Archive for the ‘pets’ Category.

The death of the football scotty dog rabbit cinderblock faux cat

About 8 years ago my mother’s friend, Mrs. Smith, died. Mr. Smith had died just a few months prior. My mother had known her for 30 years. She ended up adopting their cat, Kiwi.

Kiwi was 11 years old, black-and-white, and had no tail. She was a manx cat, and her tail was about 3/4″ long. She was also incredibly fat. So fat that we thought it couldn’t be fat, because it wasn’t flabby. It was tight. We thought maybe she was so muscular she looked fat. We took her for a checkup, but the vet said, “Oh no, that’s fat. She’s incredibly obese.”

She never acted like a cat. Her people had treated her like a dog, it seems. She moved like a combination of a scotty dog and a rabbit, and her fat tailless body looked like a cinderblock with a cat head stuck on the end.

She didn’t interact like a cat. She would waddle up to you and turn around, so you could pet her on her back. That’s it. No rubbing, no lap, just you petting her. You might as well pet the arm of the chair for all you got out of it. It was a one-way interaction for her.

But I felt sorry for her. It was all she knew. It’s how she was treated. And she never changed, never got more social.

She used to ride in an RV to the Smith’s ranch every weekend. For the longest time I thought the cat was from New Zealand, but it turned out the Smith’s just grew kiwi fruit on their ranch.

But she never gave up hoping when she went out the back door, that it would be her ranch. She never gave up hoping that her people would come back to pick her up.

3 1/2 years ago, my mother died. Kiwi was now my father’s charge, one more person removed from her real family.

Finally, a couple of months ago, we could see the end was coming. She got weaker and weaker. She was 18 or 19, I suppose, and started doddering around, peeing anywhere and even laying down in it. She wasn’t sick, just very, very elderly.

On Wednesday morning she didn’t get up. She just lay in her little green basket and slept.

On Friday morning, she was gone.

My wife put daisies on her grave.

The Elusive Buster pt. II

Yesterday I recounted how my fiancé’s little grey kitty went missing. I prayed very fervently for him to be returned to us. I put up hundreds of flyers, and talked to many people. We put out food and a trap.

The following Tuesday, Buster came home.

I got a phone call around 6:30am. It was my fiancé, and she just blurted, “Buster came home!” Stunned, I asked her to repeat it. Sure enough, he’d showed up at the door that morning.

I immediately hopped in the car and drove over. We put him in a cat-carry case and took him to my house, where he would live until after the wedding. No more chances of him getting out. At my house we don’t let cats out, period. The way Buster had gotten out could never happen at my house.

He was so thin. We took him to the vet, and he had lost about a third of his body weight. And he was only a little 9 pound cat to start with. My other cats are in the 15 – 17 pound range.

I was so thankful. I continued to pray, in thanksgiving. I mean, I hate to be the type of guy that asks for stuff, and then forgets all the humility and piety once I get what I wanted.

After that, no matter what happened, whatever problems we had with the wedding prep, with work, with school, with remodeling, at least Buster was safe.

As time goes on, you can’t help but take things for granted though. How often are you thankful that you can have a hot shower, instead of bathing in a dirty river? We get used to things.

But, knowing this, I tried to remember to be thankful. Every few weeks I’d remember our blessings, and say “Buster is safe. Whatever other problems we’re dealing with, Buster is safe.”

That was in June, 2006. In February, 2007, just two weeks after my latest “I’m so happy Buster came home” thought, I discovered a lump on his left calf.

The Elusive Buster

Only a few weeks before I was to be married, my fiancé’s cat, Buster, went missing.

He used to be allowed out all the time. After a date, when I took Firestar home, he would come running up the street from wherever he’d been. If we were still in the car, he’d leap up on the hood and put his little paws on the windshield. We called him The Spy. One time I opened the window and he just came inside the car to greet us.

But I worried about him, being out so much. There are so many dangers with letting your cat roam free. But he wasn’t my cat. I could only seek to persuade. Firestar tried keeping him in, but the problem was, her mother didn’t really care if he got out. And he wanted out. Having had his freedom, he wasn’t interested in safety.

But finally, after he got a shoulder injury, which required some minor surgery to patch up, Firestar started keeping him indoors all the time. Oh, her mother didn’t start caring, but The Wrath of Firestar is a formdible motivation to be a little more conscientious.

He still got out from time to time, but he was mostly indoors and safe. Until my fiancé’s mother left the garage door open. He didn’t come home that night. He didn’t come home the next night.

No problem, he’d been gone before. But as the days passed, we started to get more and more worried. I was quite busy with wedding preparations and home remodeling, so I’m afraid that as long as Firestar didn’t seem worried, I didn’t give it that much thought.

But when she started voicing her fears, I realized how long it had been. We filed a lost cat report at the humane society and started checking there every other day. We found one cat named Pepsi that looked so much like Buster that, for a minute, we thought it might be. But that was wishful thinking. We were seeing what we wanted to see. The illusion broken we could tell he didn’t look anything like Buster, really, apart from superficial physical characteristics.

We started asking the neighbors. One couple said they might have seen him a week previous. No one else saw anything.

I printed up some lost cat flyers and put them up on all the telephone polls around.

The next Saturday, I printed 300 flyers and placed one at every single house in the neighborhood. Our best hope was that someone thought he was homeless and took him in. After a few days of no real leads, I started to prepare myself that he was gone for good.

This was pretty devastating. It’s bad enough for a loved one to die, but not knowing is so much worse. And it was only a few weeks before our wedding. How were we supposed to enjoy a wedding and honeymoon while picturing little Buster dying under a house somewhere?

Firestar was very brave, but this was a terrible torment, on top of all the pre-wedding stress, finishing up school, trying to take care of her house, and me trying to get mine ready.

I prayed many times a day that Buster would be returned to us.