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.
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?”