Serena, c. 1999-2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Well, my cat just died. Which is to say I put her down. Yesterday she was fine, this afternoon, paralyzed and in severe pain with a blood clot near the spine. Just got back from the vet. Just now. At least it was all quite fast, relatively speaking.

I found her in a tree in Philadelphia in the summer of 2000. She was in the tree when I went on a walk at night, and she was still in the tree when I went on a walk the next morning. My then-girlfriend borrowed someone's ladder and got her down. What to do? I took her to Binghamton to live with me and my insane, cranky Original Cat, Wiley. Serena was a sociopath and a user who liked people primarily if not exclusively because they were warm in the winter and they fed her. Still, she had personality, and she was easy, and I loved her.



mac 4:47 PM  

So sorry for your loss, Rex.

PeterAtLarge 4:48 PM  

So sad to lose a friend like that...

imsdave 5:00 PM  

I've lost two cats - one only 5 years old due to pet food (Mertz was a dog in a cats body), and one (Cassie) to cancer after 18 years. So sorry for your loss.

ArtLvr 5:03 PM  

My sympathy too -- I know she'll be missed.

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

Sorry for your loss, and best wishes guiding Sahra(?) through this.

fikink 5:12 PM  

Her last few years were that much more blessed because you rescued her, Rex. Time to take care of yourself. You are in our thoughts.

Anonymous 5:15 PM  

Oh, Rex, I'm crying. You did the right thing then when you adopted her and now when you had no choice. Serena was a much loved cat.

foodie 5:17 PM  

I'm so sorry Rex!

We have a (human) friend who got a clot in his spine and over the course of a few hours felt the paralysis climb up his body. It was terrifying. By the time they helicoptered him into the hospital, it was above his arms. They operated and stopped it, but he has remained paralyzed with only a bit of movement in his arms. His life was turned upside down in the course of a few hours, and it's been very hard.

I hope you take solace in that Serena did not suffer long (was her name inspired by Bewitched?)

Amy 5:42 PM  

Rex, I read your column all the time, love it but never comment. But this time I just had to. I am a devoted cat lover, so your words broke my heart. I am so sorry for your loss. Anyone who has ever loved a pet knows the awful hole that is left when they are gone. I hope you find comfort in knowing she had a good life and suffered only for a short time.

Orange 5:43 PM  

Poor kitty, poor kitty's people. And so sudden.

My neighbor Marty died last night. He was pretty close to death for about three months, and his wife was glad he made it to Election Day because he wasn't expected to live that long. Tomorrow would have been his 72nd birthday, and she had asked all the friends and family to send birthday cards. Ben and I went to buy a card earlier this afternoon, having not heard the news yet, and...I think the widow was relieved to learn that a musical card that plays "The Beer Barrel Polka" would not be coming into their home after all.

Which is a roundabout way of saying I'm glad Serena didn't have to suffer long. That would have been hard on all concerned.

cookielady 6:03 PM  

Oh, poor kitty and people! I suggest a wake at your local watering hole, bring pictures and invite the people who loved your cat. We had one when my dear old dog died, the place was packed and all were weeping. Also a bit of singing. It's good to send off a loved one on a river of beer and tears.

Unknown 6:06 PM  

I am so sorry for you and Serena and your family. I lost a 2 year old cat to the same thing. So sudden and so heart-breaking. My thoughts are with you.

hazel 6:16 PM  

We lost a stray (Mr. Pink) to some sort of feline peritonitis a few years ago and it was one of the saddest days of my life until we lost my 17-year old cat (Simon) to the same thing a few months later. Its amazing what an impact our pets can have on our lives. I'm so sorry for the loss to your family.

Dean 6:21 PM  

Hi Rex-
It is an unfortunate fact that humans live longer than our pets, but I wouldn't give up a second of time spent with them. Serena was lucky to have an owner who cared so much for her. I'm up to 9 cats myself and have lost a few too, but you should feel better knowing she had a better life with you.

Unknown 7:39 PM  

For your family in this time of loss.

Here lies the remains of one of God's children,
who possessed beauty without vanity
strength without insolence
courage without ferocity
and unspeakable virtues and forgivable vices.
This elegy would be mere flattery if dedicated to human ashes,
but this is a true account of our Serena,
a noble and loving cat.

alanrichard 7:53 PM  

My wife rescued a stray Persian that we had for about 10 years. Last year she walked out when my daughter left the door open. When we found her over a week later she was sick and dehydrated. She never recovered.
My sympathies for your loss - they really do become a part of the family.

Anonymous 7:57 PM  

Oh I am so sorry. Somehow the memory of that summer in Philadelphia makes it all sadder -- that was so long ago, a different life.

Putting down Big Kitty and Potato was really hard. Poor you and poor Serena.

chefbea 8:01 PM  

Rex - so sorry for your loss. What a cute cat

jae 8:19 PM  

Condolences Rex.

green mantis 8:35 PM  

So sad. So sorry.

