Two weeks ago, my 19 year old cat, Spats, died. Putting it that way sounds wrong to me, because I made the very difficult decision to take her to the vet to be euthanized. She had, over the past several months, gotten incredibly thin and stiff. She would sit down to try to scratch herself and fall over. She got herself stuck in corners-corners that contained nothing other than herself-and howled until I would come to find her.
I second-guessed my decision right up until we arrived at the vet's office. As we waited for the doctor to arrive, I took her out of the carrier and held her, and she just laid her head on my shoulder. I held her for fifteen minutes. