Saturday, December 04, 2004
Home last night after a very draining work-week, Amie out to dinner with a friend, I headed down into my basement retreat for some gaming, maybe some music listenin', but probably a nap. As I walked into the cave, I passed one of our cats, Odie, in her usual spot, comfy on the carpet under a small table by the door. Whenever I walk by, she follows me inside and lightly paws at my leg for some lovin', and I lift her up onto my lap. Sometimes I think I've spent more time at this computer petting that ball o' fluff than I have surfin', or at least kept one hand on the mouse and one buried in her fur.
But this time she didn't follow. I looked back towards her, and she hadn't even lifted her head. And I knew instantly. I lay down beside her, put my hand on her... she was still warm. I felt for a tiny, weakened heartbeat, but it had stopped. Poor little Oderoo was gone. I called Amie and she rushed home.
Odie looked pretty peaceful laying there. It had been a rough few months, struggling with worsening heart disease, thyroid problems, and extreme weight loss. Lately she wasn't even able to jump up onto our laps, or even up to where we keep her food. Amie gave her medicine daily, we switched her to tastier (and more fattening... I'm looking at your gut, Hazel) food, lifting her up there often to see if she'd eat. Many times she wouldn't. We knew it was only a matter of time, but it still hurt like hell to find her there on the floor, the life gone from her eyes.
When I met Amie, she was that crazy cat lady, but without the smelly apartment, reclusive tendencies, or tragic fashion. She had four of 'em... Odie, Jan, Pumpkin, and Rammy. The unavoidable result of an animal lover working for years in a cat hospital. I was strictly a one-cat man until Hazel & I moved in, creating our little lop-sided Brady Bunch. Our kitchen pantry was a litter-room, lots of money went to their food, and oh... the cat hair we collected.
Pumpkin went first, and it was terrible. In pain on a cold cat-hospital table, injected and fading away in front of us. He was a mush, a snuggler, an orange, lovable lump, and maybe Amie's favorite. She misses him like hell, still. Jan, who was Rammy's more graceful and cuddlier sister, followed Pumpkin a year later. She went fast, succumbing to cat-cancer, and the loss hurt me more... I'd bonded with her in the year since Pumpkin died.
We almost had Odie put to sleep a few months ago, after she'd lost most of her weight, and didn't have the strength to even make it to the litter box. We couldn't bear to have her living like that, matted, soiled cat-fur... it was no kind of life. Amie even made the appointment. But an hour before we were to leave, I was sitting right here at this desk... and I felt Odie's little paw on my pant leg. She had dragged herself down two flights of stairs to do just that, and when I looked down at her, she looked right through me. I picked her up and she started purring... and I knew that we couldn't do it. She had come down here to tell me she wasn't ready.
So we set her up in her own room, with her own litter box and food right next to her little bed. Amie force fed her for awhile, we gave her an extra share of love & attention, and she came back to us. She started moving around more, using the cat box, eating on her own. She got as healthy as she could, which was still nothing near her former self, but in the end, she was happy. With us on the couch, up in our bed, or here at my feet, I know she was happy for a few extra months. That's all we coulda asked for.
And now she's gone, joining Punkin' & Jan. Today she'll be buried in the same pet cemetery where they are, before the ground freezes over for the long winter. And it'll be a longer one for us, without her here.
So goodbye, little Odie. You were such a good kitty.
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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