Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Wednesday, January 11, 2006


She was a hugely overweight calico. Like 22 lbs. worth of calico. Which is a whole lot of kitty, anyway you look at it. Now I had been pretty good about saying NO to the stream of strays that came through the door since Dear and Patient had taken the job as a Client Services Associate at the local 24 hr. Animal Hospital, but this big ball of fuzz stole my heart. She was a retiring blood donor cat that had spent the last two years roaming the hospital filching food from the cages of recovering kitties and generally living pretty high on the hog. Her name was Cissy.

Ok, I hated the name. But loved the cat on sight. She wasn't normal. None of that aloof "perhaps, if I deem you worthy, I'll allow you to service me by maybe, if I feel like it, allowing you to pet me" attitude that cats have had ever since someone let slip that Egyptians thought they were holy. You know, cows are still holy in some parts of the world, and you never see Bessie copping attitude, do you? But anyway. Since we were, at the time, reluctant (ok, I was reluctant) owners of a long-haired chihuahua named Missy (yes, everything you can imagine in a chihuahua with long hair is correct, except this one never barked. Ever. In the 7 years we had her. Only thing that kept her alive for 7 years.) there was no friggin' way I was gonna let her keep the name Cissy.

I suppose that was the point at which I lost any fight as to whether or not we were bringing her home, when I objected to the name, not the existence. So, since she was pretty damn fat, and a long-haired calico, her coat looking kinda raggy, we named he Grizzabella. Yes, I know, frickin' theatre people. But anyway. We brought Grizzy home and she got along famously with our other cat, Bela, who bears a striking resemblance to a short, furry black and white cow. Coloring is right, diameter is right, he's gotta be part cow. News flash, svelte is not a word typically used to describe the residents of Casa de Falstaff. Not even irony stretches that far.

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved cats. Pretty much all of them, but I am a total sucker for cats that purr loudly. Grizzabella was a frickin' motorboat. I could hear her purring in other rooms of the house. When I would fall asleep on the sofa watching Sportcenter, Bela would curl up between my knees and Grizzy would flop down on the floor under my outstretched hand and purr me to sleep. This was a cat that truly loved people. All people. In any numbers. None of this "I'm going to pretend to be shy until I decide you're worthy" crap. No, this was a gregarious kitty, and she loved to be loved. Pick her up, pppppuuuuuurrrrrr. Pat her head, ppppppuuuuuuurrrrrrr, rub her belly, pppppppuuuuuuurrrrrrrrr. Swing her over your head by her tail, you ain't got that kinda arm strength, this was a 22 lb. cat, remember?

So she joined our family. She slept with us, usually curled up behind my knees or at the foot of the bed. Purring. A lot. The good news was that her purring would occasionally drown out my snoring, so this was good for the marriage.

That was three years ago. Tonight we put her to sleep. On Saturday she started what we came to find out was congestive heart failure, of both atria of the heart. This, coupled with her diabetes and dehydration, caused her liver to begin to fail and make treatment an unrealistic option, as the treatment of the hear failure would likely either exacerbate the liver damage or cause he kidneys to fail. Or just not work. Or work, but we have to do the whole thing again and again until it finally didn't work. So Suzy and I decided that wasn't fair to her, or honestly to us either, and we had her put to sleep. And I cried like a baby. I love that fucking cat and I am incredibly sad to let her go. And angry that I have to. And angry for being so upset, when there are people experiencing loss of human life and loved ones every day and why should I care so much about an overweight furball who didn't hold a job of contribute to the GNP or do anything except lie at my feet at night and purr loud enough to send me off to pleasant dreams and lie like a big calico rug in front of the door always lifting her head to be the last one to be petted before I left for work in the morning as if to say "Hey, go off and earn me some kibble, dads, I'll be right here when you get back tonight."

But as I once, in a wiser time in my life (you remember high school, when you knew everything?) said to a friend of mine, pain is subjective. Just because someone else has a different and perhaps more justified reason to feel pain, that doesn't invalidate mine. So it's not like I lost my grandmother (since I ran out of grannies this fall, I got no more of those to lose) or a parent (but sometime I'll rant about Alzheimer's and how I'll trade anyone a sudden death of a loved one to this fresh hell that is becoming my mother's aging process), but I just got back from putting my cat to sleep and my heart is a little bit broken tonight.

On the other hand, I discovered that if you play one hand of single-table SNG, chip up to 1.75 x starting stack, then go to the vet for two hours, you'll possibly finish 4th, one place out of the money. Because I just did. I missed the last hour and came in 4th. There were 8 of 9 when I left. They must have really donked around.

I'm gonna go hug my other kitty now.


Ignatious said...

my condolences john - i know how much this sucks.

Donkeypuncher said...

Sorry for your loss. I dread the day that I have to say goodbye to my little girl (a dog). It's amazing how much joy a pet can bring to your life.

Daddy said...

RIP Grizz.

Condolences to the Falstaffs.

Cassidy, Pudge, & Marley

bricotrout said...

that sucks! i lost my cat of 15 years when i was 18. there was a whole lotta hurting going on there for a long while.

Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

I send my regards to Mrs. Flagstaff also...horrible, man...just horrible.