I don’t need to spend years with a cat to love her. I don’t even need months. I don’t need weeks. The length of a day becomes a luxury when time is limited. Hours can represent tiny lifetimes if you fill them with meaning.
Such was my time with Bianca.
New to Tabby’s Place, she came in desperately underweight but was quick to win the staff over with her curl-tipped ears and large, expressive eyes. Her coat was a painter’s palette of colors, swirled beautifully along her long, soft fur.
Sanctuary Associate Lisa fostered Bianca for her quarantine period, and Bianca fared significantly better when in a private home. With her weight hovering in the four pound range, she showed promise while with Lisa, as she put on a few ounces.
For a cat so thin, the atypical largeness of her liver was easy to find. Her bloodwork from the shelter she was first surrendered to had hints of Very Bad Things. Her examination at Tabby’s Place confirmed Very Bad Things. Bianca had cancer in her liver. Unbeatable cancer. Incompatible-with-life cancer.
With a medication routine set up to make Bianca comfortable and allow her to enjoy her remaining time, I received a request: was I interested in fostering her? Much like I did with Abby, this was a hospice foster.
I immediately agreed.
I’m a broken record on my love of old cats. Old, broken, sick, incomplete: I love them all. I wanted Bianca. I brought her home.
Bianca spent her first day with me exploring. She was curious and brave, walking right up to fellow forever foster Patches to have a better look at her. Sitting on the floor was viewed as an open invitation: Bianca would immediately climb into my lap.
I loved her. It took minutes, perhaps seconds. The moment she first squinted her eyes at me, the second I heard her purr. I loved her as if I had loved her for years. I was hers and she was mine.
Bianca and I had four days together. She deteriorated more rapidly than any of us could have predicted; the further discovery of some sort of dental abscess only served to speed her momentum toward The End.
Close to midnight, four of us gathered at Tabby’s Place to say goodbye: Lisa, Director of Volunteers Karina, and Junior Veterinary Technician Jess. With our eyes reddened with tears, we each in turn gave her kisses, murmuring our soft goodbyes.
As if with a sigh of relief, Bianca went gently and quietly, off to the Rainbow Bridge to live in eternal grace, full-bodied and cancer-free. She joins Abby and Oil and Melanie and my sweet Sirius, too.
I love Bianca. I will always love Bianca. My heart is full with the paw prints of the kitties I have loved; her dainty print is now among them.