Losing "Salem Louise"

by Mary
(North Carolina, USA)

Beautiful Salem Louise  1997-2010

Beautiful Salem Louise 1997-2010

There comes a time in ALL cat lovers life when they have to say good-bye to one of their beloved felines.

This was true for me and my grandchildren a little over a week ago.

Salem Louise was a beautiful black cat of 12 to 13 years of age.
For a "old gal" she was lively, spunky and full of attitude.
She had pep in her walk and energy in her talk and she took nothing off of other kitty's here in the home or humans as well.

What Salem Louise wanted, SHE GOT!
She was adopted several years ago in a run down pet shop in Virginia who has a reputation for adopting out sickly cats.
Salem was no exception.
When my oldest daughter and grandchildren was in the shop that day,they seen a black kitty, hunkered down in her unkept cage.
She looked sad, depressed and had horrible goop in her eyes.
She was coughing and sneezing and sick for sure.
She had a sign on her cage stating that she was on the "put down list" if not adopted soon as she was already an older cat.
Her prior owners had taken her to the pet store and LEFT HER because they was moving away.
No one knows the past hardship this cat probably lived.
Anyone who can just MOVE AWAY and cast aside their pet is obviously someone with no heart.
This broke my grand daughters hearts.
They could not leave that store and leave this poor ALREADY OLDER cat there to die. She had been overlooked long enough.
So they had mom to adopt her for them and they took
Salem Louise home.
It was a struggle at first as she needed urgent medical care.
After a few weeks of medicine and alot of love, Salem was on the mend.
She has lived her remaining years indoors with 2 girls who loved her and cared for her as if she was a queen.
Peyton, the 15 year old grand daughter, always sang to Salem and it helped her go to sleep at night.
It was a ritual between them.

Salem and the grand daughters came to live with me back in June of 2009 and I grew to love Salem as I do each of my felines. She was a part of our family and we loved her.

Sadly, last week the 11 year old grand daughter came to me saying
"Nanny, Salem is laying under my bed and wont come out"
I knew this was unusual as she always greeted anyone who entered the bedroom.
Just the night before as I scooped her litter box, she rubbed against my leg as she always did and meowed for a pat on the head and a chin scratch. She seemed to be her old self.

As I entered the bedroom and looked under the bed, I saw Salem stretched out on her side (not her normal way of sleeping). I called to her and no reply.
I reached under to touch her and first noticed her body temperature was very cold.
I reached in and lifted her and took her out and laid her on the bed. She was alive but barely.
She was very lifeless and breathing was very shallow.
I immediately started trying to feed her some water droplets from a syringe and she licked at it weakly but her eyes was losing their sparkle.
The children was now hysterical, crying and pleading for me to please save her and begging to call a vet.
Dealing with cats all my life and being a Vet Tech. I KNEW that calling a vet would not help as she was only going to be alive a few short moments, it was obvious. She deserved to pass in quiet harmony with the ones she loved and who loved her.
No drama, just love all around.

I explained to 2 grieving girls that their beautiful Salem was VERY old in Cat years and her body was very tired and she was going to leave us even tho we was not ready to let her go.

I told them to cuddle up with her and spend her last moments holding her close and saying their goodbyes.
I told them to tell Salem it was ok to go so she would not try to hang on to spare their feelings.
I left the room, holding back my tears for the girls sake.
I went into my laundry room and buried my face in the basket of clean towels and there I had my cry.
I could not do that in front of the girls as it was hard enough on them and seeing me cry would have added to their grief and stressed poor Salem out more.
Salem and the girls needed their "quiet time" to say goodbye.

I washed my face and went back to the bedroom to check on the girls and Salem and as I approached the bedroom door, my heart broke into a thousand pieces as I heard the 15 year old grand daughter "SINGING" to Salem as she wept.
"Lullaby and Goodnight".
She had to make sure Salem heard her sing one last time to help Salem go to sleep.

I slowly opened the door and Peyton looked at me with tears streaming and said
"I sang her to sleep Nanny, and she is gone".
They asked for 10 more minutes with her body and I needed that time to go compose myself as well.

I went and called the Pet Crematorium to let them know that I would be bringing Salem in to be cremated and then I went in to get Salem's body from the girls.
They had wrapped her in their Micky Mouse blanket which Salem loved as it was fluffy and soft.

We took her to the Pet Crematory and handed her over to the kind man who handles all of my dearly departed felines when they cross the bridge.

Today, Salem's Urn sits on my mantle along with
"Callie & Baby" who both passed in the last 2 years.
She is missed but I know she is with us and no longer feeling the strife of old age.

We humans don't deal with letting go easily.
We want our pets to live forever and make US feel better.
It is sorta selfish on our part, but a human thing.
I have learned that it is the right thing to do to
LIVE and LOVE to the fullest while they are yet with us and then the greatest gift that we can give back to them after all their years of faithfulness and companionship is to LET GO when they need to leave us.

Pets are notorious about hanging on and suffering longer just to spare our feelings. They live their life trying to please us and make us happy and when it is time for their bodies to lay down they have difficulty leaving us because they sense and see the hurt it causes us to let them go.

We owe it to our faithful feline friends to allow them to pass in their needed time. It is hard and hurts for many,many years but we owe it to them to pass peacefully and quietly. Our life goes on and they live on inside our hearts forever.
It is there in our hearts where they live eternal and never leave us.
I take comfort in that belief.

So,Sweet Salem is sleeping (which was her favorite pass time)
and she sits on the mantle along with Callie and Baby looking over us from day to day.
We still talk to her and Callie and Baby as we walk past them and let them know they are still with us.
Still loved and forever remembered.

We miss you Salem Louise
RIP Sweet girl

Mary in NC USA

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