Goodbye, Martha Cat

Grief and sadness: our cat Martha has passed away due to sudden and severe renal neoplasia leading to multiple organ failure. She had just turned ten years old (Oct 2012 to Oct 2022) — far too early.

I didn’t know it at the time but this was her last healthy photo outdoors:

Martha #cat on the deck

We adopted Martha Jones along with her sister Amelia Pond in 2013 (a couple months after the death of Pandora) through Lost Dog Rescue, from a litter called the “Companion Kittens” by their foster — all named for Doctor Who companions.

Martha Kitten - Closeup

Through the years and multiple moves, she was an affectionate and precocious kitty who loved chin rubs and nose bumps and being held in arms and resting on bent elbows as we went to sleep.

Martha #cat

Martha had been in a state of slow decline for the last couple of years, but I hadn’t recognized the warning signs quickly enough: weight loss, hissy ill temper towards her sister Amelia, and frequent vomiting. (Previous vets had checked the vomiting and found no issue other than that she was eating too fast and getting active right after, but it got much worse later, which, with the weight loss, I should have recognized as a sign of kidney failure.)

She crashed hard in early October, showing signs of pain: curling up in corners, growling when we came near. I finally found a nearby still-covid-cautious vet and took her in, where they diagnosed her with kidney disease and referred her to the local emergency vet clinic for IV fluids and confinement for observation.

Martha's Last Days

Martha perked up for a day after coming back home but still had difficulty moving due to muscle atrophy. I got her a cage as a convalescent habitat, and set it up with food, water, and a small litterbox so she wouldn’t need to move too far for basic life necessities, figuring this would help with a lengthy, difficult recovery period.

There was no recovery.

She crashed again and I called the emergency vet, who recommended I bring her back in. At 4AM I got the call: her heart was failing. I drove alone through dark, foggy, empty roads to the veterinary ER clinic in Burnside. They led me to a pet euthanasia room and brought Martha to me, still alive, curled up on an cushion which smelled of isopropyl alcohol. I held her for a few minutes to say goodbye; she still purred but was limp in my arms and would sometimes twitch in pain.

Martha’s Last Days: Final Moments

I laid Martha down on the cushion, and as the vet injected the euthanizing drugs into the IV catheter in her leg, she rested her head on my hand one last time and went to sleep. “She’s gone,” the vet said. It was 5:03 AM of October 17th, 2022. I was allowed a few minutes to mourn alone with her remains. “I’m sorry, Martha,” I whispered to the air, before the vet came back to pack her away. I couldn’t seem to cry.

I’ll never forget how foggy it was that night as I waited for the box with her remains.

Foggy Burnside

I brought her home first so Amy and Ezra could say goodbye, petting the cold fur one last time. (There was an ice pack placed in the box to keep the remains preserved till cremation). Amelia sniffed at the box. I don’t know if she comprehended.

Martha’s Last Days: Amelia sniffs a goodbye

We had her remains cremated at Metro Pet Crematory in Upper Sackville, with the ashes returned to us in a box for later scattering.

I’m okay. We’re okay. This is the third cat I’ve ever put to sleep, but of course it doesn’t and shouldn’t get any easier. She was an affectionate and cuddly and mischievously playful cat who died far too soon, and I’ll miss her like I miss Pandora.

Martha leaves us with over over 500 cat photos. Please enjoy these of her going O_O through the years:

Martha Cat Martha #cat under the bed
Martha #cat watching birds in sunlight Martha #cat smells bacon

She is of course also survived by her sister Amelia, who is still strong, healthy, and has gotten rather large.

Martha, This is Fine Dog, Amelia

More photos of Martha’s last days. (Warning: this album does contain potentially traumatic photos of her immediately before and after euthanasia.)

And a video I took of her as a kitten:

Goodbye, Martha.

Update, December: We scattered Martha’s ashes here, on a cold leaf-covered slope overlooking the waters of Cole Harbour:

Cole Harbour Heritage Park

This was not far from the old Poor Farm cemetery. I like to imagine the ghosts of those lonely outcasts perking up one night as a spectral black cat approaches them from the nearby trees, to jump into their arms, all cuddly with purrs and nose bumps. Just sometimes, in my imagination.