Sunday, December 24, 2006

A beautiful cat

This past Monday, we had to put our our kitty Mashka to sleep. She was at least 15-1/2 years old, maybe more, and was diagnosed with kidney failure back in September. It was definitely time to let her go. A year ago she weighed 11 lbs. This week she weighed just under six, and her weight loss had been extremely rapid.

Mashka on her last day. Tired and thin, but still beautiful.

Gordon picked Mashka out at the Toronto Humane Society back on January 13, 1995. He wanted a grey cat and he was so picky about choosing one that I finally got exasperated and sent him off to the shelter on his own. He spent SIX HOURS there before settling on Mashka. He decided that because she was the only cat not sleeping in her litter box, she had to be smart, and he was right.

Gordon snacking, reading, and spending some quality time with his special grey girl on Monday. You can see how thin she had become.

Mashka was named "Ashley" and had been surrendered allegedly because of children's allergies. But she acted like a cat who had been mistreated. She was very, very shy and nervous. She basically spent her first year with us on the futon in our spare bedroom. But then she began to flower. Over the years, she really came out of her shell. She always knew she was Queen of the Household, and she could be cranky at times, but she was also beautiful and smart and affectionate, and full of personality.

People laughed at her meow, which sounded more like quacking. She certainly had quite an impressive vocal range, and she wasn't shy about asking for what she wanted.

It took her almost two years to decide that she should sleep on our bed with us each night. Once she got on, she never got off! :) The bed became her royal domain, the throne from which she ruled us and our pets over the past eleven years: two dogs and two other cats.

She wasn't eating at the end, but she still found the energy to investigate a container of catnip sent to us by a friend! She enjoyed a little bit and then had another nap. A junkie until the very end.

Mashka and I had a nightly routine over the past year or so, wherein she would snuggle right up against my left side after I got into bed. The heavy purring would begin as I gave her the chin scritchies and cuddles she was asking for. It was a very sweet way to end my day, and I miss it intensely now.

She loved Gordon too, and lately had been spending a lot of time on his lap. Here she is with G last April, looking fatter and very content.

Nothing beats a warm body as a resting spot, especially when it's the tummy of the guy who loves you most in the world.

I could go on for hours about this cat, about how much she meant to us and what a hole has been left in our lives with her passing. I think only people with pets can understand how a companion animal wraps its paws around you and worms its way into your heart. Suffice to say, Mashka was one special feline. She had a good long life, then her kidneys gave out and we did what we had to do for her. I think we both hoped Mashka might live forever, which of course no one does, and there was a certain element of surprise when we realized she was truly gone for good. But she will always live on in the love we have for her, and we'll never forget the joy she gave us while she was here on this earth. She is sadly missed. Cats are wonderful. Give one a home today, maybe a shelter-kitty like Mashka. You will be rewarded a thousand times over.

Our best blue kitty girl, managing a little smile for me on her last day with us.


  1. Anonymous9:38 am

    What a beautiful tribute to Mashka. The photos of her are beautiful. There is something special about the warmth that cats bring to their relationships with us.

  2. My words exactly - what a beautiful tribute to Mashka. You enriched her life just as she enriched yours. I know how hard it is to lose a fur-baby. Your wonderful words and photos brought back memories of the kitties I've loved and lost. Thank you for that.

  3. She was a beautiful girl. How nice that you were able to spend her last days in such a peaceful, loving way. We should all be so lucky as to leave this world that way!

  4. Anonymous2:35 am

    Such a lovely tribute, for such a lovely and inspirational girl. We're sending much love to you all.

  5. Knatolee, you sure do have a way with words. I truly feel as if I knew Mashka and how much you and G loved her. She knew how much you loved her. And she will live on in your hearts. Thank you so much for sharing her with us.

    And yes, everyone, go adopt a shelter kitty today! You, too, could have a Mashka!

  6. Anonymous11:58 pm

    Awwww. Sniff, sniff! She really was beautiful right to the end. I hope the raw grief goes soon, and the gentle memories are a joy!

  7. We got her ashes back yesterday. She was such a good old girl. We're still missing her but I do wish the other cats would stop celebrating!!!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!