Today, for the fourth time in my life, I’ve had to “put down” my best friend. Three cats and a dog. Of the four, Tim came to me through my wife, being her cat, then our cat, but we all know he liked me best. Tim was always a biter or scratcher, and he did his fair share of those things to me over the decade or so I knew him, but he was always less likely to bite or scratch me. He and I bonded almost from the first day I met him. While others feared him, I look forward to our meetings. Tim was know for actually biting the hand that fed him, on occasion he did so while said hand was actually putting food down for him to eat. That was usually when someone was watching him for us when we were away on vacation.
I think I cemented my kinship with Tim, the night he caught a mouse in our house. He must have been toying with the poor creature for quite sometime, it was half drowned in cat spit! Around midnight or so, he decided to bring the mouse into our bedroom and play let’s bat the mouse from one side of the room to the other, and back again. To wit, the dog feared for her life and promptly jumped into our bed, which was loads of fun as it was a waterbed at the time! The wife took one look at the poor mouse and told me I had to “do something about it”, and I figured Tim was doing and okay job all on his won, but alas, the dog would not leave the bed until Tim and the half dead mouse where gone.
So I trudged out and grabbed my competition air pistol. It’s a single shot bolt action pistol, and I only had soft lead target wadcutters. When Tim saw me coming over to his panting, mostly dead mouse, he stepped back and sat down like, “okay let’s see what you can do.” You should have seen his eyes, when I reached out, pointed at his mouse and killed it. From that point forward, I was his buddy.
Last summer, when I was going through chemotherapy, Tim was my nurse cat. Half of my Chemo was while my wife was still living in Maine and I was stuck in New York, along, save Tim. The little black cat would remind me to nap, when to eat and to sit in sunbeams whenever possible. Today, Tim was diagnosed with a malignant tumor under his tongue, and it had ulcerated, and so it was inoperable. The only passionate thing to do was to let him go. It was hard, but I truly believe it was the only choice left to us.
The other three animals I’ve had to put down, where easier, if only because they where all visibly in pain or near the end. The cats where 17 (Sam) and 18 (Tigger) years old, while poor old Wingnut was only 10 (but with nearly two lungs completely full of tumors); and they’re deaths hurt just as much as Tim’s does today.
I predict there will be more cats in my future, but today I lost a little friend wrapped in soft fluffy cat fur.