Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thinking About Rescue and Adoption.

I sort of have said all this in the beginning of the blog but many of my rescue friends have been telling their stories of ill cats and I think a lot of what came to be my experience with how wonderful bringing a pet into your life is why the Dude being sick makes me think about The Kid (his namesake).

My first very own cat, the ORIGINAL Kid, and The Dude were neither officially adopted. The two loves of my life were little unwanted micro life forms that nobody wanted.

No humans that is.

THE Kid was brought into Bel Ray Institute in Denver in a pregnant Siamese mom whose life was ending. The litter was born but the mother was lost. My best girlfriend was studying to be a vet tech at the time. Perhaps I will have to credit (blame???) Barbara for all this rescue work I do. Her obsessive love of animals somehow found me driving across town with a shoebox full of litter and an oozy-eyed egg-sized life form that looked like it had black chicken pluckings glued on it. He was NOT a pretty sight. As we drove, I remember the FIRST amazing Siamese YOWL that nearly drove me off the road! Tiny body, but a full-throated wail that nearly burst my ears!

I was neither mother, nor cat material.

I honestly was saying "No" as it was put in my car as I left her house. On arrival home, the boyfriend was thrilled. His cat Feather, was the first cat I had ever really known to love.

She was a tripod. I also found through her, that indoor cats made less allergies! So in spite of nearly ALWAYS having one reddened nostril from a sniffle, I learned how wonderful living with a cat could be.

FEATHER was not happy. She had been a mother and was not up to any more kids, much less one that oozed!

Kid was amazingly small, but housebroken. His eyes needed a lot of ointment and we watched him carefully. At night we locked him in the bathroom. I am laughing as I type!!! I just remembered that my apartment was a second story in the great Washington Park part of Denver. The floor under the toilet had LITERALLY rotted a bit. There were gaping holes and we stuffed towels in them for fear he would fall through! His isolation at first was trying to be good cat parents. Feather began punishing us from the first. For what seemed like weeks, if he was around, she was missing.

Feather was a three-footed purr machine. She was a graceful and elegant silver tabby with bright green eyes. She was so beautiful, that new guests regularly would GASP outloud hours into the evening when they realized she was missing a back leg - an injury from her wild days in wild lands.

That kitty breath in my face with the kneading on my chest. Wow, the sensation is actually overwhelming now. She was a beautiful spirit.

So....she ignored us and him.... and then one day, in the irrepressible KID-ness of him, he was playing, she was ignoring and he would do his paws up "BIG CAT" thing, and topple to one side and try hard to engage her. She just glowered, then quite suddenly slapped a paw atop his shoulder blades while he was down and began grooming him, as if she had had quite enough of this sloppy little urchin.

So they became fused. She would take on the Border Collie that lived with us a while if he so much as wagged a tail in the Kid's direction. The maternal instinct just took over.

I read online of a real brain damage that I know he had. His twin sister literally had to be put down for her aggressive behavior. All the wicked that ended in her was drained from him. I even remember him purring when we had him put to sleep 18years later. In fear or in love, he would purr.

We knew he was different when after he lived (the name "the Kid" was because we didn't think he had the stamina and he was so ill that we figured if we didn't give him a name, we wouldn't miss him so much if he didn't make it) people commented on his odd walk. He sort of always kicked his back legs behind him as if he had a piece of tape on each foot.
Upon one of my friend's comment on the odd walk, I indignantly replied "He is no funnier than FEATHER!" and realized that she walked pretty funny herself!

Not only the odd gate, but he used to stick to the rug.

When he got over excited, his claws would sort of automatically grab and often he would forget to let go and trip himself on the floor. He used to leap up and run into the other room and miss.... hit the door and try again. He never needed catnip. And oddly I think it never did anything to him.

We got rid of our TV for two years and I honestly never missed it. I watched him approach life every day with excitement and kitty joy!

Once, I was walking around the house coming home from work and heard his howl. When I looked up, there he was. Having just learned to hop into window sills, he apparently thought it might be fun to climb the screen. Up in my window was a very crucified looking Kiddie, stuck - as was his habit, from fear - to the screen. I was laughing so hard when I in the apartment, I believe I may have offended him.

Through a couple more relationships and moves to two other states, I retained the "children" and when Feather finally died of congestive heart failure, I thought her purr would never be replaced. We did get another cat who was much happier outside. Kiddie and I got tighter and tighter.

He woke up my present beau in the night leaping into the tub and missing! He would sleep on my face which made the new relationship a LITTLE tricky, but KID was going to win, and if the boyfriend didn't like it he was gone.

The Kid lived to be 18. I used to say, if he were human, he would have graduated from high school. . . if he had made it through kindergarten! He had small tumors and finally one in his head.

The vet was so wonderful.

When we knew it was terminal, the vet said his quality of life would be fine. I would know when the right time came.

Kiddie began backing up, as if he had a headache about a week before I was due to go out of town. I had a sitter arranged but was torn up over what the definition of "misery" would be. Dr. Saltero said, "Why should he even have to BE miserable?"

I petted him and sat as his loud and fearful purring stopped.

I really love the sense that his WHOLE life was of giving and getting love. Even at the end.

so. . .

THE DUDE was assumed to be his spirit returned. His INDEPENDENCE is a whole other lesson.

Thanks for listening. The vet's office should be calling soon, but I fear the absence of fur in my face is stirring up allergies, because I seem to have runny eyes!!!


  1. That brought tears. Thanks for sharing. We just recently put our sweet orange tabby down for the same thing. It was not a good experience for us.

  2. Cindy! I have got to get a life! I can't be sitting around making all my friends cry all the time! Dude will be home on Saturday and I really hope it makes me more normal.
    To our furry kids!