Losing Artuso recently had me thinking about Thumper’s ashes. Thumper was a big part of our lives. She was a part of us and now she’s gone. It has been almost two years and it’s still painful to think about how she’s no longer with us, though it isn’t as wrenching as it was when she first passed away.
For a long time, we couldn’t have her ashes set out because it was too painful, but now, with Artuso gone as well, it felt wrong to me to have Artuso’s ashes placed in a nice location while Thumper’s were still stored away, so I put her ashes on the shelf by my desk, near my plants. The area is sunny all day and she’s surrounded by life, which seems fitting to me since she brought so much life, joy, and happiness to us while she was alive.
It’s been a little over two weeks since Artuso passed away. Like Thumper before him, he passed away from cancer. He had tumors in his back-right leg that eventually broke the skin and were causing him a lot of pain. Except for his favorite Greenies treats, he stopped eating. Then he stopped using his hammock. When he started having trouble just walking, we knew it was time for him to move on.
We only had him for a year and a half, and I wonder if he already had this illness when we found him and that’s why he was abandoned in the street in Little Italy in the Bronx. The timeline seems about right. But I don’t suppose it matters whether he was thrown out because he died loved and in a good home.
Artuso was incredibly sweet and gentle. You could tell he appreciated every act of kindness and affection we gave him. Unlike some of our other cats, he always wanted to be right next to us just for the sake of being next to us. He didn’t have ulterior motives like trying to wake us up early for food. That’s a difference between street rescues and cats raised at home that I’ve noticed. Rescues tend to not take affection and comforts for granted.
Artuso was always fascinated with the bedroom, and he enjoyed spending hours on our bed bathing in the sunbeams coming through the windows. Because Artuso enjoyed being in the bedroom so much, I put his ashes on the dresser near the bedroom window. The sun shines on that dresser for a good part of the afternoon so I think he would appreciate being placed there.
Thank you for being a part of our lives, Artuso. I wish you’d been with us longer, but I’m glad we had a little time together to learn from and enjoy being with each other.
It has taken me a while to post this because it is such a hard thing to do. It was hard to look at her photos. Hard to think about all the good times we had together, and hard to deal with the fact that she’s no longer with us. It’s hard to type this because a public acknowledgment is so final.
We adopted Thumper in early 2009 in Singapore. Just over a year ago, Thumper was diagnosed with cancer. Saturday she lost her fight. The cancer had spread to her chest cavity and it was filling with fluid. She could no longer breathe well enough to move even two feet without collapsing and gasping for air. Watching her struggle and suffer and slowly die in front of us was incredibly painful and it was unfair to her to let her slowly suffocate to death.
On Saturday we took her to the vet to say goodbye. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Making the choice and then physically doing it. Putting her in her carrier and walking out of our apartment on Saturday morning was a really bad experience. Holding her head while she took her last breath is something I’ll never forget. I’d honestly rather go back to Iraq in 2003. It was less painful and less stressful.
Thumper was a blessing on our lives and helped us both through some tough times and became the spark of joy that lit up our home. The apartment feels empty without her. The last few days have been very tough for us and for Dapper, Thumper’s sister. Dapper has known Thumper since Thumper was a kitten also. Only her nemesis, Cheesecake, seems pretty good about things since he’s 2nd favorite instead of 3rd favorite now. But seriously, he’s acting weird too. They both look for her. Sometimes we do too.