To anyone who has ever had to make the decision to put an animal to sleep (and seriously, couldn’t someone have come up with a better term?), you have my heartfelt empathy.
The rationale makes sense. It’s humane to spare them suffering. We spare them suffering because they can’t talk. They can’t tell us how bad they really feel. On the other side of that shit coin is they can’t tell us how UN-BAD they really feel. So in addition to the heartwrenching grief of losing your beloved furry friend, you also get to wrestle with the guilt.
It just seems like it went so fast. Did we panic and make the decision too quickly? I know he wasn’t going to get better but maybe he would have rallied a bit and been around longer. This is all in hindsight, of course, because the thought process before was “holy crap, what if we wait too long?” So there’s never a right time. I have been told that “you’ll just know” but to be frank, that’s a bunch of crap. You don’t know. You guess. You question every meow, every look, every action wondering “is he trying to tell me something?”
My mom and I loved that little (big) guy so much. Our worlds are a little emptier today and it sucks. I thought I remembered how much it hurt when we had to make the decision with Jager but I think my brain blocked out the true depth of the soul-destroying numbness I felt. I appreciate that, brain. This is not a feeling I can carry around on a day to day basis.
Here’s something nice to end this horribly depressing blog… my mom and I drove around all day because we didn’t know what else to do. When we got back to her house, I was petting Little, Fatty’s anti-social lil bro, while looking out the front window. What I saw, lazing on her front walkway, was a very comfortable all-black cat. He was by no means Fatty, but it’s rare to see a stray in her neighborhood at all, let alone a black minion laying in her yard like he owns the place. We just watched him for awhile, and then he got up, looked at me, trotted towards the window, then under it and out of sight. My mom’s friend told her Fatty would send a message that we did the right thing. I am not the kind of person who believes in signs. But I am taking this as the kitty world telling us we did the right thing. And while it barely makes a dent in the hurt, it is a comfort.
RIP Chaos (yeah, that was his real name until we discovered his love of food, no one has called him that in probably 16 years)/Big Guy/Fatty
Even if it results in my contracting malaria or some other nature-related death. At some point I enjoyed the outside world, and to an extent, I still do. I love going the beach. I love soaking up the sun. I greatly appreciate varieties of foliage and the carbon-reducing part they play in this world of ours. The greenery I appreciate from afar. One, I don’t want to kill it, as my black thumb is wont to do. Two, there are bugs and animals and THINGS in there.
So today, as I took my shift as cat-watcher while Fatty sat contentedly amongst the vast foliage my mom has decorating her lawn (she is a firm believer in foliage), I was eaten alive by mosquitoes, had a minor heart attack when a snake slithered out suddenly in my direction and very close to me (to be clear, I am not afraid of snakes, and having lived in FL my whole life, I know what black racers look like and that they are not harmless and that they are more scared of me than I am of them, but having one appear suddenly when you are not expecting them…), dodged bees flitting about collecting nectar (I AM afraid of bees, though…I will make every effort not to kill one as I know they are much more helpful to the world than they are harmful but I do not extend the same courtesy to wasps, also, there was a giant super-sized bee that apparently is a bumblebee but in 33 years of life I have never seen one), witnessed some weird leaf bug and admired (from afar) giant caterpillar.
Fatty minds none of this. He just settles himself amongst it all and gets cozy. He’s happy there. My discomfort is worth that. I certainly wouldn’t brave that for a human.
My mom and I took Fatty to my vet yesterday, because I love my vet for very important reasons. She never acts as if wanting to have all the information is annoying, she explains everything, she gives options, and she really spends the time with you. She is a great cat vet but even better as a cat mom counselor. We didn’t really know what to expect with Fatty’s cancer diagnosis.
Now we know. She found a mass, so it’s progressing pretty quickly. We have a questionnaire to help us figure out when is the right time, before he suffers. It’s going to be a lot earlier than we thought.
So he is getting everything his little heart desires. Tuna, trips outside, KFC.
Why would a cat that’s spent 17 years inside have any desire to go outside? LEMME TELL YA. When he was younger (and when I was, too), his favorite thing in the world and my LEAST favorite thing in the world was to haul ass out the front door at 5am when I opened it to get the paper, sans shoes or glasses. Yeah, I got to chase after him barefoot and blind, around the house into the backyard, where he would suddenly stop, reverse course and haul ass back the way he came and into the house. Super fun. I especially enjoyed stepping on slugs. At 5am. He’s been too fat and old to pull that kinda crap for quite awhile, but it seems his affinity for outside still stands. My mom took him out and let him roam today.
