Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Digging a Ditch

Today started out pretty normal. It didn't end up that way.

This post will suck in places. It's about the finest cat that ever drew a kitty breath, in my eyes anyway. Beany. He entered my life late one July night in 1989, a frightened stray on a busy street. I sat on the steps of my building waiting for his people to find him but they never came, and he was so clearly desperate that I took him in. He was young, he was stripey, he was Beany.

Beany started getting really thin a couple of years ago, and we found that in addition to his thumpy heart murmur and his really bad teeth he also had hyperthyroid. So enter the Little White Pill, twice a day. This kept his thyroid from being so hyper, and he gained a little weight back though he was never so hale and hearty as before. We knew his kidneys were probably going bad a while ago, he drank so much water and peed gallons all the time. But he kept eating, and drinking, and we kept stuffing the pill down his throat. His quality of life seemed okay.

About a week ago he started looking a little peaky even for him, and by yesterday he was so thin he started to look actually emaciated. I could tell he was dehydrated, his skin tented up and didn't snap back when you pinched it. I wasn't having to fill the water glass so often for him. He wasn't eating that much, though he seriously grooved on the bbq chicken we had last night. I am so glad I gave him some, he scarfed it right down and laid down for a nap looking very satisfied.

I took him to the vet today and they found he'd lost more than a pound in less than a month -- and he didn't have a pound to spare. They kept him while they ran blood tests, and I went home to wait, and a couple of hours later I got the news that I knew all day that I would hear: there was nothing they could do, and I should seriously consider putting him to sleep because he was already that bad off.

So I cried a few more buckets to add to the ones I cried anticipatorily on the way home from dropping him off at the vet already, and Shannon came to watch Delia, and Julianna and I headed to the vet. We sat with him and he purred and purred and even was cuddly -- this from a cat that hated cuddling though he was affectionate -- and finally the vet came in with an assistant and it was over in two minutes.

My beautiful, beautiful cat is gone and I don't know what to do.

Sixteen years is a long life for a cat. There were times when he was all I had; I was estranged from nearly everyone in my family for some time. He was always there. I was so attached to him. He stuck with me through endless moves -- something like 13 -- and tolerated other cats and dogs in the household, though sometimes not that graciously. I got him when I was 21. I'm 37 now. I can't believe it. That I'm so old, that he's so gone.

I knew that I would be very, very sad when this day came. I didn't expect it to be so soon, so sudden, so sad.

Go sit in Grandma's lap, Beany. God needs a break. :)

I miss you.

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