Friday, November 14, 2014

A Sad Story

     A stray cat showed up awhile ago.  He was pretty shy and one of the neighborhood ferals, a middle-aged fellow our neighbor calls "Skittles," just hated him on sight.  The two cats were of similar coloring and build, compact gray shorthairs; maybe Skittle was just freked out by a mirror-image that didn't move when he moved?

     By a slow process known only to tomcats, the new guy ended up spending most of his time in our front yard.  He tended to talk, and if I was at the backyard fence talking to Jack, the third feral -- he's gray-and-white, long-haired, fourteen years old and a great pal of Skittles -- the new cat would meow and meow.  Eventually, the new cat started spending time on our front porch and made it clear he'd be happy to come on in.  He wasn't afraid of me or Tam, and if the inner door was open, he and Huck would talk through and smooth on the glass storm door.

     It was natural, as cold weather started, to think about adopting him.  I'd fed him on the front porch a couple of times. Our neighbor, who's very good with cats, caught him and kept him caged overnight.  Yesterday morning, she delivered him to us in a large carrier and I kept him in it, isolated in the basement.  I'd made an appointment with the vet for 11:30 a.m.  It was during my work hours, so Tam took him there and he was a real charmer, as sweet and friendly a cat as could be.  One ear was "tipped," which usually means Indy Feral has caught and neutered a cat, and he was looking good....

     Until they checked for Feline Leukemia.  He had it and it was starting to affect his health.  The clock was ticking -- and since it's infectious, Tam couldn't even bring him home to be an outside cat.  The vet was visibly upset when she shared the bad news.

     Tam stayed with the gray cat -- we were calling him "Buddy" -- 'til the end.  She's called me and we were both very broken-hearted over the news.

     I've been with cats in their last moments a lot of times -- a couple of brave ferals at my old place that were mortally injured in fights, my ex's nice little cat, my family of three black cats -- and it never gets any easier.  Being there, comforting the cat, is the one decent thing you can do for them.  But it hurts.  Gosh, it hurts.

     Huck was puzzled last night, looking around, checking the windows.  Where was his friend?  I told him and he listened as solemnly as only a sixteen-pound tomcat can, then leaped off my lap to go play.  Life's a bit simpler for a cat.

     Last evening, I kept thinking I'd heard a meow from outside, faint and distant.  Go in peace, little gray cat.  We tried.

30 comments:

Paul Schwa said...

I've been there, too. So very sorry.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

unlike :(

Robin said...

Unfortunate and not enjoyable, I have done similar duty too often in the past myself.

Blackwing1 said...

I'm so sad for both you and Tam. My wife and I put our cat of 15 years down last January, and it still hurts.

On the other hand, we picked up a used cat at the Used Cat Lot (a shelter in a rural town) about 3 months later, guaranteed to have low miles and a good engine. He's been a handful since he was 14-months-old, and very poorly trained by whoever was his previous servant. We've been working to make him somewhat more socially-adjusted, and while it's a struggle sometimes (yes, I CAN out-stubborn a cat) he's really quite a nice guy sometimes.

You folks did the very best you could by him, and his passing was much more comfortable than it would have been leaving him on the streets to get weaker and weaker fending for himself (and infecting other cats). Thank you for being kind to him, and improving what little was left of his life.

waepnedmann said...

Heinlein, cats, multiple T-shirts.
You guys did good.

Hossmiester said...

My heart goes out to you, I too have had many, many "friends of feline persuasion" who have adopted me and my wife. It never gets easier. I am so very tired of those who get a kitty and think it will never grow up leaving it to others to take care of it. You folks have a good heart! God Bless

TWForeman said...

It always makes me sad when we have to do the right thing for a pet.

The saddest was the new kitten we got from a friend of one of my children. We took it to the vet and discovered it had feline leukemia.

We had only had it a few days, but I still cried like a baby when we had to put it down.

Anonymous said...

Ladies, and I use the word in the classic sense, because you are noble souls,

Thank you.

Both for making the attempt and for letting us share your sadness to reduce the weight of it. While honoring your friend with fond remembrances of the good times, please allow kindness and affection to start filling the cat-shaped hole in your lives.

With much love,

Ed.

Guffaw in AZ said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

gfa

Tango Juliet said...

My condolences. I know the pain. :(

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear it.




Malamute

Alien said...

Years back, with 3 already in the household, a large male orange cat showed up outside in early October. Inside adoption considered, then abandoned when the Queen of the House hissed, spit and threw herself at the glass whenever he showed up. A trip to the vet, shots given and all tests passed, still the problem with The Queen. The vet, bless him, located a home, and Pumpkin became a very beloved member of that household.

