We now return to Pet Trauma Week, already in progress.
My roommate's 13 year old cat, Jake, lived with us for a year or so before succumbing to kidney failure. That was probably 4 or 5 years ago now, and mostly what I remember of Jake was the desire to be held. It seems that when my roommate was little, he would sleep with Jake clenched to him like a little purring teddy bear, and he eventually came to enjoy being held tightly. He was a generally happy kitty, but never more so than when he was being held. It seemed to comfort him.
One day I noticed that Jake had peed all over a magazine I had on the floor in my bathroom, and I was understandably pretty upset about it. I mean, I hadn't yet found out whether Christina Aguilera prefers having sex with latin men or white men before the pages of my Rolling Stone were permanently sealed together with foul smelling yellow liquid -- and I had to clean it up. Later in the day, I noticed Jake heading off down the hall towards my bathroom (where his litter box was kept) and watched him just suddenly stop and lay down. After a few seconds he got up, took 2 more steps and stopped. It was then that I figured out what was going on: he was unable to climb into his litterbox any longer, and rather than choose the various articles of my clothing I had on the floor to relieve himself on, he picked the disposable thing. I felt really bad for being angry at him.
The rest of that evening was spent carrying him back and forth from the litterbox to the couch, where he would curl up with me watching a marathon of The Munsters on Nick at Nite until getting up needing to go again. I would follow him until he couldn't walk anymore, using his bearing as an indicator of where exactly it was he wanted to go, and then carrying him there. I ended up staying up all night with him, carrying him back and forth, with occasional trips to the food/water as needed. The next day I told my roommate about it all, and he ended up taking him on a permanent trip to the vet. Kidney failure does bad things to a kitty, rather quickly.
I was a bit more upset about Jake's death than I was The Cat, most likely because I participated in the last part of his final decline. While I wasn't technically there when he died, I spent a big chunk of his last hours with him while he was helpless, and the suffering of animals really bothers me. It was different with The Cat, because I learned of his death over the phone, and he was buried in the yard before I returned home. If it had been me that had found him dead by the road, or heaven forbid in need of death by the road, things would probably have been pretty different.
The author lives in Vancouver, Washington, USA with his girlfriend and a menagerie of cats, rats, fish, birds, guinea pigs and robots.
Among other inanities, he strives to use investigative techniques to work young starlet breasts into every aspect of rational discourse -- focusing on the discourse, thus making it not perverted. Also, has recently begun a career as "Internet hairstylist."
He can be contacted via email and Jabber IM at 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. He likes to be contacted.
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