time came.  All I could do for her, and now for Mr. Snuggles, was dribble a tiny bit of water into the mouth for comfort.

I cancelled all my appointments for the day, sought emergency vet care, but it was too late.  No way to see any vet in a timely fashion.  It was the way Mr. Snuggles wanted it.  He wanted home hospice.  He hated going to those offices where he got poked all the time.  He wanted to be with me.

And so we were together.  That’s the way it had to be.

I am now planning a funeral, looking for a burial site, and Pagan/Polytheistic clergy to lead the rite.  Mr. Snuggles was greatly loved by many!  Very popular darling of a cat.  Where ever he shall be buried, it should be a place where all my friends can pay their respects.  But, for now, please feel free to leave a nice word or two here, thank you.

Rest in Peace, Dearest Friend
Mr. Snuggles, the Midnight Angel
b. 2005 — d. 2013

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23 comments on “Mr. Snuggles’ Last Day

  1. femingen says:

    I’m so sorry. He was lucky to have someone who loved him like you must have. Not every creature gets to know that kind of love – feline, human or otherwise. You were lucky to have each other.

  2. Tonya C. says:

    Im sitting here reading this feeling very sad but knowing mr.snuggles is now surrounded you in spirit. Animals teach us a lot whether we understand or not.

    They adsorb so many emotions and give back so much to us.
    Just because death may happen does not mean you will not see him again. Granted it be another form , another way. But we all come back in different times to teach and to learn.
    Lots of hugs and love to you val and to now the spirit of mr. snuggles.

    • Valentina says:

      Thank you, Tonya! It’s been hard. I couldn’t sleep. The pain is so… pure. All I want to do is hold him.

      Yet all night long into the morning today, the apartment echoes of him!

  3. Dear, I could not read this without crying. I am so sorry for your loss but glad he died in your arms, hard though that be. My elder High Priestess’s last cat Nietzsche died a few years ago in her arms and she still sees and hears him around, so Mr Snuggle’s will remain until he is called by Bastet to reincarnate in a new healthy body, and then return to you as a kitten some day. Here is the Rite of Passage from my coven which can be modified for his funeral. http://covenofthecatta.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/rite-of-passage-from-the-coven-of-the-catta-books-of-shadows/
    Blessed Be. Lee

    • Valentina says:

      Thank you, Blau Stern. I was looking for the right Rite of Passage, there are a lot to root through, and wondering what my baby would like, yet it feels like he just wants me to do something that is beautiful for me so I can forget the illness of his old body.

      My home echoes of him and I can’t bring myself to leave it for long! I’m here spending most of my time in the bed we shared and sitting in the very spot where he died — the spot I always sit at in front of the TV in the livingroom where I’ve always held him — I think it’s a blessing and was a comfort to him that he passed here.

      Thank you for your tears. I hope soon to transform them to tears of joy.

      My boy is inspiring me to live now. That’s a great gift.

  4. katyhancock says:

    I am so unbelievably sorry for your loss. You gave him the very best life he could have had full of love and happiness, and for that you and him will always have a special bond that no extinguished life force can sever.

  5. Tonya C. says:

    I just realized it looks like there are 3 orbs towards the back of Mr.Snuggles

    • Valentina says:

      I saw them, too. When I magnified them, I saw my mother’s smiling face in one of them, another cat’s face, and in the other orb a very strange face that seems very fairy-like. He was a very magical cat, always surrounded by spirits, too, and he helped me with spirit communication, so it’s only fitting he was assisted during his transition as well. Those orbs were on the areas where he was most hurting, too.

      I like to think that he passed as quickly as he did (less than 20 minutes) and without pain — his body went limp and he couldn’t move shortly after that photo was taken. I took the photo thinking it wouldn’t be his last. I can’t write about it anymore…

  6. ebbtide says:

    I am so very sorry for the loss of your dear companion. I know what an awful gaping hole that leaves within. That you were with him at the end as comforter and carer speaks to your connection and I have no doubt he knew that.

    I am an absolute firm believer that the universe brings us the animal companions we need at the time we are most ready for them. May your next connection be as loving and meaningful as it was with Mr. Snuggles.