Years before that, we, very painfully, lost three residents in close order to FIV. I miss Dandy, aka Dandelion, the most. He tolerated his sisters, accepted no crap from an 80 lb Husky, and was kind enough to let us live in his house.

God's creatures enter our lives, and leave, on schedules we cannot control. The best we can do is support and enjoy them during the too short period when our lives overlap, and do the best we can for them when the unfortunate time comes.

My deepest condolences.

Jennifer said...

I'm so sorry. You ladies did a wonderful thing for Buddy. He was dealt a bad hand, and you saved him from a very painful and cruel end. Instead he knew love and warmth. Small solace for a sad loss.

LCB said...

God bless both of you for trying.

NAVIGATOR said...

MY CONDOLENCES TO YOU BOTH MAY YOU ONE DAY BE REUNITED WITH ALL THE CRITTERS YOU LOVED AND CARED FOR AT THE RAINBOW BRIDGE

Sherm said...

My wife tells me there are certain duties that are mine and mine alone: taking care of spiders, car repairs, seeing to the pets when their time has come. I don't mind the spiders and car repairs.

DoninSacto said...

God Bless you both for your love of His creatures.

Bob said...

I wonder what sort of poem Kipling would have written, had he been a cat lover, to compare with his "The Power of the Dog?"

My sincere condolences to you and Tam on your loss of your little friend.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Good bye, Buddy. Fair winds and following seas. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

D.W. Drang said...

:-(

On a Wing and a Whim said...

They always leave a cat-shaped hole in your heart when they go away... My condolences, to you and Tam.

Ancient Woodsman said...

Thank you for doing the best that could be done. It seems to me that Buddy knew what was going on before he showed up, and took the time to find some fine folks who would understand and care and make his end time the best that could be done. It's never easy on the human end, but I think the cats are smarter than us about such things.

Several decades ago I had the similar experience with Mom's cat. Post college, post marriage all grown up me was the one who had to take Bonkers in for the final trip. She was the best that ever was (aren't they all at that point?) and given her elderly condition and very poor health actually seemed to enjoy the ride. The cat that I grew up with, the last cat (excepting one) that I wasn't violently allergic to, the cat who was our family member. RIP, Buddy...sounds like Bonkers and Harry and a few others will be looking forward to you joining them shortly and you all might have some fun.

Bonkers never chased a mouse. We even brought her in to a room specifically to chase a mouse once. She wouldn't.

She was marvelous. Guessing Buddy was, too.

Jim R said...

Thank you for taking care of Buddy - not that I would have expected any less.

Our vet recommended we bring Molly home so the Rose would have closure. Rose walked over, verified she was gone, turned his back and walked over to the food bowl.

When it was Rose's turn and Linda brought him home, Sophia and the Dood saw that he had quit running, and went on about their evening.

It's not that simple for us humans.

Linda did a tribute post to Rosie's memory, based on a quote from Irving Towns, where he measures his age as "four cats old.." That post is here:
http://www.roses2rainbows.com/2014/11/remembering-rosie.html

Jim R

Midwest Chick said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Buddy. But he was warm, he was safe, and he had people who cared. If you hadn't tried, he would have been cold, in fear, and alone.

Sometimes all we can do is be there.

Comrade Misfit said...

You tried. Buddy went out, knowing that he had found a home and people who cared for him, however briefly.

(And now I'm starting to cry, remembering a very sweet FIV+ cat in my life named Buddy.)

Seerak said...

Oh yes, it fracking hurts alright. I've done it twice, including just this past winter with our lynx point Siamese.

We named her Dusty, because she was covered in Nevada desert when she came to us. She was 10 months old by the vet's best guess, very freshly snipped by the Las Vegas spaying/neutering group. If you look up "Zorah the cat" on Youtube, she's the spittin' image.

Dusty was one of those cats who seems half dog; far from being aloof, she would come when you called (most of the time) and would run to us like a dog, eyes all big, when we returned from an extended absence while she stayed with our neighbor. She was a huge morale booster for my wife during chemo after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer just a month after adoption in 2012. We never thought that the tables would be turned the following year when Dusty was diagnosed with lymphoma. The vets were surprised that such a young cat would get lymphoma while being FIV and FLV negative. She passed on April 2.

We feel a bit ripped off for only having had her for 2 years, but they were great.

Ken said...

I'm really sorry.

Rob R. said...

That last line, It is heart rending.

Sorry.

DaddyBear said...

I'm so sorry. At least Buddy went with someone loving on him.

The Freeholder said...

Roberta, you gave it your best, and I think that, somehow Buddy knows that. I'd like to think the Universe knows it as well. Good people are getting fewer and fewer on the ground it seems. It's comforting to know a couple of them.