Carla Yastrzemski Patch
“The Good One”
*September 9, 2008 - December 1, 2017
December started for us with our second visit this year to that room at the vet’s office with the soft blanket and a box of tissues. They couldn’t perform the scheduled mastectomy on Carla. They shaved her up to get her ready, and discovered the cancer had moved into her armpits, it was just too aggressive to operate. We thought we would have to go in the next morning to say goodbye. I called David that afternoon and told him I wanted him to bring Carla home at least for that night. In 2008 when we brought her home from the shelter and promised her a forever home, we rescued her from living in a cage. I didn’t want her last night to be in a cage.
They sent her home with pain medicine. We would be able to allow her to let us know when she was done. She wasn’t really a lot weaker yet, she could still jump up on the bed to curl up with her daddy until he fell asleep and she could still come downstairs. to jump up on the foot rest of the recliner and sleep to relax her mommy to sleep. She was still eating and enjoying treats and in the evening she still spent part of the time attached to daddy's side on the couch and the other part on her armrest on the recliner making Carlaccino.
Marco and Carla- one last sun bath in the front window together
That lasted just over two weeks. At the end of two weeks she was moving very slow, sleeping a lot and not able to get up to the places she liked to be. Three days before it was over we had given her one of the painkillers in the morning. It was very sunny and it took her two tries to get on top of the chest by the window. She sat confused and Marco sort of guided her in to the cat hammock in the window so she could sit in the sun. It broke my heart that night after David went up to bed and she didn't follow upstairs, she crawled off the couch and sat in front of the recliner and cried up to me begging to be picked up. I wanted so badly to be able to pick her up and comfort her. She crawled back up to the couch and curled up back to sleep and I cried. The next day we gave her a painkiller in the morning and she pretty much slept all day with no interest in food or any of the other things she normally liked to do. She knew it was time.
We'll remember Carla in many special ways. She was a year-old when we adopted her and after having a rough first year, including having had kittens when she was still a kitten herself, she was adult cat size but had the happy kittenhood with lots of love she was owed. We were happy to give that to her and she never stopped being grateful. In so many ways she never stop being a kitten.
But to everyone that met her, Carla was a kitty of sounds. Her shelter name at Paws and Whiskers was Sassy. It wasn't too long after she came home that we realized how such a sweet girl could be called sassy. Carla had no problem letting us know when she needed petting. She had a very distinct, loud and plaintive meow when she demanded attention. But more than that meow, I worried the first time I heard the happy meow. She would yell loudly but muffled when she had a toy in her mouth and was walking around with it. We came to call that muffled meow singing, "I got I toy, I got a toy, I got a toy!” We call her purring “Carlaccino” because it sounded like the espresso machines in the coffee shop. When you pet her on her sweet spot; right on the top of her head between her ears, her purr would start low and quiet and get louder, building just like an espresso pot.
But what turned out to be the most distinctive Carla sound was there in other parts of the house but it really came to life when we removed the carpet over the hardwood floors in the living room. She had her clumsy moments jumping up on things, but when she walked through a room she had a fluid elegance and when she walked on the hardwood floor her claws made a rhythmic clicking sound like a lady in high heels. My weekend aide always celebrated her when she came downstairs welcoming her as “Miss Fancy Feet.” The friends, aides and nurses who are here most often noted they missed the lady like clicks of her feet on the floor when she came home for hospice care. In prepping her for this surgery she ended up not having, they clipped her claws.
Now all of Carla’s sounds, warm cuddles and the eternal kitten who never stopped playing in the eight years she was with us are gone. Last year at Christmas time, gifts to the canine family and friends came from "the three wise cats." This year Marco will be an only cat for the holidays. He left his litter mates when he was a kitten and instantly had two sisters so he's never been an only cat. It's different for all of us in a little emptier house this year.
2017: We lost our ‘Queen” and our “Good One.” 2018 has to be better.