Goodbye...


After R's funeral, as soon as everyone left, I packed up EVILBOY and we went and picked out a kitten. A kitten was something that R. absolutely refused.  Usually when he put his foot down about something, I was able to sway him.  Painting our living room purple and not naming our son Abdul Jabbar (even though I agreed he could name him if he was a boy) are just a couple of examples of his admirable compromising abilities.

I wouldn't say getting a kitten was a rebellion.  It was more of a distraction to me.  For the first time ever I was alone. I needed something cute and fuzzy to take my mind off of my broken heart.

It worked for a while, until I realized that cat was the devil and he had to go.  Soon after other kittens came and went - all leaving our home for some reason or another.  Too mean/dirty, too bitey and in one case he just liked our neighbours a lot better and he moved in with them.  It's not something I'm proud of. If my mind had been in a better place, I could probably have worked harder to make them fit into our family, but in the end they all found better homes.

After our last kitten hated us and ran away to live with our neighbours, I realized that I probably am not the greatest at pet ownership. I was totally okay with it by then because my brother moved in with us and I felt not so alone anymore. Eventually he ran away too (like the cat) and that awful lonely feeling crept back in.

I browsed the shelter one day and fell in love with a five month old kitten.  Of course I fell in love with a kitten, who doesn't fall in love with kittens?  Even though I was afraid to give cat ownership another try, there was something about this little guy with his huge green eyes, that pulled me in.  He needed a home, I needed a distraction.  It was a perfect match.

But I left him there. I doubted myself and I left him there for someone else to adopt.

I couldn't stop thinking about him.  This poor little kitten - just five months old - not knowing what it is like to be a part of a family. I had no idea of how he got there, but at only five months old and living in a cage, something had to have went wrong for him.

The next day I went back and signed on to have Bingo join our family.  The shelter had named him Bingo and for some strange reason I never even thought to change his name.  Looking back, now I wish I had given him a cooler name like Darryl or Edward Scissorclaws or something - but for the most part, Bingo just worked.



We brought him home from the shelter a couple days later.  I thought there was something seriously wrong with him.  He just kept following us around and meowing constantly.  I thought maybe he was hungry or thirsty but he had food and water, his litter was clean...he just wouldn't shut up. It went on for days and to be honest, I was just about ready to give up.  I thought he hated us and he wanted to go back to his cage.  As it turns out, he just had a lot to say because eventually he calmed down and became a much less annoying member of the family.

He became a constant companion. If you laid your head down, Bingo was right there to chew on your hair or purr loudly in your ear.  He was also the most cleanest cat I have ever encountered.  If food was spilled out of his dish, he would sweep it with his paw into a little pile. He was a bit OCD. We got along very well.



He fit in so well with our little family. I can't remember a single time that he ever caused me any grief.  He always used the litter box, never scratched on furniture and was generally a pretty nice little guy.  

 Although there had been times when he would try to steal food or jump in your seat as soon as you got up. Other than that, he was the perfect kitty.

 

  



He had the greatest life full of chewing on our hair, sleeping on our pillows and licking the wall.


Until one day he got sick.  I had to use the money for my cable bill to pay for a vet - who told me absolutely nothing other than if I spent $150 more I could get a blood test so we would know what was going on with him.  I decided not to get the blood test, simply because I was broke.  If I had the blood test and something did come back abnormal, that extra $150 would already be dipping into our grocery money and then some.  It was hopeless.  I opted instead to get some antibiotics.


I spent the next 14 days squirting salmon-flavoured goo down his throat with a syringe.  He hated me so much when I came near him with the medical syringe. He would spit it back out at me. It took a while but I finally perfected cat medicine administration...on the 13th day.

Then something incredible happened -  he threw up thread.  A whole bunch of thread. Thread that I had to pull out of his throat while he was throwing up on my hand.  He had to have known I loved him by the fact that I let him throw up on my hand while pulling a ball of string out of his throat. 

I knew then that this was the problem. He ate thread.  I phoned the vet back who told me he could beat this on his own but if not he would have to have a $1200 surgery.  I felt absolutely awful.  I tried to think of ways to come up with $1200 just in case it came down to surgery, but I quickly ran out of hope.



 Then he got better.  He was eating and drinking and greeting us at the door again. He was playing and fighting with his "sister".  He was back to chewing hair and licking walls.  Life was good again. The rest of the string came out naturally (that's all I'm going to say about that).

He had lost so much weight though. His fur was not as shiny anymore and his eyes were not as bright as they used to be.  Even though he was better, I still had a feeling he wasn't out of the woods quite yet. I started to feel lumps under his skin in his neck and the back of his head.  His weight was not bouncing back (he was always a little hefty so this worried me the most).

About a month later, just as I thought this whole nightmare was over, he stopped eating again.  Even the smell of hard cat food made him gag.  I found out the only way to get him to eat was to offer him wet cat food...doused in warm water to heat it up and mushed up with a fork.  Then when he was done he frantically swept around the dish until I picked it up off the ground and put it away. I figured he was just being picky.



The last picture ever taken of Bingo.  This was a few days before he died.
I decided to put him down on September 20.  It was not an easy decision at all.  I knew this was beyond anything I could handle financially.  There are agencies that can help - however they all are focused on helping people who are on social assistance. The lumps were growing, his liver function was down (he had jaundice) and I could tell he was in pain. My biggest fear was coming home with EVILBOY and finding that he had died all alone. I knew it was going to happen - it was inevitable at this point.  

He died on a Friday. In a room with me and people he had never seen before. I'm still not sure it was the right thing to do. I feel like a complete failure. He shouldn't have gotten sick. He ate thread that I had on my desk, I should have put it away. I'm not even sure if that was what made him sick.  It's still too hard to think of all the good memories because all I keep thinking about is everything I should have tried. Things I could have sold to come up with money for vet bills.  In the end I just feel like we ran out of time. I got too comfortable with the idea of him getting better that when he became sick again I was in disbelief.

I told EVILBOY when I picked him up from school.  I did it in the worst way possible - while bawling my face off.  I'm never really sure how to approach death with him -  I mean, it's a hard subject for any child, but to one who lost his father and still doesn't completely understand death it makes things a little more complicated. I had to tell him his best friend died and listen to him wail in the back seat of my car.

I've been told it was the right thing to do. I've been told I shouldn't have had a pet in the first place since we are a low income family.  All I really know is that Bingo was loved as a part of our family. I couldn't afford the expensive gluten-free organic cat food, his litter was only about 80% dust-free, but he was loved.

Looking back, I think my biggest mistake was not getting pet insurance. If he had been insured, he could have had the blood test they suggested and any follow-up treatment. We have another cat who we rescued from a trash can who is currently being signed up for pet insurance because I have decided we are never going through this again.  I'm not a strong enough person to say goodbye to a family member like that.

I can't re-read this post, so if it doesn't make any sort of sense than I appreciate your attempts to comprehend my post-midnight sorrow (I will schedule this to post in the morning though in case I change my mind).  It's so easy to say "he was just a cat" but he was so much more than that. He taught me that it's okay to be alone and proper floor sweeping techniques.  He taught me to use that Head and Shoulders shampoo more often because he loved the smell of it when he chewed on my hair. He also taught me that you should never rescue cats from dumpsters because generally they turn out to be assholes. The good cats come from pet shelters. I should have listened to him on that one - would have saved me from getting peed on in my sleep - twice.

We will remember Bingo forever - as being the best cat in the whole wide world.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hello..this is my blog. I bought this fancy theme and I don't know what to write here just yet. Maybe one day remind me I have to write something inspiring here?

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