By Elisa Black-Taylor
I still remember the moment I met Noir through Sealy’s Facebook page. Other than eye color, they were identical, right down to missing the left ear. Her mother, Mary Barker, and I quickly became friends. Mary devotes her time between her son, who is a special needs child, and her cats Noir, Walter and Albert. Noir passed away suddenly last week, and it’s been devastating to Mary and her son Daniel, who at 12 suffers from High Functioning Autism.
Noir is a gentle cat who had been left to fend for herself after being horribly abused and injured. She was first noticed when she showed up in a small feral colony in N.C.. Mercy (the original admin. and colony caregiver) began feeding Noir to help ease her suffering and gain her trust. Eventually Noir was able to come in off the streets and was fostered there in Mercy’s home. Through the miracle of her FB page, people came forward to support the vetting of this cat. Funds were raised and over time it was determined she was ready to find her forever family.
Noir’s ear had been cut off, her ribs had permanent scarring, and her front paw had been broken and had since re-healed incorrectly on its own making it twisted and weak. The tip off her tail had been removed and she had been left with nerve damage on one side of her head. Her eye on the side where the ear was missing could not close properly. She suffered from arthritis relating to the injuries so her main goal in life was staying warm in the sun or on a heated bed. She had to live with these injuries but her spirit had healed.
Mary, originally from Virginia, moved to Arizona over a decade ago. Noir had a wonderful life with Mary and her family since coming to her forever home a few years ago.
NOIR’S BODY JUST SHUT DOWN
Noir went through two previous periods of losing weight, but she’d gain it right back. This was her third bout with becoming emaciated, but this time her body couldn’t recover. Noir had gone through so much.
Mary spent a lot of time with Noir, coaxing her to eat, cuddling her and showing her as much love as possible. Mary became concerned because this time Noir’s body shape was changing, and Noir wasn’t getting any better despite treatment. Tests had ruled out almost everything except cancer. That’s what the vet feared, and Mary knew she may soon have to make a decision to help Noir leave this world if she should begin to suffer.
Last weekend Mary made plans to stay out of work Monday to be with Noir. On September 28, Noir lost her fight with an unknown illness that can best be described as rapid liver failure. Mary took Noir for her last vet visit, where she was to receive sub-q fluids and some Prescription A/D food. She had a distended abdomen and was dehydrated. Mary and the vet planned to treat the symptoms and run more tests the beginning of the week. Sub-q fluids would be given as often as needed.
Noir’s decline began when the tech was taking her temperature and Noir’s skin began turning slightly pink and Mary asked her about it. The vet agreed it was odd and Mary explained that normally her skin is whitish under the fur like most cats and that she is not a scratcher so there would be no reason for her skin to be pinkish because Noir hadn’t been scratching herself. Then within minutes it got darker pink. Another 20 minutes passed, and Noir’s skin had turned red and continued darkening.
Noir’s skin began breaking down in front of their eyes. Mary had stepped out of the room while fluids were being given because she has an aversion to needles. Noir’s vet soon came to reunite Mary during Noir’s last moments. It was devastating for Mary to watch Noir fading before their eyes.
Mary broke the tragic news to her friend on Facebook saying
“I have made arrangements to have Noir cremated individually and returned to us. I wanted to keep her here with us in our home. I cannot bear to let her go away. I know that it is simply psychological because she is not truly here but at least if I have her urn here in the house it will feel a tiny bit comforting. I never want her to ever be alone ever. She needs to stay here with us. To all of you…..thank you for loving Noir. She has had a great couple of years here. I am so grateful she came into my life. Daniel loves her dearly. All of you feel like family and we are all going to miss her.”
CHANGES AT HOME
Mary’s house feels empty without Noir there. Daniel is devastated and has had trouble attending school since this happened. One of their other cats Albert, is trying to fill the role as a therapy cat to Daniel. Albert is a huge tabby with lots of white, who now runs to Daniel whenever he enters a room. I told Mary that perhaps Albert always wanted to play a bigger part in Daniel’s life, but Noir was queen of the castle. Albert has now stepped in to fill that role. It’s amazing how our pets know when we need extra love.
Walter, who reminds me of a buttercup with his cream coloring and vivid blue eyes, isn’t as affected, but he’s an outside cat because of his temperament. He lives in a safe outdoor environment, and Mary feels he’s living the best life possible. He’s a hunter and can take care of himself.
REST IN PEACE NOIR
Mary, we all feel your pain. Most of us have been there at some point, with a cat who was more special than others. Our Sealy was in love with Noir, and checked on her often. It was a shock to learn she had left this world so suddenly. Perhaps that’s best, as she didn’t suffer a long and debilitating illness.
It’s amazing how friends come together whenever one of us loses a cat. We all feel that loss, and although words of encouragement are offered, it still doesn’t take away the pain. Only time can do that, and it takes an awful lot of time to come to terms to a cat not being there. You, as well as Gwen Cooper, who recently lost her blind kitty Homer, are in my thoughts every day.
Mary has decided to keep Noir’s Facebook page open, and continue with the lives of Walter and Albert. I think Noir would approve.