Sunday, 16 November 2014

Eulogy to some great cats

I've been trying to think of  a topic upon which to write for ages and due to my work addled brain haven't had anything interesting to say. Unfortunately I had an idea thrust upon me yesterday with the death of one of my fur babies. If you read my blog at all you'll have read my ode to my kitties. Angie, known as Angelina ballerina, came to us soon after we moved to Muskoka. She was our second black cat and a Princess for sure. She was already about 7 years old and hugely overweight. Suddenly last year she lost a ton of weight. I was down south working and didn't get to see her often but she never seemed to be in ill health. In fact she could do the ten foot door dash in less than a second it seemed and had to be regularly retrieved. Cheerful, lovable, dignified and with a voice that sounded like too much whisky and smoke Angie was a lovely addition to the family. Suddenly, yesterday, she became extremely weak and could barely hold her upper body up. I felt so bad having to go into work and leave her alone. Jeff works nearby so I texted him to see if he could check in on her. What a day to be working the closing shift. Her condition got worse as the day went on and I didn't think I was going to make it home in time. She was basically gone by 10 when I got home but her tiny little body hung in there for a few more hours.
So, this is the sad occasion that gave me writing material. While I drove into work this morning I started thinking about the great cats I've had in my life and decided to share. The first cat I really knew was Smudgy. She was a dark tortoise shell. In those days all of our cats were outdoor cats and Smudgy became a mother several times over. Her daughter Ozzie was the only one of her kids we kept. I hate to say it but I have no idea what happened to Smudgy but Ozzie became the cat in our house. She was very independent, truly a Ferrier woman, and also had several litters. She was an excellent mother and did everything possible to keep her babies safe and teach them how to get along in the big world. This,unfortunately, often meant her arrival home with a live rodent for the kids to hunt, in our living room.She was always so indignant when we put a stop to that. Her last litter gave us a runt who Dayle named Roo (as in Kanga and Roo). He became my best buddy and lived to the ripe old age of 16. Rooster, as I called him, was not the brightest of cats but he loved us and was very loyal. Topping out at about 20 lbs with a huge head I always wondered what the rest of that litter looked like if he was the runt! One of our favourite past times was playing in the leaves. Every fall Roo and I would rake up the yard. He would lie completely still while I covered him in leaves and then suddenly burst out to scare me. We could play that for hours. He was a lover who thought he was a fighter. There were a number of times he disappeared for days only to arrive home with a large wound that I would tend. If he was winning I'd hate to see the loser. Time passed and I moved to the city. It got so that Roo didn't remember me. I still remember the day he died. My mom called me at work to tell me. Just thinking about it is making me miss him again.
The next cat in my life arrived when Jerry and I moved into our house in Brampton. Toby was truly great. He won me over, not such a tough task, as a kitten at the pet shop. He climbed up onto my shoulders and purred in my ear. How could we not bring him home! He was our guy right from the beginning. I think he was a genius but then all parents think that of their kids. He could understand and speak english well, 'ham now' being one of his favourite phrases. He loved Jerry and I equally and would always be in the same room with one of us. He loved to hide in the clothes basket and be carried around. His favourite game came at 10 o'clock every night. Our house had a centre hall design that gave him the opportunity to run laps like a madman every night. Jerry would sit on the coffee table  and casually dangle his hands between his legs. Toby would come tearing in, flip on his back and slide in to tackle Jerry's fingers. We called it 'checking the oil' and Toby would get excited when Jerry would call that out. He learned to tolerate if not love the kids as they arrived and as they got older he realised that here were some more humans to worship him. Toby was another big male but the last year he was alive he dwindled to a bag of bones.
I think that's the saddest part of this. All of these cats stoically kept silent about their pain and continued to give us their love right up to the end. Deep down we knew they weren't well but they never let it show until it was too late. Now we're trying to save my Jasper. He was my guy from the day he arrived. He and his sister joined us shortly after Jerry and I separated and he stuck to me like glue.It got so that he'd come and tell me at 1030 that it was time for bed and stand on the stairs telling me until I moved. I've been thinking about him while I write and I realise he has shown some symptoms simply by becoming more quiet the past few months. Jasper has always been what I call a sensualist. He loves being rubbed from head to toe and has the best belly for that. He had a little round belly that would fit in your hand, perfect for that massage. Now he's lost so much weight his ribs stick out. His purr could be heard from the next room, now it's silent. Jeff is syringe feeding him to try and get some water and nutrition in to him. The vet thinks it's his liver. I don't want to put him through a battery of tests that determine nothing but bring him a ton of stress. We'll have a blood test done this week once he's rehydrated and see where that goes.Keep your fingers crossed for my dapper gentleman.
With the holiday season coming upon us I hope everyone is healthy and happy. We're settling in in Cambridge and are looking forward to our first Christmas here. It's great having the whole gang within 15 minutes of each other. This Christmas marks 5 years since mom died and a day doesn't go by that I don't think about her. The voice in my head guiding me still. Love to all of you.

No comments:

Post a Comment