Monday, July 23, 2012

Goodbye, Lyra, goodbye

Lyra was our cat, and yesterday we had to ask the vet to give her a drug that would peacefully kill her. Thanks to morphine, she wasn't in pain, but she was not going to live long, because after a multi-year battle with weak kidneys, she had finally emerged the loser.

Nine years and three months ago, our family journeyed to the pound to adopt a kitten. Lyra seized our hearts--your kittens always choose you--and this tiny ball of gray fur came home with us. The vet said she might be two months old, but she might be younger; my money was on younger. Sarah named her.

Before Lyra was five, it was clear that she was not healthy. She had a heart condition, was prone to infections, and had weak kidneys. We did all we could to keep her alive, and she had almost five more years of life.  She never hit six pounds and was always the thinnest cat I've had.

Lyra was all cat, a creature in charge of the world and with a healthy disdain for most of it. Few people warmed to her, and she warmed to even fewer. Like most such cats, she mellowed with age, but she was never a classic lap cat. Her suspicion was always on high, as you can see in this recent photo, courtesy of Jain.

As always, click on a photo to see a larger version.

Lyra was a smart cat, maybe the smartest I've ever had. For example, after playing with the iPad below for a short time, she moved it to check under it, realized no prey was available, and left it.

More impressively, Lyra was the only cat I've had who played catch. Late at night, when the world was quiet and the mood hit her, she would bring a triangle made of a drinking straw to an ottoman, drop it, and stare at you until you threw it. She'd catch it in the air sometimes, and other times she'd chase after it on the ground. She'd bring it back and play again, over and over. If you grew bored and she was still interested, she'd grab it with her teeth, throw it by whipping her head around, and then chase it.

On occasion, she'd crawl into some of our laps and demand affection.   This didn't happen a lot, but when it did, you were wise to give her what she wanted. 

Despite her small size, Lyra was a great hunter.  No roach or mouse escaped her for long. 

Lyra could be mean and was always demanding, a dollar-steak of a cat, a wild west gunfighter of an animal. 

Lyra was not a simple animal, but of course she wouldn't be; she was, as I said, all cat.  

When you lose a pet, even one as cranky and odd as Lyra, there's a hole in your world, a rip that takes time to heal, an absence you can't help feeling.  I feel it most at night, when Lyra would play, when her shields would slip a little and she would sometimes turn loving.  As hard as she could be to love, Lyra was our cat, we were her people, and we will miss her. 

Goodbye, Lyra. 


Vicki Warren said...

I am then very glad she deigned to join us when we were down there over the fourth. she will be missed.

Michelle said...

I am so sorry for the loss of Lyra. She was a beautiful little kitty.Be comforted in that while she lived, she was loved.

Dan Higdon said...

Heartfelt condolences. We had to say goodbye to our own "Bean, The Warrior Princess" (a title she earned) last year. That cat was stubborn, combative (mostly with other cats. Mostly), pushy, and deeply loved.

I'm sorry for your loss.

Mark said...

Thanks, Vicki, Michelle, and Dan.


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