"It is one of the beautiful compensations in this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
On Sunday, September 4, my sweet Violet died suddenly and unexpectedly while I was out of town visiting her first mama. She was seven years old, which is far too young for a cat to leave this earth.
Needless to say, I am deeply saddened by her absence. I've had five cats in my life, and Violet was by far the sweetest most loving cat I've ever had the pleasure to know. Her kind and trusting demeanor had nothing to do with me. She was born outside of the Mountain View Unit, the women's death row facility in Gatesville, Texas. There, she was tamed and cared for by my friend, Sonya Reed. Sonya wrote about Violet in the Readers' Write section of the The Sun. You can read it here. For two years, Sonya cared for Violet and sent me letters about how much she loved her. But then, the prison declared that they were going to capture and euthanize the feral cats around the prison and Sonya panicked. She convinced the warden to let her capture Violet so that someone could adopt her.
I didn't want Violet. I was afraid that having a feral cat would be too much work and that my other cat, Judy would protest. Well, as luck would have it, I ended up with her in my care. I wrote about this strange adoption here.
|Violet on her first day inside my home.|
Initially, Violet was scared and skittish, but the power of Fancy Feast and salmon treats from my intrusive hand won her over. She loved to eat and within months, she went from being a skinny, flea ridden kitty to a fluffy little bundle of awesomeness.
|This is Violet doing her Cher impersonation.|
About nine months went by and Violet got really sick in the middle of the night. She could barely breathe, so we loaded her in the car and took her to the emergency vet. That night we learned that she had heart worms and was given a rather dire prognosis.
I administered steroids to keep her lungs opened up, but the poor girl wouldn't eat. Finally, a friend on Facebook suggested I give her raw egg. And it worked. That stimulated her appetite and she made a full recovery. Within a year, she was heart worm free.
|On the mend in 2012.|
From there on out, she was back to her old self. Her recovery was a tiny miracle. The vet said that cats rarely recovered from a heart worm infection. But Violet defied the odds.
I was away visiting Sonya. For the first time in six years of visitation, we were allowed a contact visit, which meant that we could sit across from each other at a table and eat crappy vending machine snacks and hug at the beginning and end of the visit. And we did.
As I drove home, I called my husband to let him know I was on my way home and he sounded different, but I didn't suspect anything. It wasn't until I walked in the door that I found out that Violet had died that morning. There was no indication that she was ill. She just died.
Erik took her body to the emergency vet to be cremated and we will get her ashes on Friday. I am filled with all sorts of uncomfortable feelings...anger, sadness, heartbreak, why me? Why now? Why wasn't I there? It sucks. There's no getting around it. But, I am so grateful that I was able to spend five years with her. She was a special cat and I will never forget her.