Josie, My Russian Blue Best Friend in 1989
In loving memory of our Josie Lynn who we love so much. Josie Lynn will be greatly missed and be in our hearts forever.
Anyone who know me knows I'm a cat lover. I was a senior in college, about ready to be married, when I found out my fiance, now husband of 20 years, was severely allergic to cats.
How could I live without cats?
So one day, while doing laundry, I noticed a picture of some grey kittens with an ad. I responded to that ad, traveled to a country farm in Peoria, Illinois, and took home that day, my spry, strong-willed, beautiful little girl, Josie. I snuck her home, and soon, my future husband couldn't say no to her sleek grey coat, her sparkling green eyes, and her sly little ways.
That night, she pounced on my feet, clawing and biting while she played. I couldn't get her to eat regular cat food. When I called her parents' owners, they told me that was because they fed her a raw egg and tuna every other day.
I soon found out her love for eggs, when after I had made scrambled eggs and threw away the shells, she surreptitiously dug them out, and hid them in the cracks of the sides of my waterbed for a later-time feast.
While I worked in Chicago, Josie had to stay locked up in my room at my mother's house, for fear that she would upset the balance of my mother's 4-cat house. She was so angry that she clawed up the carpeted threshhold of my door.
Josie went everywhere with me. I fought for her honor when I had to move into my parents-in-law's house while we bought our first house. When my second born was diagnosed with asthma, and the doctors told us we couldn't have cats, I asked my mom to take possession of her until things got better. Three years later, I found I couldn't live without my Josie.
I would have taken her on vacations if she didn't detest riding in the car so much. I remember if she wasn't in a kennel, she'd squeeze herself so flat to hide under the seat or even climb atop the dash to get away from riding in the car.
I remember when I thought I saw her crying, I took her to the vet immediately. That's when I was first told that she was a Russian Blue or had some in her. Turns out she had allergies. But ironically enough, the Russian Blue breed is almost hypoallergenic, which I didn't learn of until after her death. That's why she didn't bother my husband's allergies, and I could have had her in my house with my son's asthma, as she hasn't bothered his asthma the past 7 years we've had her here.
Josie was almost human, and she knew exactly what I was feeling and how to comfort me. When I had my many miscarriages before finally having my three human children, when I cried, she put her paw to my face as if to help me stop crying. Sleeping in too late for her liking on weekends, she would delicately walk on top of me, find the tip of my nose, give me a tiny sandpapery lick, find my earlobe, and decide that was too tasy, and nibble me!
You can see her characteristic Russian Blue smile in this photo. Always a lady, she never let me see her falter. We used to call this pose, "Sitting like a chicken..." and I hadn't seen her do that for a while.
Family Christmas Picture 2004
She stopped grooming herself about 4 years ago. She seemed to be very thirsty. Two years ago, we learned that her kidneys were beginning not to work, but it wasn't made clear to us that she was in renal failure.
She had contracted a severe bladder infection while we were on our three week cross-country RV trip to Yellowstone. My neighbor noticed that she was drinking a gallon of water every two days and that she wasn't going in the litter box. Actually, she was standing in her box, and so the urine wasn't contained in the box.
I took her to the vet, thinking the inevitable was coming up then, but we weren't leveled with. We gave her the antibiotics, but that didn't relieve her standing in the litter box. We fed her wet food when we could (she was a very finicky eater), and we kept her company. We were never offered a special diet or sub-Q fluids.
Her grooming got worse, and she began to meow all the time. I didn't interpret her meows as pain though - they weren't that kind of meow. She sat in that crouched position as if she didn't want to plant her bottom down. I thought she had severe arthritis.
I had to shave the mats off her every year, but that would leave her cold and shivering. I didn't want her poked and prodded - she would have been upset with that. I thought she was old, and that was that.
We did what we could naturally for two years, but in the end, today, May 10th, 2008, after she ran away a week ago, probably trying to die in peace, we chose to lift her spirit to God, as she was in the final stages of renal failure, not eating for a week due to ulcerations from uremia.
This was the hardest decision I have ever had to make in my life. But I look back on the strong-willed, spunky little cat I took home in my car as a college student, and I have to know that God will take care of her will to survive.
With our children, who have always known Josie as our pet, and my husband by my side, I stroked her head, while she still purred and tried to meow to let us know she needed help to leave this earthly world and failing body.
Why didn't I see her age? Why didn't I listen to her meows in the middle of the night? Why couldn't she tell me she needed release? She was there for me; and I feel that I wasn't there for her.
I owe her so much more than I was able to give her in those final days. I was selfish to think I could keep my lifelong companion for my life.
I will forever...love...my rose...Josie! I tamed her, and she was my responsibility. I hope she feels I have done right by her. I promise to always look up at the stars and see her there.