He’s not running anymore, he just sits down and watches things go on. When I visited earlier today, he nestled himself under a cabana of elephant ear leaves (I have no idea what plant it was, I’m sure my mom will give me an earful about why I should know, whatever it is, it’s Florida native because that’s all my mom will plant).
What Fatty wants, Fatty gets.
I started this blog years ago when I was sitting with my sick “firstborn” (he wasn’t my first cat ever, but he is the first that I alone chose at the age of 16). He recovered, as he always did, from the anemia that time, the pancreatitis before, the blocked urinary tract before that. Now here I sit again with my firstborn on my lap, my baby, my chunkalunk, the one I cried over for weeks when I moved out of my mom’s house. But this time there’s no recovery. His birthday is a day before mine, March 1st. He just turned 17. And he went from feeling a bit bonier than usual on Monday to a cancer diagnosis on Wednesday. These little a-holes hide everything until it’s really bad. His normal girth didn’t change, apparently because it’s not filled with fluid, and didn’t even have any interest in the one true love of his life – food. So I’m here visiting, as I will do every day that I can until he tells us it’s time.
I know 17 is a long life for a cat, but I suppose somehow I expected him to be around forever. It’s life, I know, but when he’s sitting here on my lap (which was a rare privilege for him to bestow before), my heart breaks. It feels more like he’s trying to comfort ME. When my legs go numb eventually and I am going to have to move him off my lap, he will fight to get back on it. He’s just sitting and purring and occasionally looking up at me with his big eyes and his fu manchu whiskers (both reasons I fell in love with him at the shelter in the first place).
This is the life of an animal parent, we take on these furry babies and hopefully give them the best life they can have knowing fully that we will, almost certainly, outlive them.
I apologize for being a downer. A blog about a dying kitty (especially after so many months of not posting anything) is not exactly uplifting material. But, well, this blog is about being a crazy cat lady, and crazy cat ladies all have to deal with this at some point.
So many things have changed since I was 16, but Fatty has always been my kitty. This sucks.
I can understand that cats identify with smell, which SUPPOSEDLY accounts for why they smoosh their heads into our faces, legs, arms, etc. (although I maintain that MY kitties do it simply because they love me, even though that completely goes against my undying trust in science).
This does not account for why the mere opening of the front door to greet a human that they do not encounter on a regular basis sends my boys into panicked blurs of fur, not to be seen again until several hours after the offending “alien” has left.
Judging from my own experiences at fellow cat-owners’ homes, I’m not alone. I’m also not UN-alone, because some people have cats do not run like their tails are on fire when I walk in. This is not to say that I am necessarily ACCEPTED by these cats; my friend’s cat, whom I have known since kittenhood, will meow at me like I’m killing him and swat at me (but also still allow me to pet as he wishes).
In my mind, aside from smell, I feel like we all look the same to cats. They don’t have great eyesight and they have pea brains. We should all be equal until they’re close enough to sniff.
Furthermore, no stranger has ever done anything to my cats for them to have emotional damage from (well, Moosh maybe, but oddly enough, he’s the more friendly of the two). Since all humans have EVER done to them is feed them and love them, WHY DO THEY ACT LIKE ANYONE NEW IS GOING TO KILL THEM?
Even-further-more, why am I even remotely attempting to understand my cats? These are the same assholes that will sleep in the exact same place every day and then one day, randomly decide to to change it up and sleep in a place that is so impossible for me to find that I may or may not be convinced that they got out somehow and spend an hour panicking and retracing my steps.
It’s really just like arguing with a stupid person. I should stop.
So that’s what’s new with me. The boyfriend is no longer the boyfriend, but the husband. Which is still, after a week, weird for me to say. After all, he’s been “the boyfriend” for 11 years. I suppose it will take a bit more than a week to get used to the idea.
No, it is not because I have a “bun in the oven.” It was mostly for insurance. But somewhere along the way, despite our idea that it was just a piece of paper, I’ve realized it’s more than that. Although I am not religious and extraordinarily averse to doing things for tradition’s sake, being legally bound to your significant other IS different. My main beef with marriage is that if it doesn’t work out, you just get a divorce anyway, so what’s the point? It’s just a more expensive breakup. But we took the plunge. At the courthouse. Without guests (so no one could get upset, and I didn’t think they’d allow the cats, and even if they did, the hubz would have nixed that idea quickly). The idea of a big fancy day all about me sounds absolutely splendid, and in fact, I did get caught up in planning something – but it is disgustingly expensive and I can think of a million different things that would be a better use of money. Also, I hate planning. Simply because I am bad at it. So we’ll have a party for the family and friends who were still a teeny bit sad that we didn’t do it all in front of them. In retrospect, very glad, because just in front of the clerk of the court I felt awkward and weird and I cried unexpectedly.
