Saturday, October 2, 2010

Another Non-Sexual politics either.

We have several cats(about fifteen) (and one ferret).  Ever since we have been married we have always had cats.  We had cats before we were married.  One of the problems we had when we were first married was that our cat family did not get along.  But it worked out after a while.  One of the things that might cause us to not get divorced would be...who would get the cats?!

I am really not sure how many cats we have right now.  We have three shop cats that are pretty much feral that we were given by a couple moving into an assisted living facility.  A couple more that spend more time out than in, a stray that now lets me hold him, and the house cats that spend most of their time inside.  We live on eight acres so it isn't that big of a deal.

But one of our special cats died yesterday.  He was all black, about seven years old.  Darling Daughter got him at the vet, he showed up at the Vet's during a snow storm...a little black hungry kitten.  After he was checked out by the Vet we kept him.

Like I said we have had a lot of cats and some are more special than others.  He was very special.  Good personality, friendly to people and to other cats.  A real people cat.  Loved being around people.  Would walk with me down the drive to get the paper.  Spend time in the garage when I was working on a car.  Whenever the washing machine was filling...he would be there, watching and playing with the water.  Liked being carried.  Would ride on my shoulders.  Loved being played with, he liked being held by  his rear legs...dangling.  Never had another cat do that.  Fixed but still an alpha male but didn't fight much and enjoyed playing with kittens.

About seven months ago we took him to the Vet.  The one we got him from.  He was not acting like himself.  He had been a very graceful and active cat and now he was not so graceful.  Didn't make all of his jumps.  Something wasn't right.

Something wasn't right!  Feline Leukemia!  We had another  cat that tested positive for FLV years ago.  Told to put her to sleep but we couldn't.  She lived for years...never infected another cat and before she died she no longer tested positive.

The Vet said about half the cases live a long time and some, he wasn't sure of the numbers, just seem to "cure" by themselves.  He didn't think we should put him to sleep.

He never complained.  Up to last week we could pet him, brush him, feed him and he would purr.  And purr.  It has been months since he could walk.  Treats.  What ever food we thought he would like.  Tuna, bacon, ham, fancy cat food.  Water and broth by syringe to keep him hydrated.  About a month ago he started losing weight.  More treats and more effort to find things he would eat.  More broth and water by syringe.  Still no complaining.  No idea what to do.  He could crawl some and did at times.  The Vet said to watch and when he starts hiding he is in pain and it might be time to put him to sleep.  But he never hid.  And he would purr...a great purr.

This last week he just would not eat much.  Yesterday morning I had him on a pad on our bed.  He liked being there.  That morning he ate some bacon, took a little broth and that was it.  Got a little more broth in him about noon.  I'd check on him about every hour, try to get some liquid in him.  About three I saw that he had moved off the pad and had wet the bed.  I moved him and his pad to the floor and stripped the bed and started washing the sheets, spread and all.  About forty minutes later I was in our  bedroom and checked on him.  Paws were moving, like he was kneading.  He was moving some.  I got down with him and held him, petted him, talked to him.  In less than ten minutes he was still.  Dead.  Letting my wife know was hard.  She would feel bad that she was not with him.  Darling Daughter, who does not live with us any more, cried at the news.  Yes, he is ours but she is the one that had him first.  Our son was upset and he isn't a cat person.  He was that kind of cat!

I really don't think he had much pain, maybe a bit right at the end.  I don't know.  I hope he didn't have much pain.  I don't know what I would do different.  When B gets home from work in a bit we will pick out a spot to bury him.  We will find a place that he liked in the yard.  Maybe close to the pond since he loved water...loved the pond.  He would play in the stream of water from the spitting frog.

Pets are not..."just a pet", "just a cat", "just a dog" or "just a ferret".  Pets are part of our family.


  1. Thank you. Seems like a lot of death going around. I have a somewhat distant uncle that I would guess is dying from cancer but the Doctors are still working. My wife's sister in law lost her husband last year and a long term renter of a house on their property is dying, hospice right now and a matter of days I'd guess. She had to put a pet to sleep not too long ago. Life does go on and it is interesting to think how life does go on. I hate to sound too Disney about it but we all are born and we all will die at some point.

    My parents were both buried and the cemetery required a vault and all that. Dad was not embalmed but my Mother was, against her wishes but I'd been to another Uncle's funeral in the South not too long before and I found the viewing and all that to be a big comfort for all of his friends and family so I got the rest of the family to go for that. If there is an afterlife I guess I will have to answer to my Mother about that. But somehow I doubt if I will be in the same place as my Mother, being rather lacking in some respects.

    My wife's parents were both cremated, their wishes. But in recent years my wife has decided she would like to be shrouded and buried, no embalming. I am still not sure how I feel about that and to be honest I don't worry about it, it will not matter to me at that point. While I am not "looking forward" or wanting to die I've found that I do feel a lot more mortal these days.

    While over all my health is pretty good I do have some long term pain issues that are getting worse rather than better and I have a lot more understanding of why some people choose to end their lives. So I guess I accept that I will die and of course at my age it will be sooner than later (I'll be 59 in a few days so I don't expect 59 more birthdays) and as long as it sticks to what should be...parents do not outlive their kids...I think I can face it.

    As I have mentioned in the past I was (or is it like being a Marine...once one always one?) a pilot for years and about 20,000 hours (not a lot in some ways so I'm not bragging by any means) and I got to fly to some interesting places and I got to fly some interesting aircraft. But I've gone flying with a friend in light airplane, a almost 50 year old tail dragger and one that has a reputation for not wanting to be "good" on landings or take-offs. It is worth a posting so I will try to get on it. But I have cars to work on and wood to cut and other "fun" things to do.