Welcome to Marilyn's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Marilyn
We found Marilyn on Christmas Eve 2001. She had been abandoned by her previous owner(s) who decided to move out of their apartment and not take her with them. We heard her hunger howls and found her near an empty food dish. We fed her that night and days and many nights after that. It took her awhile before she trusted Natalie enough to pet her, pick her up, or brush her. We didn't know if our neighbors were going to take her in, but we called her "Calico Kitty" so she'd know our voices when we came near her. She spent a few warm Arizona days sleeping on the metal floor panel outside our apartment door, which was always nice and cool (I liked to keep the apartment cold so I could sleep during the day). After deciding that she shouldn't be outside when summertime started the weather got warmer, and that the neighbors (who had also been feeding her and calling her Cali) weren't going to take her in, we took her in and named her Marilyn. We had her for a couple of months before her first vet appointment for shots, etc. She didn't care for trips to the vet. She always cooperated, but if we were holding her for comfort, she would bury her face in the corner of our arm, to become "invisible" from the vet. Sometime in 2003, she started emptying her bladder in the bathroom. This went on for awhile before another vet appointment where it was discovered she had kidney disease/failure as well as feline leukemia. She would need IV fluids and low protein food to help her kidneys function. In February 2006, she had taken a turn for the worse and was given 2 months to live. We were completely shocked but somehow knew she'd make it. In December 2006, we moved from Arizona to North Dakota, taking all 5 kitties for a 3-day ride in their own carriers. Marilyn was such a smart kitty, one day during the trip, she was fussing in her carrier, even reaching through the door to get Natalie's attention because she wanted to go in her litter box. The day before, she had gone in her carrier, though Natalie didn't know it. After that, we tried to be good about stopping every once in awhile to let all the kitties have a chance to use the box if they needed to. Ms Marilyn made sure to let Natalie know she needed to pull over NOW and get her in the litter box! Marilyn did pretty well all of 2007, spending summer days out in the sun, rolling around in the grass, bathing herself, oblivious to what the other cats were doing. She spent lots of time on the patio furniture too, which is where she was sleeping when the picture was taken. She was still on her special diet food, and even got so used to eating in the kitchen away from the other cats, that anytime one of us was around, she'd come in the kitchen for a few bites to eat. This could happen 8, 9, 10 times a day! She's only been gone 6 days, but I still find myself looking down to make sure I don't knock over her food dish, or step on her tail. She was so light on her feet, it seemed like she appeared out of thin air. You'd turn around and hear her little voice telling you she was behind you. She didn't talk a whole lot, unless one of the other cats was bugging her, or if she smelled TUNA. She purred very faintly too, especially if she was being brushed, which she loved. I'm a bit of a night owl, so when I'd sneak into the bedroom in the middle of the night, I knew where she was because she'd smack her little lips in anticipation of a head scratch. It was nice that she did that because the room would be dark and I'd never know where she was on the bed unless she told me with her cute lip smacks. The kitchen was her comfort zone, so it didn't surprise us too much when in late 2007, she started "going" in the corner of the kitchen next to the trash can. This happened a few times, and at least one other time in the laundry room, which is just off the kitchen. A trip to the vet showed nothing wrong with her, and that maybe it was a behavioral issue. The vet instructed me to place a litter box for her in the laundry room, which made sense because it seemed like at least once a week, we'd hear Marilyn howl or hiss at one of the other cats when she'd be downstairs trying to use the litter box. It seems as though the laundry room would be the perfect place for her to go in peace, with her being able to be her own lookout for the other cats. The night she passed, that's where she was headed, to use her box. I was in the bathroom changing clothes and Natalie was at the breakfast bar. It was just after 7pm when I heard Natalie yell my name once, then again. I knew by her tone that something was wrong. The only thing I could think of, was that someone was trying to come in the house, or maybe 2 of the cats were fighting (which NEVER happened aside from playing rough) and she couldn't stop them, I just didn't know. I came into the kitchen and from the laundry room, Natalie says "it's Marilyn!!" She was lying on her side still breathing and Natalie was freaking out. I stepped back into the kitchen to try to call a 24 hour animal hospital. I had our pets' doctor paged via automated message when I went to check on Marilyn. The tip of her tongue was barely sticking out of her mouth, I could see her trying to look up at Natalie, trying to lift her head a little bit, and I saw her belly rise up and down. I figured she would be alright if we got her some help, but in the middle of trying to call another doctor, Natalie said "I think she's gone!" Natalie had heard Marilyn howl like she did whenever one of the other cats was bothering her, so she went to check on her. Seeing that her litter box needed scooping, Natalie picked Marilyn up and told her she'd carry her downstairs to a cleaner box. That's when Marilyn went limp in her arms. Natalie thought she did something wrong, maybe picked her up wrong, and put her down to try again. Marilyn collapsed to one side, and before we knew it, she was gone. It happened so fast, and when the vet called back, she said it may have been her heart. It just had to be something unexpected, because we know our Marilyn would have told us if something was wrong with her, she ALWAYS did. We held her and cried for hours. The other cats were lingering and very quiet, like they knew she was gone. We spent 3 hours with her, brushing her, kissing her little face, saying goodbye, and thanking her for being such a sweet kitty. We were finally strong enough to be able to wrap her in a blanket, placing her pink "protect my cat" cross under a fold, and laying her to rest in her original carrier from our move to North Dakota. The vet instructed us to keep her outside in the garage, not only away from the other cats, but because it would be cold. I had a hard time with that, leaving our baby out in the cold but I knew it had to be done. The vet gave us the phone number to Billie's Meadow pet cemetery, where we took Marilyn to be buried the next day. Her actual funeral is in a month or so, but for now she is with other animals who are loved until the time comes for them to lay in peace for their journey home, until we can see her again. Our vet, Heart River Animal Hospital, sent us a great card along with a copy of the Rainbow Bridge. We both cried after reading it, and can't wait for the day we can see our sweet little Marilyn rolling around in the grass again, bathing herself without a care in the world.

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