Sylvie eased family’s pain over parting

Sylvie the cat
Sylvie the cat

Sylvie entered our lives in 1992 in Livermore as a beautiful, frisky, long-furred black and white “tuxedo” kitten. Our sons, Zack and Luke, were ages 16 and 12, respectively.

The boys loved the kitten, Zack often throwing her up (carefully) and catching her. Luke built a Lego city in the living room, where Sylvie enjoyed crawling through the buildings, looking like a giant in the small city.

As I sat on the couch reading, Sylvie would sneak up behind me and drape herself over my shoulder. She loved our backyard. There were bushes lining the yard and pool. As I swam, she would lie alongside the pool, watching me. She often leapt to the top of the fence, walking along the top, or jumping over the back. She found numerous places to hide and play.

The move to Arroyo Grande when she was 13 was hard for Sylvie. She took months to venture into our yard and was intimidated by the many cats in our new neighborhood. She never regained her energy and friskiness in our new home and got fat, but did learn to enjoy our yard.

A year ago, Sylvie began to lose weight; the vet diagnosed her with kidney disease. She began medication, but in March we started injecting her with fluids for hydration. She lost more weight.

In summer, Sylvie slept more. By September, she became skinny, and dirty. We could feel her bones. The vet told us to increase the fluids, and that she was no longer cleaning herself. She was dragging her rear legs, losing strength there.

During our October vacation, our neighbors gave her the injections. When we returned, Sylvie had deteriorated further. She was positively dirty, with matted fur, very skinny, and smelled of urine.

I held her close, knowing it was time to make the BIG DECISION we were avoiding. Now 18, she spent most of her time on the couch, urinating on newspapers below, eating very little. I called the vet about euthanasia.

That night it was raining, but Sylvie insisted on being outside. I found her under the neighbor’s car, surprised she had wandered that far. I brought her into the house, only to find her outside again. I again brought her into the house, wrapped her in a towel, rocked and hugged her, and put her by the heater.

Then I found her in the garage, left her there and went to bed. Saturday we could not find Sylvie anywhere. I went to a friend’s house.

My husband, Bob, called me midday saying he had found Sylvie far under our deck; she hadn’t been out all day to eat or drink. I thought she’d maybe gone under there to die.

I came home and peered under the deck. There was our kitty, head jerking up and down, looking at me. I told her what a wonderful pal she had been throughout our lives together, wished her happy passage and said goodbye.

We went to a movie, but couldn’t enjoy it — I was heartbroken. Sunday morning we looked under the deck — Sylvie had passed in the night and was resting peacefully. She had taken things “into her own paws,” saving us the dreaded decision to have her “put down.” It was Halloween.