So we told the cats they weren’t bastards anymore. They don’t care. Apparently they are the least affected by this legal union. Someone still puts food in their dishes.
In other news, I got the new iPhone 6 (not the Plus, I do not want to hold an iPad to my head on the rare occasions I actually use my phone as a phone). And how have I utilized my BRAND NEW technology that is so highly in demand? Taking slo-mo videos of the cats. Fingerprint ID is neat and all, but I could watch Moosh shake his head in slo-mo for HOURS.
Yup. Nothing has really changed at all here.
The other day, a friends of mine, through a course of unfortunate events that unbeknownst to them, left their door able to be pushed open if the bolt wasn’t locked. This led to the door, either through wind or through cat, opening at some point during the night, so when they woke up, one of their two strictly-indoor cats was missing. The other one apparently had no desire to explore. There was no prior indication that the cat ever wanted to see what else was out there. The cat, as far as I know, is sadly, still missing, although she does have a microchip so if she is picked up for any reason, they’ll be notified. And they’ve alerted the neighbors, canvassed, put up signs, etc.
So what’s different between cats?
My cat at my mom’s, Fatty, LOVED to run out the damn door when he was younger. I would get up at 5am, open the front door to get the paper, and WHOOSH! Cat bolted. At the time, I didn’t have glasses and had never put in my contacts yet so I blindly and barefootedly had to run out in the dark yard to chase after him. He usually only made it to halfway around the house, where he would then turn and haul ass back inside. Sometimes it went on a bit longer than this, maybe under a car, maybe all the way to the backyard, but he usually didn’t venture much further even though a large, blind human was chasing him. I think it was just him screwing with me. Nothing is funny at 5am, especially not chasing a cat while stepping on slugs.
Long ago, when we were just a one-cat household, I didn’t quite latch the door when I left for work and the boyfriend woke up to a wide open door. He ran out to find Moosh sitting on the porch chair. The porch is not enclosed, and he could have gone anywhere. It seems the porch was enough for him.
There was one other time we woke up to a wide open front door. Neither Taco nor Moosh had any interest and in fact, seemed to be as far away as possible from the door. My assumption is that they associate fresh air with the vet, because they only start howling in the cat carrier when we step out the door. Neither of my cats are chipped. This is probably very bad on my part, but since we only have two doors, and they are TERRIFIED of the sliding glass door and run away whenever it’s opened, and they don’t have any desire to go out the other one, I figure they’re not going anywhere.
But what governs cats’ desires? Why did Fatty rush to get out while Taco has never set foot? Taco’s mom was, as far as I know, feral. If anything, he should have more internal desire to roam. And all the cats I speak of are fixed. So it’s not a desire to mate (that would speak for itself).
You cat people reading this…what are your experiences with indoor cats and the outdoor world?
I have 3 litterboxes. You’re supposed to have as many as you have cats, plus one, and there should be one on every floor (I live in a townhouse). However, since we added one downstairs in an effort to stop Taco from peeing on the couch, both cats have, for the most part, abandoned using the two upstairs, mostly likely because the downstairs one is next to the kitchen and they can cause the most destruction with their foul smells. It’s great, really. I love knowing my olfactory senses are working to full capacity.
That being said, since they hardly use the upstairs ones, I only check them once a week or so. Perhaps that’s slightly neglectful. But honestly, the smell is usually a dead giveaway if there’s waste requiring removal.
So imagine my surprise when last night, I opened the covered box to find it was completely and utterly infested with tiny brown bugs. I mean, hundreds. And after closer inspection, I realized that the tiny brown bugs were not just confined to the box, but all over the surrounding carpet.
Now, I freely admit I’m not the best housekeeper. I’m more like a PigPen. This does not mean I live in filth. The boyfriend makes up for what I lack, and I do try to keep things tidy. I’m messy, but not dirty. But still, I would like to think that I would have noticed a bazillion of these freakin’ bugs all over. So I’m reasonably sure that the infestation grew fairly quickly.
We took the box outside (where it still resides, I don’t feel like cleaning it just yet) and vacuumed up the offenders. The boyfriend immediately blamed cat poop.
So I did what every good American would do.
You know those bugs that end up in your pantry, usually in your flour?
Yeah. Turns out they dig corn, too. Which is conveniently what my cat litter is made of. It seems there’s a certain trade-off in being environmentally friendly and therefore shunning clay litter.
So hey, at least I’m not the only one this happened to. And maybe it’s because they don’t use that box. Because the high traffic box doesn’t have a single bug (at least that I can see).
