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.
If I had known how insane it is to change the name you’ve had for 32 years, I may not have changed it. I was going to hyphenate, and while researching the proper way to go about that I learned that it is somewhat difficult, causing issues with forms and credit cards and whatever. I also considered making my maiden name my middle name, but my dad gave me my middle name (it’s Amelia, my dad’s a pilot), so I asked him which of his names he thought was more important. He said that he was traditional and also that he thought having the same name made a relationship stronger — and although my new husband said “it’s up to you,” through constant questioning I finally got him to admit he rather liked the idea, so as I do with most big decisions in life, I said “fuck it” and went all in. Pardon my language, but this is my method for making big decisions. I HATE change. I mean, I REALLY hate it. I second guess everything after it’s done, so I’ve learned that the only way I can do things out of my comfort zone are to say “fuck it.” You know when the light turns yellow, and you’re right at the point where you have to decide immediately whether or not you have to slam on the brakes or gun it? I make my decisions this way. I mull over the options and then if I am not totally sure which way to go, I make a decisive decision and do it.
I have had comments from married people, both male and female, how impressed they were with how quickly I got it all done. This is ONLY because I had to preempt my natural laziness. I knew that if I let some slide, I’d never get around to it.
I was NOT, however, prepared for the identity crisis that the name change incurred. Not that I regret changing it, despite my aversion to tradition, I think my dad was correct. It makes you more of a family. But again with the aversion to change…I feel slightly lost. I am currently trying to convince people to call me by my maiden name as a nickname. Oddly enough, I have very little ties to my first name other than that my mom picked it out. But there are SO many of me. We have like, 4 Sarahs at my work alone.
I also feel like it is a LOT of BS that the woman has to give up HER last name and get CHARGED for it. New license. New registration. And my bank TRIED to charge me for my new card until I called them and ripped them a new asshole.
So I’m mostly changed everywhere, except for my bazillion online accounts. And I know this probably doesn’t matter in the least, but the cats are under my maiden name at the vet…do I have to change that too? Will THEY have an identity crisis? Probably not, since neither started life with the names that we gave them and for that matter, as I’ve written about in a previous post, they could be called any abomination of their name at any given time.
I swear, I’m not going to make this blog into a “blah blah married life” thing, because really, not much has changed. Except for my name. And various legal things.
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.
So you’re totally going to think that this is brought on by Shark Week (which is this week, in case you haven’t seen the commercial with Rob Lowe that plays every 5 seconds on every channel that WILL make you want to feed Rob Lowe to a shark after about the oh, say, 59th time). Or because Sharknado 2 just came out last week. But it’s not.
When Sharknado came out last year, I thought it was just some goofy D-list movie. I was amused, but thought nothing of it.
Until I discovered that EVERY MOVIE ON SYFY IS EQUALLY OR MORE AS BAD AND AMAZING.
This obsession didn’t even start with shark movies. I think the first day I got sucked into a full day of bad movie marathoning, there was a movie about underground methane veins that threatened to destroy the world, and then another about the poles reversing and the world being overtaken by magnetic storms, so on and so forth.
I can’t stop once I start. These movies have completely unbelievable plot lines, horrible writing and even worse acting…but they’re like train wrecks. I can’t look away. There ARE a ton of shark ones. Some more out there than Sharknado, even. Sand Shark, anyone? Who fancies a Ghost Shark? SHARKTOPUS???
But you know what there is NONE of?
I have had exactly two cat sightings. One was a zombie movie, and it was a zombie tiger. Now THAT was an interesting point. If there ever WAS a zombie apocalypse, it would not be the pansy-ass human zombies I would worry about. Zombie tigers? Now THOSE you don’t want to eff with.
Still, it was just a cameo. And there was an alien movie yesterday where a cat made a cameo as the pet of a brilliant Russian electrician who barricaded himself from the aliens in some sort of electric cage.
That’s it. Apparently only sharks, alligators and dinosaurs are fearsome enough to be considered as bad science fiction fodder. Where’s Ocean Lion? I hear producers everywhere smacking themselves in the face, wondering why they haven’t come up with that. You’re welcome. That one’s free.
It’s entirely possible that because this new obsession is still in its infancy that I am just not aware of such compelling titles. If so, I humbly apologize. But SyFy better run a marathon of those soon, because as much as I think sharks are pretty darn neat, I’m getting just a TEEEEEENY bit sick of them.
Which is where I currently am. Nothing horrible, the boyfriend just had to get a tiny bit of spinal surgery done. Amazing what they can do these days. Just clip out the bad ol’ disc and pop in an artificial one! No worries.
There is, however, a lot of waiting. While this hospital seems to have everything operating like a well-oiled machine, there is still, nonetheless, a lot of waiting. Arrive 3 hours before surgery. 1 hour with anesthesiologist. 1.5 hours of actual surgery. 1.5 hours of recovery from anesthesia. This is where I’m at now. Waiting for him to be brought up to his room. So much better than the surgery waiting room, which is pretty small and REALLY full of people. Especially when there is an entire Italian family waiting for one particular patient.
I prefer to wait alone. I’m not good at waiting. I’m impatient. I was never actually worried, because I do have a rather large amount of faith in modern medicine, plus I did an awful lot of research so I knew exactly what the risks were and the benefits and the procedure, all that junk. Granted, it’s easy for me to say since no one was cutting ME up, but the person being cut happens to be someone I love very much and would prefer to keep in one piece.
No, I’m just antsy. Give me a couch and a book and I’ll sit there all day, but give me the same book with an uncomfortable chair and tell me to read while I wait for something and it’s an entirely different story. So while everyone and their mother (literally) offered to keep me company, I declined. Antsy and impatient are much better alone.
But since this blog is about cats, I should probably tie that in somehow. Maybe if I could bring the kitties to entertain me while I wait. A cat-petting waiting room. Probably not very sanitary. I feel sanitary is really at the top of the list at a hospital. And as far as hospitals go, this one is pretty decent. Even got a black bean burger for lunch. But I’m probably going to have blood clots in my legs from sitting all day, because although they put some of those compression socks on the boyfriend to avoid blood clots, they do NOT pass those out to the waiters.
Pro tip of the day: bring your own. If there is ever a next time, I will know to do that. But I’ll still leave the furry sons at home. No smuggling.
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.