  7. So sorry about Mr. Snuggles – my father recently died at home, as he wished, and so I’m thankful that your dear cat was able to have his death the way he wanted it, too. You have written a beautiful tribute to Mr. Snuggles…

    • Valentina says:

      Thank you. Dying with dignity at home is the best way to go, I believe. Even better to die in the arms of someone you love. I’m truly grateful for the life Mr. Snuggles shared with me, grateful for all the lives shared. Death makes everything meaningful. Life ever the more precious.

      I hope to have the strength to write more soon. So much has happened since.

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by and send me your thoughts. Peace, comfort, and blessings to you and yours.

  8. […] when pointed downward, an omen of warning. I didn’t pay attention to it as a bad omen, until my cat took ill in the summer and died August 30th. I was blocked from writing and feeling anything for a long while after […]

  9. Lauren says:

    Hey, I know this is out of no where but I just had to connect. My baby girl and little shadow, Luna Bell left me just yesterday. The shock that happens when they are no longer physically with you is one of the worst pains we can feel on this earth. My little girl didnt give me much time to prepare for such a drastic change. On thanksgiving she was fine. No signs of anything to alarm me. Tgen after the first weekend in december she very rapidly lost weight. We suspected hyperthyroid and started an herbal blend which in three days took away the dehydration and added a pound back already. Happy with my results i was sure she was going to be fine. Then on Sunday she went into sudden acute kidney failure at ten pm. No vet was open and i had no where to turn. So using some herbs and distilled water i gave her some fluids through a spoon dripped into her mouth. I thought “if i just get her through this night” and the next day i scrounged up the last bit of money i had to make the money for the vet and i let her ride on my lap. Blood had been dripping from her mouth with drool since midnight. I petted her, and held her and said its ok. Unsure of what would happen i couldn’t bring myself to physically let her go from my arms. She purred and burried her head in my chest.
    At the vet she sat on my lap while an old dog was reunited with his caretaker. My Luna wanted to see the dog and cuddle with him. She was such a loving soul. Not long after the vet called our name and i carried her into the room. She was good for them but she did let out a painful scream cry when the vet was feeling her kidneys. He imediatly got me set up on a payment plan and ran an expensive blood test. Determined to help me in any way possible. They took her to get blood and brought her back.
    Moments passed that felt like forever, yet not long enough. I heard the doc takking to the tech that had her bloodwork. His voice fell into a whisper that i couldnt distinguish but already knew it was bad.
    He came in and gavee the bad news. Her kidneys were 98% gone. He didnt really know how she was still alive. He told me treatment would kill her, and that at most she had the night.
    He left me alone to decide what to do, with the knowledge that she would be in pain, she would vomit more blood, she may seize and she would eventually fall into a coma.
    I let her off my lap and she walked around, yowling randomly and crying. I talked to her and she said she was tired, and hungry, and had enough. She didn’t want to suffer anymore. I held her close and wished with everything in me to trade places.
    Eventually the doc came in to help me ease her pass. She shivered when the saline was injected to flush her iv. Then on my lap she laid down and purred as the sedative was pumped in. She fell asleep purring, with her paw clenched onto my leg and before the actual euthination medication was released into her, she was gone.
    I wailled, I cried. I felt my soul being torn as my little panther left me. My soul feels broken now and part of me still wishes to wake from this horrod nightmare that has become my reality.
    Your story touched me and i know time will make me stronger as it has done for you. Thank you for writing this story and sharing it with me, it brought me some comfort. I am sorry for your loss.

    • Valentina says:

      Thank you, dear, for sharing with me your story, and I am sorry for your loss. Today I just counseled yet another person over the loss of their feline companion, too. It seems to be the day when such things happen, and I am reminded of how much my Mr. Snuggles taught me about helping to comfort others. Like you, I did everything I could to ease his pain and suffering, and with or without resources, when you are faced with the fact that your loved one is dying, all you can do is be strong for them, and live for them, hold them and remember them. Remember all the good times you shared. Hold a pillow like you would your cat and talk to it like you would her, it helps to soothe you and ease the transition from going without her for a little while. Give yourself some time before inviting another cat into your life, and if you have other cats, they will find ways to grieve, too. Don’t rush anything. Just like when we grieve the lives of human beings, all the stages of grief are the same.

