Years before she became so gravely ill, it occurred to me that dear Tasha probably never felt completely well in her entire, far too brief life.
Tasha came to my husband and me as a 4 week old foster kitten in the Spring of 2005, one of ten kittens brought in a cardboard box to a California beach town shelter for which I was volunteering at the time. By the time she joined three others from that group already in my care and thought to be her brothers, she had spent several days in the vet hospital, barely surviving a respiratory infection which claimed another of the kittens. She had an eye infection as well which left her with impaired vision, scar tissue partially covering one eye.
As small as the boys I had been bottle-feeding were, Tasha was even tinier, but she was fearless. We frequently heard squealing coming from her brothers as she mixed it up with them, pouncing on them mercilessly. She was on antibiotics and eye drops off an on for months as we battled various viral infections. She would be plagued throughout her life with weepy eyes, a runny nose and frequent bouts of sneezing.
After she was finally healthy enough to be spayed at about 3 1/2 months, we tried to get her adopted but her health problems and bad eye gave people pause, so we finally accepted what she most likely already knew by that time; she was ours. Although we hoped to be wrong, we had a feeling she might not have a very long life, and one with frequent medical complications.
At 6 months old, she nearly succumbed to pneumonia but after that she was relatively healthy for several years, other than the normally teary eyes and occasional sinus infection. When she was 6 years old, she developed asthma and needed an inhaler to minimize the racking, coughing attacks she would have several times a day.
Despite her ailments, Tasha was the happiest, silliest cat we have ever known, trotting around with her tail always up, curled over her back like an Akita. She always seemed just happy to be alive. All her life, almost to the very end when her body was riddled with cancer in her brain, her kidneys, her blood, she loved to play fetch. Her favorite was a simple foil ball, but she loved crumpled paper, too. She would come running when she heard me wad up a piece of paper while working in my office, then look up at me with one big eye and one little eye, her tail twitching in anticipation until I threw it.
As much as we loved your little body, Tasha, it was never worthy of your spirit.
Be free our sweet girl, be whole and strong at last.