At this time, on this day last year, I was hugging Philly and sitting in a daze. It was a Tuesday, and Milly had passed somewhere between 10am and 12pm, on the operating table.
We never got to bide her safe journey.
The surgery was an exploratory operation – to find out exactly what are the lumps the vet had felt in Milly’s tummy just the Saturday before.
The verdict: Milly suffered from multi-cystic intestinal lymphoma. Cancer. And very aggressive it was too. Her intestines were so riddled with cysts of all sizes that the vet determined it was better to just let her go. This was especially in view of the fact that many of the cysts were pus-filled, and could break any moment.
Milly would likely not last more than 1 month in the most optimistic scenario. Reviving her meant that she would have to go through the healing process of recovering from surgery, and it would be a struggle she may not survive, given her weakened and debilitated state of health.
Today, I feel as if it is 25 Oct 2005 again. My eyes ache with tears, but they will remain uncried, for the most part.
Since her passing, there is a tugging on the heart whenever I think of Milly. It is now a familiar sensation.
Among the slackers, Milly is the smallest – where Bam Bam, Teddy, Joey and Philly weigh upwards of 6 kilos, Bams the lightest at 6.3 or so and Philly/Joey between 7.5 to 8, she is less than 4. She is also the omega, giving way to all and sundry.
Being used to large cats, there is something very different about holding a small dainty cat like her, a welcome difference of soft, effortless affection compared to the (back-breaking) grunting strain of cuddling the large heavy ones – though in fairness, their bulk do make for very comforting mass, especially when they purr, it resonates so. Still, Milly was the most obliging cuddle of the brood, until Philly joined us.
At the time that Milly joined the slacker club, there was only Teddy, Bam Bam and Joey. We had not intended for Milly to be a slacker. But that is a story for another time. For now, I just want to remember her.
Tenderness – Joey loved having a younger, and smaller cat to fuss over. Milly was already full-grown here.
When Milly passed, she was only 3.5 years old. She died from cancer, but the cancer was likely to have been even more aggressive than usual due to her being an FiV cat. Did the fact that she was an FiV-cat change anything? Well, yes, we did have watch her a bit more carefully the others. But nothing else was different – FiV, like HiV, is more a stigma disease than anything.
Despite being more observant of her health and daily habits, we still failed her – though the vet has said that gastro-intestinal cancer is very difficult to detect, and we had in fact brought her in earlier than most.
It is small comfort.
One year has gone, but I still find myself looking around for her.
Your mum doesn’t say it, but she misses you like crazy too.
Your loving aunt,
PS Your littermate, Rheilly, and her son Kheilly joined the homeslacking crew this year on Mar 18. They don’t fill the void you left behind, and we don’t expect them too, but it is a joy to have them at home. We thought you’d like to know that Rheilly, after a lifetime of being a homeless cat, now has a home too. She and Philly hit it right off, just like you did with him. We know you three recognised and remembered each other. Too bad you did not get to reunite with Rheilly. Btw, Philly and Joey still think of you too.