I took the day off yesterday, which is good because yesterday was dumb. Iris had been ill for awhile and I decided enough was enough, and I made an appointment for a vet to come over and put her to sleep.

Naturally, she woke up having a good day. She actually got up off the bed in the morning, had her tail in the air, drank 80 tons of water from the water bowl. I’d been bringing water to her in bed. Water in bed. Like it was dehydrated Mother’s Day or something.

I encouraged her to come outside with us and she did! I thought, Oh, man, is it too soon?

By the time the vet got here, Iris was back in bed. Edsel had been glued to her all day, which is unlike him. Generally he’s glued to me.

The vet came in with an assistant, and she looked Iris over. “This cat is in pain. She’s high on the grimace scale.”

Apparently, you can tell how much pain a cat is in by the position of her ears, her little cat lips, and her whiskers. Iris had all those signs going on.

The vet opened a tin of treats that Iris wasn’t interested in. “They’re sheep lung. Cats usually go crazy for them,” said the vet.

SHEEEEEP lung? What in the anthrax. How revolting.

“Ah, now THIS cat is doing great on the grimace scale,” said the vet, and when I looked up from fussing over Iris, there was fat-ass Lily, her grimace-free face buried in sheep lung. “THIS cat is really happy.”

“My perfectly well cat does not need to be scarfing all the dead-cat treats,” I told the vet, who took the tin away and got out some high-powered catnip. The whole point of these shenanigans was to see if Iris responded at all, and she really did not. Lily, who wishes to become part owner of Sheep Lung Delectables, LLP, also did not respond to the catnip, which the vet had sprinkled ON her. But she did settle in next to Iris.

“Lily is having a calming influence on Iris,” noted the vet, who was asking me questions and taking notes. I guess I had to pass the is-she-off-able test. But sadly, we were passing it.

The vet explained everything that was going to happen, even though I knew because I’ve done this before. But it’s always good to be prepared, because sometimes pets have reactions that might upset you if you didn’t know they aren’t really conscious.

“OK, I’m ready to give the first injection when you are,” she said.

I’d already told Iris everything I needed to tell her before the vet got there. So I kissed her gray head and said I was ready. Iris’s. The vet had black hair.

If I didn’t love Lily before, this next part was amazing. When the vet gave Iris the shot, Lily reached out her paw and touched Iris on her back. She never left the bed through this whole procedure.

“Do you want to hold Iris for the next part?” asked the vet. I had been at the end of the bed, sitting in Edsel’s dog bed with him. I got on the bed and the vet gave me a pad and then placed Iris on it. We were waiting a bit for shot number two. The vet was examining Iris, and said Iris, in her opinion, was a lot sicker than we’d thought. She felt a mass in Iris’s stomach, and she also mentioned lymphoma, and she thought the mass might have been affecting Iris’s lungs. She didn’t like how Iris’s heart sounded, either.

I was just reacting to this news when


“I let the orange cat in. I hope that’s OK,” said the vet assistant.

It turns out? I have never given catnip to Milhous. And it turns out? Catnip makes Milhous act like John Belushi in his later days. He was ROLLING all over the area Iris had been, then LEAPING over the bottles and instruments and even his sister, Lily. It was then he noted Lily had catnip ON her, so it was about that time he began licking and rolling about Lily’s person, a thing Lily let him do because she’s Lily.

“It’s like he’s doing coke off a stripper,” I said.

“Does he often bring comic relief?” asked the vet.

“Milhous is the most hilarious cat I’ve ever had,” I told her, and mentioned the trash can riding and the pirate walks across the top of the fence.

“I think he came in on purpose,” said the vet. “I think he knew we needed to lighten the mood.”

Well, we certainly had. What an ASS that buff bastard of a cat is. He kept poking the vet in her nether regions, and eventually the assistant had to … gently remove Stoned Cold Steve Milhous and his high self.

Remind me to never get that cat any catnip. Ever.

Anyway, eventually the deed was done, and Iris had some rather gruesome reactions that further convinced the vet that she was really very ill. She knows my vet and is going to call him with her notes. I’m not mad at my vet about it and I still like him a lot.

Afterward, Ned came over to dig a hole. I told him not to look at Iris, whom I’d wrapped in a towel and put in a basket, but he did, and then he spent 10 minutes on my porch steps, sobbing. I tried not to be irritated by this, as I’d emphasized I needed stoic from him. Stoic. I needed more Milhous, fewer sobs. But Ned loved Iris, and she him, so I understood and found myself saying, “It’s OK. It’s OK that my cat is dead.”

It turns out, digging a hole is hard. I helped, but it was like when Prissy helped with Melanie had her baby. Whereas Ned came with muddy boots, I was out there in my Jessica Simpson bunny slippers.

I DID go to the store to get lime, because you’re supposed to put lime in the hole. I forget why.

Anyway, the deed is done, and I get irises from Chris and Lilly later in the week to plant where I buried her. C&L, too, had a rotten day, as they lost one of their horses yesterday. Lilly said that horse, Tex, was so used to winning things that any time he heard a voice over a speaker, he’d start to walk forward, because he just assumed he won.

As soon as Ned was done at my house, I sent him over to Chris and Lilly’s to dig THAT hole.

So, it’s done. And already Lily has walked into a room and I thought it was Iris. I imagine that will happen a lot. That was the only time I cried, was when that happened. I’m sure good, heroic Lily is delighted that her mom looks at her, is disappointed, and then cries.

So that’s the story of dumb yesterday.

I’m so glad I got to have an Iris in this life.

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At one point, I was sort of hot, in a "she's 27 and probably a 7" kind of a way. Now I'm old and have to develop a charming personality. Guess how that's going.

120 thoughts on “Irises”

  1. I’m so glad you were able to enjoy a last rally with sweet little Iris. I’m also glad that whatever Ned lacks in stoicism, his good quality? Has it in spades.


  2. I knew you’d write, and I’d knew you’d be alternately hysterically funny and sad with a dash of bittersweet. But I also knew I needed to wait a day to read it. I love that photo of Iris in the doorway with her sweet face turned to the sun. You two were good for each other. Thank you for sharing her with us.


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