A New Beginning

On April 18, 2020, my beautiful, darling cat, Marmalade passed away. She was almost 19 years old. Short story. My father and I adopted her seven days after my mother passed away in 2002. From day one, Marmalade thought she was my mom and took care of me like I was her own.

My cat took care of me

One of her most amazing traits was how well she took care of me when I was sick or flared. When I was ill, she did not leave my side. She wouldn’t even drink water (even though there is a water bowl right next to my bed). She only roused herself when I got out of bed.

She would trail at my heels and watch me like a hawk. If I seemed stable then, and only then, would she run to the litter box and you best know she returned like lightning.

We kept each other company

One afternoon, I had gone to the kitchen to make my lunch. Marmalade dutifully left my side to eat, water, and litter box. I returned to my bedroom. All of a sudden, I heard Marmalade screaming bloody murder. She sounded so panicked. I ran and saw her frantically moving from room to room. She was looking for me. You should have seen the look she gave me when she found me. I was in SO MUCH trouble for leaving without her.
Brown and white cat facing away from camera looking at their owner.

Marmalade provided comfort

Not only did she keep me company but also she sat on my more painful joints. She applied pressure to the ones that needed it and she beat up anyone who tried to wake me from naps. Dad would sometimes try to wake me up and Marmalade hissed and batted him hard with her paw. I still woke up because I heard her hiss and wanted to make sure she was okay but that’s beside the point. I still appreciated that she looked out for me.

My cat was there at the start of my RA journey

Marmalade was there from the beginning of my rheumatoid journey. She cared for me when I couldn’t move. She talked to me when I felt sad and defeated. She sat next to me while I gave myself the injections and on more than one occasion, she reminded me to take my pills.
Brown and white cat and their owner in green shirt smiling at the camera.

The last ten years were hard but manageable because I had my soul mate, my cheerleader, and my protector. I could handle anything because my girl was with me.

I’m in a pretty good place with my RA. I’m on effective medications, I have a good diet and exercise plan, and I stay up to date and present on my condition. I may not be 100 percent, but I’m doing better than at any point in the last ten years.

My first flare since my pet passed away

Except, right now, at the end of May, I am dealing with a flare. Albeit, which is 90 percent my fault. I didn’t make my appointment for my Orencia infusion because I lost track of time and the four-week mark snuck up on me. On top of that, I decided to increase Affie’s (my little dog) walks to an hour a day. Great timing, Monica.

This is my first flare since Marmalade passed away and, even though I know how to navigate it, I still feel unprepared. It feels like I’m dealing with my RA all over again, from the start.

A new beginning in my RA journey

Marmalade was probably the biggest component of my RA management and I no longer have her. My flare action plan is completely skewed. I know that I’m not starting from ground zero, as I already have the steps in place, but it feels like I am.

It’s a whole new beginning for me in my RA journey and I have to figure out how to navigate it without the one thing that never wavered.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.