      But I find, there’s one difference when it’s an innocent animal, or a child, because of the innocence they have. We feel even more helpless when they pass because we like to think we have the power to really change their lives and take care of everything for them, but the life of a cat is still a mystery. They teach us to love so fiercely! To not be afraid of the dark and play with any old crap lying around 😉 Another thing they teach us is to take lots of naps. During this difficult time of grief, take the advice of my youngest cat, Velvet, who right beside me is deeply sighing during a dream. She knows what to do when you can’t do anything about anything else: go to sleep, dream, take a load off, give yourself a break. Maybe your baby will talk to you in a vision.

      In matter what, it does take time, it’s hard work to get through the grief, but all this heavy emotional lifting will make you strong. Your life was meant to never be the same again because your cat! That darling was special, and you’re even better because of that, too. I ask the Goddess Bast, patron of all cats, as well as goddess of joy and music, to cradle you and your kitty’s spirit in a bubble of warmth. Get swept off your feet, breathe, be surrounded by love. You are blessed.

      Kitty nose kiss good luck to you and wishes well for you during the holidays!

  10. I lost two kittens,barely 6 month old.I had,always in my life, craved badly for a pet and when I finally got one, the tree of happiness dried and all its leaves shed off. I lost what I wanted the most, What I love the most. 21st april 2015,Tuesday, my she kitten died, coco – as we called her, and the he kitten,moco, was lost, no traces of him found. He returned 2 days later.Thursday morning, his voice was changed, he has lost all his weight, and had lost his mental balance. He kept howling calling coco, but she didn’t come for she was gone and he certainly didn’t know. For one week he didn’t eat,didn’t sleep and kept waiting for her, finding her everywhere. It was 28th April 2015,Tuesday, we found him dead. It felt as though a knife passed straight through my heart.

    *Tears roll down my cheek.*

    Sorry for you loss. I can understand your pain.

    R.I.P Coco Moco
    R.I.P Mr. Snuggles.

    • Valentina says:

      I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds as if both sibling kittens were sick and lost without each other. I hope they are reunited after they crossed the rainbow bridge, as they say, when animals die. I truly believe that they feel and love as we do. May you be blessed for keeping them together as long as you did, for as long as you could, and may your heart heal. For, as I discovered, because my cat, Mr. Snuggles, lived, I live for him now, and I have passed on his love sharing my life with two new cats, Miss Velvet Rose and Calie. Mr. Snuggles taught me a lot about what it is to love selflessly, and that it is important to keep loving, opening my heart so that I can help other cats live with me in this loving home we shared. I like to think he guides me. When my cat, Velvet, was a kitten, she was especially prone to anxiety, and needed a lot of extra love. When I adopted Calie, she had just survived a terrible winter where she was half frozen to death and sustained some brain injury. Both my dears needed the kind of love my Snuggles gave me. Treasure your love and remember to live for it, share it, and let it heal you. Surviving the death of kittens is the hardest. I wish you peace, comfort, and the healing only cats can bring!

      • I share my life with a (probably) 9 or 10 month old kitty.
        The earlier ones taught me the same you mentioned here. More than a pet, they were like my sibling. Even today I long badly just to get their glimpse, just once.
        My present cat is a really naughty one. Completely different from what ‘they’ used to be. But we give her all the comforts that we were never able to give them. Seeing the terrible condition of moco, when coco died, we decided not to pet two cats together because yes, animals feel no less than us be it love or pain.

        You are doing such a noble act by helping the cats that nobody would want to even see.
        Thank you (I dont know why I am saying this,but yea…)

        P.s. I really like your blog. It actually helped me a lot in the project I am working on for a college assignment!
        Thanks again.
        Kudos to you! 😀

      • Valentina says:

        Aw, so wonderful. Thank you for liking my blog and sending me your thoughts! I am very pleased to help you with your research even though it’s only just me repeating what I’ve learned, a bit filtered through books I’ve read, so you’re getting an interpretation. Glad to be of help.

        And, hey, even naughty cats aren’t really “naughty” just misunderstood! They’re the ones that need even more love, too. Good life to you and your little ones!

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