World’s Best Cat Litter, I am hereby calling you out. I do like your product, but give a girl a warning, seriously.
Took Taco to the vet yesterday. Just the yearly checkup, which I think was 2 months late. Anyway, both the boys just had birthday, Moosh is now six and Taco four…and apparently 4 is the year to get FAT. Because according to the vet, that’s what Taco is. Tell me how I’m supposed to reduce his food when he eats all of the food? I can’t starve Moosh to cut back on Taco. I got a grazer and a gorger. Guess who wins?
And seriously, 13 lbs for a cat is NOT that bad. Sure, he was 11 lbs for the majority of his adult life but 2 lbs in a year isn’t THAT bad. As much as he runs around I cannot believe he’s getting fatter. Plus, I discovered that we’ve actually been buying “moderate calorie” food, which explains why we’ve been running through it so fast — and why the cats have been begging for food 3 hours after morning feedings.
It also is a two-man job to even get Taco into the carrier, despite careful planning. I had attempted to carry out the kidnapping without waking the boyfriend up but alas, it got too loud, which was fortunate because he heard enough to shut the bedroom door just in time to avoid Taco running in and hiding under the bed. Then came down to help, since I got Taco in but couldn’t close with one hand.
They have kittens for adoption at my vet. These kittens were adorable. I threatened Taco if he didn’t shape up, I was trading him in for a new model. His performance didn’t improve, but the vet rejected my trade offer. Go figure.
As all cat owners know (I assume all, every cat I’ve ever had is MISERABLE in the car) I endured bone-chilling howls all the way there. Slightly muted on the way back. And, upon arriving home, feeling horribly guilty for all my evil doings, proceeded to give Taco all of the treats in the world. Including turkey, which he meowed incessantly for, but didn’t know what to do with upon receiving. Shrugh.
Yes, it has been forever, and I’m sure you’re asking “Why now?” I say, “Why not?”
Maybe because I ran out of cat things to talk about. Or because I’m busy. Whatever it is, here I am again!
So. Yes. I am crazy. Not in a “needs to be locked up” sense, but close.
The fact that Moosh likes to sleep above my head is well-documented in other posts, so I won’t get into it. So the other night, whilst in the middle of what was apparently a very deep sleep, Moosh bit my hand (regardless of position, I almost always have to have one arm positioned somehow above my head). Now, being that I was, in fact, in the middle of a very deep sleep, I’m really foggy on what exactly happened, other than that my hand hurt quite a bit. I woke up enough to see that it was bleeding, but just barely, and I was so tired that I decided any bacteria would just have to wait for the morning and I went back to sleep, as did Moosh. In the morning, I saw there was another mark on the other side of my hand, in keeping with my bite theory. It wasn’t very deep, so I just peroxided it, antibiotic-ed it, and slapped a few bandaids on (by the way, these are impossible to keep stuck on your palm).
I pondered the reasoning for the bite for the rest of the morning, and while I assumed that I may have jerked in my sleep (I sleep punch the boyfriend a lot so this is a valid assumption) which freaked Moosh out who then bit, the thought suddenly occurred to me that I only had 48 hours to get a rabies shot before it was too late and I began the spiral down into what I hear is a horrible death by insanity.
The chance of rabies being an issue is pretty much .000000%. Both of my boys are strictly indoors and get their shots yearly.
However. I am what I like to call a “disaster planner,” meaning I can only relax and tackle an issue once I have determined the worst case scenario and planned for it. I blame the girl scouts. It’s not pessimism, I just feel better identifying it. Then I can plan for the most realistic outcome.
So I emailed my vet to please verify that Moosh was up to date on his rabies shots. I’m sure I gave them a laugh for the day, but yes, they assured me, he had it in January.
So that just leaves infection. Cat bites are pretty much the worst for bacteria. If you ever have a choice, get bit by a dog instead.
When I took off the bandaids at the end of the day I realized the marks were kind of parallel and more in line with claw marks rather than a bite. All that for a damn scratch. But hey, I was asleep.
I also do not feel as crazy as the person who put a t-shirt on a perfectly nice outdoor cat. This cat accosted me on my porch the other night, meowing and rubbing on my legs, and tried to run in my house. It ignored the food I put out for him so it seems he’s someone’s cat…but what MORON puts a shirt on their cat (also, what moron lets their cat outside, but that’s a different story)? I debated taking the shirt off the cat because it seems so very dangerous but I wondered if they maybe had a really good reason for putting the shirt on the cat. I may put a notice on the neighborhood board calling out the idiot owner.