Thursday, December 15, 2011

My love, my shadow.

Almost 15 years ago, Angry and I adopted a cat from a no-kill shelter.  I want to tell you his story.

I went to buy some kitty litter from a local store.  Some people from that shelter were there with cats and kittens in cages, looking to adopt them out.

I spotted a little grey guy who looked like a cat we already had.  He was so cute and sweet that I adopted him on the spot.

You would have taken him home too!
When I asked the people about him and they estimated that he was about 6 months old.  One of their volunteers had been driving down a very busy street and she noticed him running around.  She pulled over and called out “Come here kitty cat.”  He ran right to her and let her pick him up!   He loved everybody, even a stranger on the street.

When we got him home, we put him in one of the bedrooms to separate him from our other two cats until we could get him checked out by the vet to make sure he was healthy.  And then we’d have to introduce them slowly.

We’d go in a check up on him and give him some loving about every hour or so.  One time, Angry went in and he came right back out and said, “It smells like piss in there.”  Sure enough, he hadn’t been fixed (they told me he was and I didn’t look at that area to check) and he was spraying everywhere in the bedroom.  Everywhere.  He could smell the other two cats and wanted to make his presence known!

When we went to bed, we tried to think of a name for him.  He couldn’t go to the vet without a name.  We discussed lots of options but didn’t “love” any of them.  Finally, I said, “Wait a minute; I love Gossamer, the monster from Bugs Bunny.  He’s a monster right now.  Let’s call him Gossimer.”  We spelled it differently so he’d be unique.  I called the vet at 7 am the next morning and told them we needed a checkup and a neuter that day.

He became my baby almost immediately.  He had to share me with one of our other cats but when she died, Gossimer got full possession of my lap and my time.

Catching a few rays.

Gossimer tried to help me blog. It was obviously boring for him!

Where's my milk and ice cream?

Packer fan, through and through.

I was a naughty kitten!

In late October, as we were getting ready to go to Mexico, Gossimer started to rub his face and shake his head like he was in pain.  We knew his teeth were sort of yucky and planned to get him in for a cleaning and have any bad ones pulled when we got back from vacation.

Unfortunately, the day before we left, he stopped eating.  We called Angry’s parents and asked them to rush him to the vet on Monday.  When we called them to check up on him, it was dire.  But the vet got him “up and running” again with some fluids and some antibiotics.  The plan was to clear up the infection in his gums and then do the dental work.

The week before Thanksgiving, he stopped eating again.  We made his appointment for the Friday after Thanksgiving and he went in that day for a cleaning and any pulling that was required.

It was very unpleasant for him.  He had two teeth pulled.  One small one way in the back of his mouth and one canine (the big pointy one) on the bottom.  Canine teeth help keep the jaw bone stable and when his was pulled it did quite a bit of damage.  He was in a lot of pain and we had him on some narcotic pain meds and antibiotics.

He seems to be healing and was slowing eating small bits of food.  Then, he quit eating again.  The vet checked him out and felt that his jaw was healing well.  We couldn’t figure out what was happening to make him not want to eat.  We started giving him some more pain meds and that worked for a few days.

On Friday of last week, he quit eating again.  We visited the vet again on Monday of this week and she said she was terribly worried that something else was “really wrong” that was not related to his jaw.  She drew blood and we waited with baited breath until Tuesday for the results.

The results showed that he had cancer.  By Tuesday he had really wasted away to nothing.  He had, in these months, gone from about 7.5 pounds to 5.6 pounds.  He was so weak that he could barely stand up.  He was basically just staring straight ahead with no “life” in his eyes.  The decision was easy for us.  He could not suffer any longer and keep starving himself to death.

Tuesday night we took him to the vet, wrapped in his favorite blanket, and let him go to heaven.  He was finally peaceful.  He had been so hurt and sad since October.

I miss his face.  I miss his purr.  I miss his big eyes looking up at me waiting for me to scoop him up into my arms.  I miss his long claws that I never trimmed enough, that would scratch my legs when he jumped on me.  I miss his prancing around the kitchen because I could never get his breakfast or dinner ready fast enough for him.  I miss him playing with his favorite plastic ball with a bell in it (carrying it in his mouth like a goof).  I miss his “yowling” when he was hunting his toys.  I miss his scratching on my bedroom door if I didn’t get up early enough for him (and while I was getting ready for work in the morning because he missed me for those few minutes).  I miss his body sitting on my lap all the time.  I miss him trying to get onto the TV tray when I was eating cereal or ice cream to get some goodies.  I miss him reaching into the potato chip bags to help himself to salty treats.  I miss him digging in the carpet.  I miss him running to the door to greet me every time I was out of the house (or even if I was in the basement!).  I miss him sitting on the toilet lid clawing at my legs, trying to get me to hurry up when I was brushing my teeth (so I’d pick him up).  I miss him waiting for me to put on my jewelry in the morning so we could get some petting time in before I left for work.  I miss him turning over onto his back to get his “armpits” scratched (he loved that!).  I miss holding him in my arms, listening to him purr every time I picked him up (which was all the time).  I miss his “head bumps” when we sat on the couch.

I know that he’s in heaven playing with his buddies that preceded him in death.  I know he’d not in any pain.  I know that he’s back to being a healthy kitty.  I know that he’s at peace.  My tears will eventually dry and my heart won’t ache constantly.

Goodbye to my handsome buddy who was my shadow for almost 15 years.  You’ll be missed Gossimer.  You’ll be remembered with much love and happiness.


Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

Ohmygosh! I'm so very sad for you. It brought tears to my eyes because you expressed the very feelings that I had when I had to let my Sam (shih tzu) go. I regret that I was too chicken to go into the room to say good bye to him. I couldn't let him go so my daughter went in and hugged him until he went to sleep.

I'm so very sorry. He sounds like he's always going to have a special place in your heart. He was a precious baby. You're right...he's living it up in heaven.

Liz said...

Thanks Simone. You certainly understand how much they mean to us and how hard it is to say goodbye. We were with him at the end and through my tears, I was so glad to see him at peace. He had looked so bad and he was so weak that it was helpful to see him peaceful.

Laura said...

I am sorry for your loss. They are family.

Ricki said...

They indeed are family. I am very sorry. Unfortunately, those of who choose to let animals into our lives and love them all have to go through this. God bless you and Gossimer.

Liz said...

Thanks Laura and Ricki. Yes, they ARE family. I know that we will lose our critters eventually. It's the only bad part about owning them.

DeniseU said...

Oh Liz, I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost it, when I was reading the list of all of the things that you are missing. It seems that pawprints can leave some of the deepest impressions on our hearts. I hope that your memories of Gossimer will bring you much joy in the future.

Liz said...

Thanks Denise. I've been talking to people about Gossimer a lot in the last couple of days. I'm already feeling much more happiness while telling his stories. The tears still come but it's getting better each day. I love that little guy!!