Farewell Marlowe: 1999-2019

I named Marlowe after Christopher Marlowe, who went by Kit. I thought I was being terribly clever. Get it? Kitten Marlowe?

And he tried to live up to the name. We joked that he was a tragedian because he would come into rooms and his meow sounded like he was saying “My woe!”

He was also goofball. A black lab disguised as a cat. He had a helmet of invisibility, which he liked to wear around the house. Here– this is what I mean.

As near as we can figure, he thought he was in tall grass and hence invisible. When he was a kitten, it fit over his entire head. He would sometimes greet me at the door wearing it or fall asleep with it on. Whenever we had guests, I would break out the basket and he’d show them his invisibility trick.

You’d step over him saying, “Where’s Marlowe? Where did Marlowe go?” and he would crouch on the floor purring smugly.

Two weeks ago, while I was in Chattanooga, Rob called me to tell me that Marlowe was very sick. He’d been sluggish and Rob had come home to find him collapsed on the floor in a puddle of his own urine. He had kidney disease, so we thought that was the end. Rob contacted our vet, who makes house calls and– to our surprise, he thought it wasn’t the kidneys. He gave Marlowe a shot of an antibiotic and a steroid.

Rob watched over the next two days.. Marlowe couldn’t walk, still. He had spasms when he slept, so Rob made another appointment for the Final Visit.

And then Marlowe got up. He tottered around.

For the last ten days, he seemed to be on the mend. The vet concurred that we might have gotten lucky. There was a possible mass in his stomach, but it wasn’t conclusive on the x-ray. It might also have been his bowels being backed up.

I was still gone, but Rob reported that each day, Marlowe seemed to be a tiny bit stronger. He fell over periodically, but didn’t seem distressed.

Marlowe, a black cat.

Marlowe, two days before his last day.

I got home Thursday and Marlowe teetered out from his heating pad to greet me. He rubbed against me, purring. He fell over. But when he got back up, he played a little with a peacock feather. And by played, I mean that he batted at the feather very gently, twice. Still. When one was mostly dead, one takes such things.

Yesterday he wandered around the apartment to his favorite spots.

And then today, he declined. He still chatted at us when we came into the room. He got up to get water but otherwise, stayed put on his heating pad.

I offered him his helmet of invisibility and he put it on for a bit. We had dinner in his sickroom and watched a show. He got some skritches. Then we said goodnight.

Rob went in to check on him and Marlowe had passed. I’m glad that he had a good last day. It’s hard to imagine not having the old man around. I’ve known him longer than my husband. And conversely, given my travel schedule, Rob has probably spent more time with Marlowe than he has with me.

He’s swaddled in a towel with his helmet of invisibility. It’ll take me a long time to stop asking, “Where’s Marlowe? Where did Marlowe go?”

 

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22 Responses

  1. Marie Brennan

    I’m so sorry — that’s always hard, and even having a good last day doesn’t make it easy to let go. But he sounds like a wonderful cat, and I’m only sorry I didn’t get a chance to see (not see?) his invisibility trick.

  2. Elliott Walsh

    Deep condolences, Ms. K. I understand and share your loss. Elder cats are such special companions. They have taught me more of grace, patience, and endurance than anything else. Fullness to you and your husband. Peace.

  3. Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

    I’m so, so sorry. We too lost our kitty about 5 months ago. It’s never easy; they leave a cat-shaped hole in your heart. Marlowe was a beautiful boy, and obviously well-loved. I’m glad you had that last day with him, and that it was, considering his illness, a good day for him and for you.

  4. Colonel Snuggledorf

    I am so, so sorry to hear of Marlowe’s death. Our fur-kids are just damnably good at working their way into our hearts, and they leave a giant hole behind when they die.

    Thank you for giving him a loving home for so long, for the chin-scritches, for the helmet of invisibility, and for sharing his story here. May his memory be a blessing to you.

  5. Jeff Frane

    That’s a beautiful eulogy and Marlowe sounds like a marvelous cat. It’s wonderful that he passed away at home. And now I’m seriously choked up.

  6. Shaun Jex

    So sorry to hear about your loss. The video of Marlowe in his invisibility hat was adorable and he looks like he was an altogether wonderful and quirky little cat.

  7. V Carlson

    My sympathies to you. I lost *my* Marlowe (named for the same reasons), also born in 1999, nearly 2 years ago. I still miss her, of course. But we have all been lucky enough to have bewn able to enjoy them. Your Marlowe sounds like a lovely goof.

  8. mg

    Marlowe sounds like a wonderful companion who had a good long life and lots of love – and what more could one ask for than a helmet of invisibility. That last day sounds like a wonderful gift. My condolences.

  9. The Captain

    Ahoy there matey. Sorry to hear about yer super cute kitten. I highly enjoyed the video. I was glad to hear that he had a good last day. It’s always hard when we lose our mates. I raise a glass of grog in toast to the memory of Marlowe. Arrr!
    x The Captain

  10. Meagen Voss

    I’m so sorry for your loss, yet so relieved that despite your traveling you had a chance to spend time with him in his final hours. I have no doubt he left this world feeling loved. All the hugs.

  11. Andrew Park

    As a fellow “cat person” I am really sorry for your loss. Our friends from other species get under our skins and into ourhearts. But on the bright side – 20 years – that’s a hell of a run

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