Thursday, October 04, 2007

The One Where We Loved Him to Death...

We knew that he was failing, fading away.

We knew that he didn't have long - certainly less than a year left, but our whole family had hoped and prayed he would be with us at least until after Christmastime.

It all happened too fast. It has been 10 days, but I can just now bring myself to write about it.





I know - compared to the losses that some of our blogging family (like MM and Sharfa) have suffered this year, it may seem small and petty to some to cry over the loss of my cat.

But for me, he was never "just a cat". He has been my little buddy, my office partner, and Twinks guardian kitty since the day we brought her home from the hospital. He was truly the sweetest, most loving cat I have ever known. He slept next to me every night, purring me to sleep. Wherever I was in the house, there he was too.

During these last six months, he became increasingly important to my Mom; his gentle ways and sweet demeanor calmed her, and made her so happy.

He was Twinks companion as she did her homework every afternoon after school. He would sit on her bed and supervise until she was done, then he would come and find me, as if to tell me about it.

He was getting older and arthritic. He had high blood pressure, and his thyroid had recently gone nuts, which meant he could (and did) eat non-stop, and still not gain an ounce. He couldn't jump as high or as well as he once had, but he could still get to all of his favorite spots. We administered his medication every day; he tolerated it with a resigned air, and just enough resistance to let us know he was still the one in charge.

Then, suddenly 10 days ago, something was terribly wrong with him.

He had a stroke. Believe me, I get the irony.






When he was just a kitten, we found him - abandoned and terrified. He was clearly afraid of humans, but I sat down near him, and talked quietly to him. He crept closer and closer, until he finally crawled into my lap, and into my heart. He burrowed into my arms, and stayed there all the way home. The next morning, we took him to our vet, where she checked him over, ran a few tests and declared him "adorable". Our other two (older) cats accepted him easily; everyone who met him, loved him instantly. He followed me everywhere in our little house; visitors found it charming and sweet that he trotted after his "Mama" like a little puppy. Indeed, his dedication, and his fierce loyalty to me were just two of his many fine traits.

As the years passed, he became the "Mommy" cat, welcoming the new kittens that we would bring home. He would place one huge, shaggy paw on them to keep them from wriggling away, and then give them a bath. Once they were all cleaned up, he would let them go, but kept a watchful eye on them. As a result, all of the kittens would sleep with him, even once they were grown. I'm not the only one here who can't sleep without him.





Whenever we would bring someone home from visiting the vet's office, he would immediately clean them up, licking off the offending odor of antiseptic and foreign animals. He was infinitely gentle and kind to cats and humans alike; never hissing or fighting. He never once bit or scratched me in all of our years together, but he was always just *there* with me, somehow knowing when I needed his furry comfort. He would give me head-butts and kisses, and he would purr so loudly when on my lap that I would have to turn up the volume on the TV.

If I tried to ignore him, or if I was too busy, he would simply sit right down and settle himself on top of my shoes - stopping me from going anywhere else until he got the attention he wanted. He was endlessly patient with us silly humans, regarding us with obvious affection, and treating us like oversized, wayward kittens that needed to be reminded of who was really in charge around here.

The one place he hated to go - would scream and holler and fight all the way there: The vet's office. Every time. He would nearly tear up the carrier, trying to find a way OUT before we reached that loathsome place. And every time, without fail, on the trip home he was docile again - laying quietly and happily in the carrier, waiting to get out when we were home.

When I picked him up that day, and he lay so limp and nearly lifeless in my arms, I knew that I had no choice but to take him right to the vet's office.





Unlike past trips to the dreaded vet's office, this time there was no fight to get him into the carrier. He did not even make a peep; he just watched me sadly as I wrapped The Wrench's t-shirt around him. I sped off to the vet's grimly praying that there was something that could be done.

There wasn't.

He had suffered a massive stroke, and with our vets - who also count as dear family friends - I arrived at that terrible decision that every pet owner dreads. I've had to make that decision too many times in the last few years - with B the Boy, and Tanner, too.

I knew there was no other choice; there was nothing that could be done.

I signed the forms, and the first injection was administered. As he drifted off into unconsciousness, I held him, still wrapped in The Wrench's t-shirt, and told him how much we loved him, and how much we would miss him. Our vets, a husband and wife team, were there, along with all of the vet techs, some of whom have cared for him for years. We were all gathered around him, talking to him, and telling him how very much he was loved, how very much he would be missed. When we knew that he was fully unconscious, the second, final injection was given.

As he slipped away, I continued to hold him, and love him. I talked to him, and kissed him, and told him to wait with my Dad, and we would all be there, together again.

I just loved him to death.



My little Buddy
1992 - 2007





8 comments:

Kelly said...

Ohhhhh.....how perfectly terrible...

How tremendously sad :(

What are you going to do now?

Suldog said...

Thim:

Your friend will be waiting for you. Count on it.

I'm so very sorry for your loss.

I'll say a prayer tonight, but I truly don't think cats need them. They (and all non-human companions) get a free pass.

Jim

Chuck said...

I know how hard it is to lose a pet. I still miss my parents' old dog like crazy and it's been a few years now. Glad you have some other four legged kids to help keep you company in this difficult time.

alpharat said...

Thim:

I'm very sorry. You're in my thoughts.

ZBTzahBTzoo said...

It's hardly small and petty. It's enormous and significant.

Deepest sympathy during this difficult time...

Fab Grandma said...

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your lovey.

Kat said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. I'm sorry, Thim. I really am.

Ericka said...

aw, heck, thim... i'm FINALLY catching up and just read this - i'm so on the ball... i'm sorry. i don't think i'd have survived moving to chicago without my sophia - i understand how much they mean. i'm so sorry!