Ulrich 8:43 PM  

We lost our oldest cat, after 19 years, this summer. We know how hard it is.

@rex: You love poems--here's a cat poem by Alastair Reid.

barbara 8:45 PM  

So sorry for you and your family. Have been through it a few times (Sunny, Rainy, Squeege, Sparky, Salem and Mittens) over the years.
Glad you shared your story with your readers/fans. Hang in there.

Anonymous 9:00 PM  

I know it's hard. You are in my thoughts. Be well. Serena deserves only joy.

Spencer 9:28 PM  


TLP 10:18 PM  

So sorry! Nothing better than a warm cat on your lap (and on top of the puzzle you are trying to finish).

mellocat 10:35 PM  

So very sorry. I've one cat who sounds a bit like her -- she becomes a lap cat in winter, seeking warmth. You might think it was affectionate until you see how peeved she gets when the lap shifts. She can be a nuisance but I'll be crushed when she goes. Sounds like Serena had a fine life, even though it was too short.

Howard B 11:12 PM  

Very sorry, Rex. :(

miriam b 11:23 PM  

Terribly sorry, Rex. I'm a confirmed cat lover, now living with 5 cats. I lost two this past year, one 18 and one 15. It's never easy, even when they've lived a good long life. It must be especially awful to have a pet overtaken so suddenly by an overwhelming condition. Thank goodness you were on hand when it happened so that you could immediately take the necessary but painful (for you) action.

Anonymous 12:09 AM  

We lost Jackson to the same problem a number of years ago. He woke me crying at midnight because he couldn't move. We had him put down and was buried at 3AM in our back yard. It is so hard losing a pet. But in a way I am glad that I should (will) out live my 'babies'. this way I know that they have always been taken care of. Hugs to you, Rex. She is waiting at the Rainbow Bridge.

Anonymous 12:32 AM  

My screen name is my cat’s name – I do not know what I would do without her (she has taught me that rejection is not always personal) – my heart goes out to you…

Bodag 12:48 AM  

I am sorry for your loss. Through my life, my pets have added some of the greatest joys, and their loss some of greatest heartaches. You and Serena are in my thoughts.

Elizabeth Julian Clarke 1:14 AM  

They will not go quietly,
the cats who've shared our lives.
In subtle ways they let us know
their spirit still survive.
Old habits still make us think
we hear a meow at the door.
Or step back when we drop
a tasty morsel on the floor.
Our feet still go around the place
the food dish used to be,
And, sometimes, coming home at night,
we miss them terribly.
And although time may bring new friends
and a new food dish to fill,
That one place in our hearts
belongs to them....
and always will.
~ Linda Barnes ~

So sorry.

Bill from NJ 1:35 AM  

We lived with 5 cats (Trout, Fluffy. the Waddle Fluffy, Marla and Lt col Oliver North(Ollie))and we lost them all by way of unnatural causes in a period of a bad 6 months. We acquired them over a 15 year period.

They were all individual and we loved them dearly. Sorry for your loss, Michael.

Unknown 2:06 AM  

I'm sorry for your loss. I had to put my cat down, two years ago Christmas Eve, so I know the pain. But as others have said, everyone's lives were richer for having shared it.

Anonymous 4:23 AM  

my heart bleeds for you :(

I had lunch with a friend named Serena today (who chose that name over her given Chinese name) so i hope that's a sign she lives on.

THe only time I've ever tried to start a blog it was called "How i met my pet" so maybe it's also a sign to revive it and add the story of you and Serena.

love from me, Koko and BlackJack

Campesite 7:32 AM  

My condolences Michael.

Rex Parker 8:07 AM  

You are all very sweet. And Bill, I laughed very hard at "Lt. Col. Oliver North," which I now think the perfect name for a cat. I can only imagine what he (the cat) was like.


Anonymous 10:52 AM  

I certainly sympathize and empathize. We recently had to put our 18 year old cat to sleep; she was a stray that we'd picked up many years ago. I've always been a cat person, and each time we lose one, it breaks my heart. Our Callie must have been a lot like your Serena; she was never much of a lap cat, but she was a beautiful little long haired calico who ruled the roost and kept all our larger male cats under her paw!

PGubanc 8:00 PM  

I'm so sorry to hear about Serena. And your characterization of her as a "user" is *so* feline! Thanks for plucking her from the tree, saving her, giving her a great home, and waiting on her hand and paw for years. Any man can love a dog, but only *real* men can love cats! ;-)

Anonymous 9:41 PM  

Such a beautiful calico kitty. So sorry for your loss, dear Rex. Thank you for sharing this with us. Love, Rock Rabbit

Doc John 11:13 PM  

Rex, you have my deepest sympathies.

"Those whom we have loved never really go away. They are with us now wherever we are."

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