Le mort du Brie

cat in a bag

It's been an eventful week and a half or so, so I'll just try to fit you into it somewhere..

We had to put our cat down a week ago Friday. She was an old kitty, and had been sick for almost a year now. Last year in September or so she got a kidney infection and lost about half her weight. Bad news. We had a vet that made house calls come over and tell us how to keep her around, taking extra care of her. She lasted almost another year. About a month or so ago, she got real lethargic, and then on that Friday, she looked like she had had a spasm, and then just locked into that position. I convinced Cindy that it was time to let her go. I came home from work, and we took her out to the front porch, put her on a towel, and pet her up pretty good for the next hour. When the vet came, she was warm and happy (or as happy as she could be under the circumstances), and she went real quiet. Cindy cried on my shoulder, and the vet slipped away, leaving us in our grief. We stroked her some more, and said our last good-byes. We put her in one of Cindy's old sweaters with a collection of cat toys, and all of the cat nip that we had on hand. We put her in a box, and then put the box into a hole. Lots of boards on top of the newly covered hole, so that the dogs don't get any really stupid ideas. And flowers on top of the boards. She was about 16 years old, and we got her when Cindy and I first lived together in Bellingham. Her brother cat had been hit by a car a number of years ago when Cindy lived here and I was living in San Diego, so she had to rely on her family to help her through that time. I'd been kind of ready for it, because she had been fading for so long. It was relatively easy to take. Just a question of letting her go. It was just time to say good-bye...

That was on a Friday. On Wednesday, we had new cats. A couple of months ago, the manager at the pet store we frequent noticed me in the store, and asked me how many cats I had at home. I told her about Brie, just the one, and how she was old and rickety. She mentioned that the shop cats were in need of a new home, and she wondered if I might be interested. For four years, Cindy and I had been going into this store, and making jokes about how she could cause a distraction while I gathered the kitties under my arms and made a break for the door. Sweet big rug puddles. And here we were being offered these same kitties. I told her that we had to wait, as the introduction of new cats into the old rickety cat's life would hasten her end. The weekend of Brie's passing, we realized just how empty our lives were without cats, so we let them know that we were as ready as we were going to get. We arranged to pick them up on Wednesday. Our lives are very different now. We used to have a cat that was polite and refined. No jumping up onto shelves or onto the counters or the table. She weighed under ten pounds, so it was no problem when she jumped up on the bed in the middle of the night. She knew her place, and maintained it with a quiet dignity in keeping with her status as Grande Dame of the household. Now she's gone, and in her place are a couple of rampaging shop cats that are used to a very different environment. In the shop, they would use the upper levels of the store shelves to escape from dogs that had been brought into the store, or to escape from the groping, probing hands of customers and kids alike. There were no people sleeping in beds in the store. There were no people sitting on toilets with the doors open. There was just the one door, and the windows didn't open. There were certainly no people food preparation areas to be held off limits. There was a constant stream of people coming into their lives, intent only on petting them into living oblivion. Their lives are very different now. And they pretty much have run of the house. Cindy says that they follow her into the bathroom in the middle of the night, if nothing else than to watch her as she relieves herself. The male is 15 lbs and the female is 13 lbs, and when they jump on your pillows in the dead of night, your head sinks under the weight. Counter tops and tables are free space and fair game. These dogs don't go away. There's only Cindy and me to give them the stroking that they demand. I was lying in bed, under the covers, and Smoky, the male, jumped up onto the foot of the bed, ran up the side of my left leg, made a U-turn on my testicles, and ran down the side of my right leg, and onto the floor. Apparently just for the hell of it. This morning, they busted out the screen over the window from the bedroom and got their first taste of the outdoors. We're waiting for them to figure out how to use the phone so that they can call up their cat buddies around the state to brag about how good they've got it living with us, and to taunt their dog enemies. It's been an exciting week. And they fill the hole in our hearts rather nicely...

Like all new parents, we can regale you with stories of baby's first poop, or the accident on the mattress, but you're probably not that interested. So I'm going to close my eyes here and try to catch up on some much needed sleep, as the cats like to party all night long, often in direct opposition to people sleep. ZZZZZzzzzzzz....

This document was last modified on Nov 10, 1998, and has been viewed countless times.