Sunday, October 18, 2009

Scratches

My beautiful 13 year old half-Himalyan, half-Siamese kitty died one year ago today. 

I initially got him when he was just a wee little baby because I'd had another cat who disappeared.  I'd plastered "LOST" posters around town and put an ad in the local paper saying that I'd give a reward to anyone who found him.  Sadly, no one did. 

About 2 weeks later, someone called asking if I'd found the cat yet.  When I told her no, the lady asked if I'd like a kitten.  She said she knew it couldn't replace my other cat but it might help heal my heart a little to have a new one running around.  Initially I was kind of turned off by the offer and told her I needed to think about it.  Several days later, I called her back and set up a time to come get him.

The lady had 2 kittens along with the mother and father cats.  I didn't get a choice, she just picked him up and handed him to me.  I offered to pay for him but she wouldn't accept it.  She'd named him Big Nose for some odd reason and I didn't care for that so I changed it to Scratches. 

When I first got him, I still lived with my parents.  They had a beagle who was not exactly fond of Scratches and immediately set about letting this little guy know who was boss.  The beagle bit into my new kitty.  I was horrified but Scratches seemed fine so I wasn't too worried.  Later that evening, my mom noticed Scratches' eye seemed to be bulging out and that his face was swollen.  This was the first of MANY vet visits. 

Luckily, the vet was able to save the eye and eventually the dog and cat got used to each other.  Over the years, my beloved cat was a regular visitor to the vet's office.  At one point, the receptionist recognized my voice when I'd call in so I didn't even need to give her my name!

This particular vet ALWAYS complained that Scratches was too fat.  They said that he should weigh 7 pounds and that at 13 pounds, he weighed almost twice what he should.  I got lectured each and every time we went in.  Then one day I had to come over the weekend for another emergency visit.  My regular vet decided he no longer wanted to work weekends and sent me to another vet in town.  So off my beautiful kitty and I went.  And I got yet another lecture on his weight.  They told me my sweet kitty was underweight and wanted to know why.  I explained the other vet thought Scratches weighed too much and that I'd had to cut his food way back.  The new vet said that Scratches had a much larger build than most cats so of course he was going to weigh more than the average cat.  I decided instantly that I liked this new vet!

My father always complained about Scratches.  My beautiful kitty liked to lounge around a LOT and in doing so, he left a lot of hair around the house.  My dad didn't like this and called the cat "lazy" because he slept so much. 

When I bought my house and took the cat with me, my dad sat me down more than once to discuss the cat.  He was sooooooooooo worried that the cat wouldn't settle in well because he'd been accustomed to living at his house for long.  He told me that I needed to just let the cat explore and do his thing and give him time to get used to his new surroundings.  Funny how he was suddenly so concerned when he had mostly just complained before!

So we move in to the new house and it does take some time for Scratches to get used to everything.  Mostly he liked to hide under an end table and spent most of the first month or so there.  Whenever I spoke to my father, he'd always ask about the cat.  He'd never admit to having any feelings towards Scratches, he'd just say the cat was a pain in the a$$ and that he didn't miss him. 

Shortly after we moved in, I had come home from work one evening and walked into what looked like a murder scene.  There was literally blood from one end of the house to the other.  I instantly called the vet and brought him in.  Turned out that he had another kidney infection.  One of many.  Scratches spent a few days at the vet's and I spent the next several weeks trying to get the blood out of my carpet.  Got most but not quite all of it out.  To this day, I still have a large area I could never get out.  One of these days I hope to replace the carpet. 

Scratches was fine and even got to the point for awhile that he just had an occassional vet visit beyond his yearly shots.  Then one day I noticed he hardly ate any food, he seemed listless and just not himself.  He'd also been throwing up.  Another vet visit was in order.  We went in and initially they thought maybe it was his kidney since that had been a recurring problem in the past so they gave him some meds and sent him home.  He didn't get better.  In fact, he just got worse.  Much worse.  Back to the vet and this time he spent 5 agonizingly long days there.  I honestly didn't think he was going to come back home!  I went to visit him one day before work and held him and cried.  I told him I loved him and that he was going to get better and to just hold on a little longer.  When I left, I was convinced I would be bringing him home in a body bag. 

He did get to come home but he never recovered.  The vet had run all kinds of tests on him but couldn't come up with anything conclusive.  The first day home he did seem better.  He wasn't himself but I didn't expect he would be since he'd been so sick.  I had to give him pills several times a day which wasn't a pleasant experience for either of us but I did it.  He just kept getting worse and worse.  By the end of that week, I knew it was time.

I called the vet and set up a time to come in.  No one else was there, just me, the vet, the vet's assistant and my sick kitty.  The vet told me they really couldn't do anything for him at that point but to try and make him comfortable.  If it was his cat, he'd put the animal down.  I didn't want to prolong the obvious pain so I agreed.  They asked if I wanted to stay in the room and I said yes.  They gave him a shot and he went quickly.  They wrapped him up in a blanket and put him in a bag and boxed him up.  Then I took him home and buried him in my back yard.  Well, actually my dad buried him.  I just stood there and cried and cried and cried.  My dad cried too. 

I took his collar off before the last vet visit and put it in my purse.  I carry it with me everywhere so that he is always with me. 

I had 13 long years with him and it wasn't enough.  I still miss him.

3 showed me some love:

Groomer Angie said...

Oh I am so sorry. I am going to have to do that tomorrow with my little 14 y/o Dachshund, it's time & I can't be selfish about wanting her here with me. My thoughts are with you dear.

Protege said...

Ah, what a beautiful tribute to your kitty...
We never forget any of our pets, they all hold a special place in our heart. Just like with kids.
Batcat sends you many hugs to ease the pain.
xoxo

Tiffany and the Munchkins said...

I'm so sorry about Scratches. I know just how hard it is to lose a pet as I am still dealing with my loss two years later. You took great care of him and he had a great life with you while he was here. I try to take comfort in the fact that Tiny no longer feels any pain although it is difficult. I hope that provides you with some solace. RIP Scratches.

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