I lost a friend today, after about ten days of trying one cure after another. My strange little cat, Callie, who came into my life about two and a half years ago, was put to rest at noon today.
I am overwhelmed and startled at how sad I am over this. I’ve lost grandparents and my father and a step-brother and a step-father and I don’t remember ever being quite this sad…and its over a cat. Strange, and probably not really true. I’m sure I’ve just buried the old griefs so that I don’t remember them as being as bad as they were. Or maybe its just that she was so totally dependent on me.
Callie was a wonderful creature, though she wasn’t much of a cat. She was a street cat that wound up in a shelter somehow and I don’t think she spent much time with her mother learning to act cat-like. We think she’d had some kind of head trauma, because she couldn’t walk very well and seemed constantly surprised by the world. She was a total mess of a cat who had trouble eating and so wound up with food in her fur constantly. That said, she’s often decide my beard needed grooming when I picked her up. She was sweet and good natured, but she hissed when she wanted attention (other than a quiet purr, hissing was the only sound I ever heard her make). She seemed happiest with a warm lap to nap on, or failing that, to stretch out alongside a reclining human. When I brought her home she had ear mites so bad that I think she was mostly deaf. She couldn’t see very well, either. Couldn’t walk very well… though she ran fine. And her lack of grooming talents extended to both ends of her, and more than once I had to plop her in the bathroom sink to bathe her. When this happened she’d quietly accept it, but she’d just look at me with this totally puzzled expression.
Today was her 4th trip to the vet in ten days and she wasn’t getting any better. She’d been mostly sleeping for almost a week and we decided that the best thing for her was to end her misery. I knew it was coming so we spent a lot of time together over the past couple of days, her sleeping in my lap while I watched endless tv while petting her and giving her scritches under the chin. At the vet I kept on petting her and keeping her comfortable while she drifted off (they give the animal two shots. The first puts them to sleep and the second actually kills them). I kept on petting her while she got the second shot. The vet checked her heart. It had stopped. He told me to take all the time I needed and left the room. I kept on petting her for a good while longer even though she was beyond feeling it. Then I left her body laying on the examining room table and came home. I chose to have her cremated; I’m not big on burials.
When I got home and saw her toys all over, and her favorite box (she *loved* cardboard boxes, as most cats do) waiting for her, I lost it all over again. I quickly gathered up all her things and removed them. Then I went out again. When I came home the house felt empty and silent, even though she wasn’t a ‘greet you at the door’ type of animal usually. I still opened the door carefully, though, just in case, because she wasn’t really smart enough to get out of the way if she was there.
I have no idea how old she was, but she was only with me for about two and a half years. When I adopted her they told me she was two, but the vet felt she was much older, and I tend to agree. She was pretty much a lap-cat and it took a lot to get her motivated to play. She clearly led a rough life before she came to live with me. I think she was happy to end up with me. I remember the day I saw her picture on PetFinder.com and just knew she was the cat for me. Oddly, I’d wanted a big cat and she was tiny. That laptop she’s sitting on is a 12″ iBook, just for a sense of scale. I went to the shelter and they opened the door of the cage she was in and she just climbed up into my arms like she’d always known me.
I’m really going to miss that little furball…