23 December 2006

R.I.P. Sorcha The Pretty Kitty

4 Home - 39 p.r.S.P.

Aloicious has informed us via e-mail that my cat Sorcha had to be put down a couple of days ago. She apparently was in such a state that both the animal control "expert" and the veterinarian, whom he had gone to for advice, both agreed that it seemed to be the best course of action. This seems very very sad to me and I will miss her lots.

Sorcha was adopted by myself, my room-mate Clyde* and my two sisters when we shared an apartment in Manchester, Conn in 1998/'99. One of my sisters' pet budgie had passed away during one of the severe winter cold snaps. She was distraught and wanted a new pet right away. My other sister enthusiastically signed on to the plan, but I was a bit hesitant--knowing that both had active social lives and probably wouldn't be around much past the initial adoption to feed and clean up after the animals.

Well, one day, they rushed off to the animal shelter--and suddenly we were the owners of not one, but two little kittens. One we called Astral and the other one, who promptly hid underneath the refridgerator--so much so that we had to tilt the 'fridge back to set her loose--I called "Sorcha" (which is Irish Gaelic for 'Sarah', I think). No particular reason, I just thought it was a cool name. She had a really beautiful coat, tortoise-shell black on her back, all-white underneath and raccoon-like black stripes all the way down her tail. She also had these piercing green eyes which shone out, especially in the dark. The two got on well, and even curled up next to each other to sleep.

We started to notice that while Sorcha began to grow, Astral wasn't. She also began to eat less and less. My sister and Clyde brought Astral to the vet and they were told that she had a genetic liver disease and wouldn't live too much longer, even with acostly operation designed to fight the disease. With heavy hearts, we decided to have her put down. One of my sisters interpreted it as a sign of some sort--but I just thought that Astral seemed to be unlucky, poor thing. Sorcha ended up becoming "my" cat on default, when, as I had suspected--nobody else seemed to have the time to care for her. I think she also bonded to me, because I was the one who had fed her and cleaned her litterbox from the beginning.

Eventually, both sisters elected to leave the apartment, for different reasons--and it was far too expensive for Clyde and I to stay there. We tried to rope in some possible room-mates, as the pad was really nice and we didn't want to leave. In the end we moved out into a smaller place just down the road--and Sorcha moved with us. She never the most sociable cat and when we would have visitors or parties, she would dart into my bedroom to hide until the commotion had settled. She did actually let my friend Cathy pet her one night while Cathy was visiting--a rare occurance indeed. I tired of living with Clyde over the course of the year-lease--he had been my room-mate for four years at that point and while I tried to be patient with him, he just seemed to me to be irresponsible with money and just a mess most of the time. Once again, the race for another room-mate was on--and again, it didn't pan out, so regrettably, I moved back into my folks' house in East Hartford. On the day we were leaving the apartment, we had almost finished packing everything into the moving van--when I noticed Sorcha was missing. Thinking that she had run out while we had the front door propped open, we searched out in the snow (it was January) and ice for over an hour. I really thought she had gone and became very upset--only to find that she had been hiding underneath my folded-up comforter. It was such a relief to find her, as I knew she wouldn't survive outside--being an indoor cat her whole life.

That year (2001 Gregorian), I moved three different times. I stayed at my folks' place for a few months, then moved into the attic space of a house in Hartford for the summer. That proved to be not to my liking and I moved out in a hurry in September, following some drastic events (September 11th being just one of them--it's a whole other story). I stayed at my sister and her boyfirends' apartment for a couple of weeks, then stayed with a co-worker, who's fiancee was generous enough to invite me to stay at their house for a bit. They lived in Ellington, about 20 minutes away from East Hartford, and it was nice to stay there and get my head together for a while--until his relatives needed a place to stay for Thanksgiving. It was back to the folks' for me, for the next three years, in fact.

Sorcha was a trooper though all of the moving--and adjusted to each new place quite quickly. In the house in Hartford, she was often my only companion. The parking there was almost non-existant, which left a lot of visitors hesitant to stop by. I spent the summer in the stifling heat, reading Terence McKenna books, watching taped episodes of Six Feet Under and listening to Cocteau Twins albums--waiting for it to get cool enough at night to fall asleep and watching Sorcha "chase" birds while she was looking out of the window. At my work-mate's house--she mainly had to stay in the guest room, where I was staying, because of their Great Dane, Ava. The same situation confronted her at the folks'--with their pit bull and Alsatian/Labrador cross both trying to play with her/chase her around the house. I remember a funny moment when Xena (the pit) got a bit too close and received a well-timed clip on the nose from Sorcha. It was great, too, because my father kept insisting on "his dogs" superiority to her.

Pixie and I "got together" officially in 2003 and I was considering moving over to the UK to be with her. My biggest move yet and naturally, I wanted to bring Sorcha along yet again. The main stumbling block to taking her over was Herbie, Pixie's black Labrador. We knew that Herbie and Sorcha wouldn't mix--so the solution seemed to be to either find someone in England who could take Sorcha in while Herb was still around (he's 11 now)--or see if someone in Conn. could take her in. We couldn't find anyone here and our options in Conn. dried up fairly quickly. Aloicious agreed to take Sorcha in for a while, because he thought that he would only have her for a year, tops. Well, a year turned into two...and almost three. Apparently, her behaviour deteriorated over time and she seemed to become a nuisance, urinating on his clothes and futon. He sent me several e-mails stating that we either take her away from him or he would take her to a shelter. Eventually I had to agree to have her brought to a shelter--but Aloicious was even having trouble booking her into one. That was the last I heard before this latest message.

I suppose I feel like I let her down in a way--that I should have tried harder to get her a temporary home here--but there was also the cost of the flight and for the quarantine. There are also the stringent Defra pet importing rules that would need to be followed and she still had nowhere to stay here, even after the six-month quarantine. I also knew that she only would have a limited amount of time to stay with my brother. It was agonising not being able to do anything but sit and wait. I suppose it was probably for the best in the end, especially if her mental state had deteriorated to the point where the only option was to put her down. I'll miss you, Sorcha and I hope you're free and happy now.

*name changed for the sheer hell of it

Cross-posted at Demon Squad Local #77


Flaming Pixie said...

RIP Sorcha. I'm sorry we never met, and that you never got to come and live with us. I'm also sorry I called you "Evil" - I was only joking.

Anonymous said...

RIP, Sorcha. She sounds like a good companion. Pets will always break your heart. So sorry to hear your sad news.

The Purple Gooroo said...

Cheers for the sympathy, Bear.

Yeah--it's strange, they're with you for years..then suddenly they're gone. Sad, really.