Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Farewell to a friend

I had to say good-bye to a friend today. The first time I left this house behind was in April of 2006, and I had to leave some of my pets behind. Circumstances beyond my control prevented me from taking them with me then, but I thought it would only be a short time before we could be together in a new place, building on new dreams.

I recently returned to this house after 8 months to take care of my ex-husband after a hip replacement; and although I had very mixed feelings about coming back here, I was ecstatic to be with my cats and dogs again. I love taking care of them and having them around me and having them sleep with me is wonderful. Unfortunately, when I returned about 3 weeks ago, I noticed that Big Puss seemed to be having some trouble breathing and noticed that sometimes he would cough while purring.

I was worried about him, but he seemed to be eating and getting around all right so I hoped it was a slight cold that would get better. He didn't seem to be coughing as much; but in the last few days, I noticed that he hadn't been eating very much. I tried tempting him with yummy canned food, but he just sniffed it and walked away. I knew then that something was definitely not right. I made an appointment for him to be seen by my vet, Jeff, today.

Last night, while we were lying in bed together, Big Puss was in his usual place beside Cody. He loved sleeping next to Cody. I think he somehow found it comforting to be next to the big black dog that cleaned his ears like his mother. I was watching a movie when I felt a tug in my subconscious and had the feeling that he was asking me to look at him. I locked my eyes with his. He just stared into my heart, and I knew that we were saying good-bye. After a long glance, he got up and came to me and I snuggled him as much as he would allow before he resumed his spot next to Cody.

I took him to the vet this morning and received a phone call in the afternoon that said, "I'm sorry. . .there's not much hope. The x-rays show cancer spread throughout the lungs. . ." I was heartbroken even though I already knew we had said our good-byes. I wasn't ready to let go, but my Big Puss had lost 3 1/2 pounds since his last check up a couple of months ago. He didn't want to eat any more, and he had let me know it was time. But oh, it was so very hard.

He wasn't like any other cat I ever knew. He was so smart! He figured out how to open drawers to get the hair bands he liked to play with. He learned how, and then taught the other cats, to open the bi-fold closet doors by pushing them in the middle and then shoving them open at the end. He tried to turn the doorknobs to open the doors to the bedrooms. It's a good thing he didn't have opposable thumbs, or we would have been in real trouble. He came to live with me when he was only 5 weeks old and was a part of my life for 12 years. His passing marks the end of a generation. His brother, Little Puss, left us a few years ago. I lost his mother, Patches, two years ago to cancer in her throat, and now he is gone too.

I'll miss the heavy warmth of you lying on my side while I sleep, the gentle purring of your motor while you lull me to dreams, your happy cry when you see me home from work, your funny scampering to get in bed when you know it's time to say goodnight, as if I could close the door and leave you on the other side. I miss you so much already, my friend.

“This bridge will only take you halfway there, to those mysterious lands you long to see. Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fair, and moonlit woods where unicorns run free. So come and walk awhile with me and share the twisting trails and wonderous worlds Ive known. But this bridge will only take you halfway there. The last few steps you have to take alone.”

Shel Siverstein


Peg said...

Your words make me feel like I knew him. I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

I am sad to hear about Big Puss - my heart and tears are with you!

Knatolee said...

I am so sorry you have lost such a wonderful friend. I think cats are the most amazing creatures! You know we lost our Mashka-kitty last month, and I truly feel your pain. I hope they are both having a happy romp together in the catnip fields at RB. Here's to the wonderful cats we love, past and present

Genny said...

I hope they're romping together too. Big Puss loved other animals, so he'd be happy to find a friend to sleep and play with. Here's to our wonderful cats.