Saying goodbye is never easy

Yesterday we had to say goodbye to our Ariel. She would have been 19 years old in February.

Ariel came into our home when she was an eight-week old kitten. From day one she was a kitty who purred. We used to call her our motor boat because she purred so loud and so often. While she didn't like to be held, she was a lap cat who loved nothing more than to lie on you (or next to you) purring her head off.

She loved boxes. I know every cat does but she particularly was drawn to them and the smaller the better. She would spend hours trying to squeeze herself into any and every box, no matter how small they were. It provided hours of entertainment for us.

The fact she lived so long is amazing, given we swear she used up eight of her nine lives early in her life. Late one November night she made a run for the open back door and went out into the night. It was a really cold and snowy night. That whole winter was brutal. We looked for her everywhere for the longest time but never found her. I kept hoping in the worst case scenario, someone took her in because she was so darned cute and sweet. However, my gut kept telling me she probably had met her end with a car or a coyote. I just couldn't imagine her surviving in the brutal cold. Our hearts were broken.

Three months later we got a call from the Meow Foundation. Someone had seen her living on the streets and called them, so they set a trap out to catch her. She was found in Capitol Hill and we live in Oakridge. For those not familiar with Calgary, in order to get there she somehow had to pass over highways and the Bow River. It was truly a miracle that she was alive. How she got there we will never know. The Meow Foundation was able to track her back to us via her ear tattoo and microchip (note to pet owners ... microchip your pets and keep your info up to date!!!). We will forever be grateful to the Meow Foundation and all they do. When I went to pick her up she was so skinny and the tips of her ears had been frozen (the fur never really grew back on them). Other than that she seemed no worse for wear. The only symptom Ariel displayed from her time on the streets was her new-found love for licking plastic bags, which she did right up to the end.

The end of her life came fairly quickly. She developed early kidney failure, lost a lot of weight, had high blood pressure and then lost her vision. In the last week and a half of her life, her right eye filled with blood and was causing her tremendous discomfort. After consultation and several conversations with our veterinary clinic (Landing Animal Clinic), we made the difficult decision it was her time. Thank you to all the staff there and in particular Dr. Laurie Milne and Dr. Dan Schlesinger for your excellent, kind and compassionate care of our girl. Her passing was peaceful and your support towards us is very much appreciated.

Run free now Ariel. Go find our other kitties Kaytee, Max and Buster. Chase the butterflies and feel the wind as you pounce and purr like you did when you were young. I hope you have a never-ending supply of small boxes to squeeze into and find the biggest plastic bag to lick endlessly. We love you — you'll always be in our hearts and never far from our thoughts.