It was not to be, and I faced the difficult decision all pet owners dread: when does keeping her alive cross the line from being a responsible pet owner into selfishness at the cost of her comfort? Yesterday, she climbed into my lap and sat down, facing me, and looked me in the eye. I knew she was telling me it was time. Today I followed my head, not my heart, and let her go.
I found Allie through an email appeal almost 7 years ago when she was 6 years old. I had another kitty, Rosebud, who was in the sunset of her life, and Allie dedicated herself to making the last year of Rosebud's life miserable. Allie had many special qualities as most cats do, but foremost among them was she would pet herself when she was feeling neglected. She had been shot with a pellet gun when she was young, lived as a declawed cat in a home with cats with claws and came to us with a heart full of love in spite of a tough start in life. We were her third or fourth home, and I resolved we would be her last, and that when Rosebud died we would be a one cat home for the rest of Allie's life. She deserved it.
Allie won over all visitors, cat lovers and haters, construction workers and delivery people, with her self-petting antics and talkative nature. She slept face down, blocking out all possible sources of oxygen, and thrived on stalking bugs and pining for the hummingbirds on the other side of the window. When the kitchen was under construction, she supervised the work. One day, she got into the crawl space under the house and I couldn't find her when I came home. I heard her meowing under the house and found her, dirty and hungry. The panic I felt then should have prepared me for losing her today, but that fear was quickly overtaken by her clingy sweetness.