Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Not Fleck, not this time.

There's a cat-shaped hole in the bed between our heads, and it's hard to sleep without the sound of a 15-pound cat lying next to my head purring. The food bowls are untouched, and I don't have to step over this black and white semi-mobile carpet lying across the top step going down into the den. Last night we put our cat to sleep. Bela, a 16-year-old black and white kitty, was suffering from kidney failure, and we decided that it was best to alleviate his pain than to begin an endless lather, rinse, repeat of hospitalizations and relieving the symptoms for a little bit, only to have him get worse again, get put back in the hospital and go through the whole mess again.

I grew up in the country, and animals died. It was just one of the facts of life. You never bothered to get too attached, because they probably wouldn't be around too long. They'd either get run over in the highway, or wander off, or unfortunately decide the under a lawnmower was a good place to nap, or whatever. So regardless of my natural affinity for cats, I never got attached. It just didn't make sense.

Things are different when you live in town. Your pets can stay indoors, where it's safe, and become part of the family. I could pretty much tell you what Bela was thinking at all times, because we'd been together for so long. He was Suzy's 21st birthday present, and they'd been inseparable ever since. I've been part of that party for 12 1/2 years, longer than I've known almost everyone that I'm not related to.

So today I'm at work after about four hours sleep, glad I have my own office, so I can tell everyone to go fuck off and mourn my cat in peace.

Suzy just called, and she's in and out of the house today, experiencing firsthand the wierdness of the not. The not having to watch to make sure the kitty doesn't run out the door. The not having to step over him as you go down the stairs. The not having him run down the stairs when you approach the food bowls. The not having him jump up on your lap as soon as you get comfy on the couch. The not hearing him paw with his clawless front paws at the bedroom door to be let in to snuggle.


Fuel55 said...

Take a day or two then get down to the SPCA. I don't know what I would do without my little puddy.

StB said...

Sad to hear of your loss. My cat is around 14 years old. He is beginning to show his age and wonder if he is not too long for this world as well.

Pokerwolf said...

I understand your pain, bro. Losing a close family member is never easy.

ScurvyDog said...

Sorry to hear that. Losing pets wrecks me every time.

Our rat is getting up there in rat years (which is only 2-3 for most of the little suckers) and I'm already dreading the inevitable, which is going to be all the worse because it's, you know, a RAT that's going to be the source of sadness and woe.

Amy said...

It sounds like Bela had a wonderful life. And as hard as your decision was, and as deep as your loss is, you knew it was the right time for Bela.

As I write this, Stella is sitting next to me in my office. She is just about to turn 18. She and I are in the process of deciding when it will be her time.


Mr Subliminal said...

Sorry to hear about your loss.

Maudie said...

Heya, John - it's always hard to lose one of our little pals. It's 3 year's since I said goodbye to my little kitty PeeWee who was with me for 17 years and I miss her.

Virtual hugs to you and Suzy.

TripJax said...

Best to you sir...the TripJax fam is thinking of you and yours...

DadWarbucks said...

I understand the sadness. We lost our beloved "Stanley" 8 years ago and he is still in our thoughts.
We waited 3 weeks and got another from the shelter.
As I've had the pleasure of cuddling Bela before and sometimes during our poker games... I know what a sweetie Bela was.

Drizztdj said...

My fat cat spent many days on my lap while I homebound after my work accident.

Pets are a tough thing to let go of.

j the butcher said...

sorry to here that. take suzy some flowers and a kiss. from j and family

Special K said...

Love gives and takes so much.

Sorry about the loss.

Grinder said...

I'm very sorry - you did the right thing.

Lats year all three of our cats got sick 3 months apart and all three suffered because of me.

I have never put down a pet/family member and I kept hoping they would get better and I kept trying to fix them to the end.

I have learned and hope Dixie, Gabby and Snickers are not mad at me.

We vowed to never have another cat so we could not feel that pain again.

We now have two cats.

An odd story. Our dog new when each cat was sick, he would sit next to them.

When each one passed away, they become non-objects. Like they were a book or a shoe. No interest at all. Like their souls left their body for a better place instantly.

I am very very sorry and I know all about the office/cube thing.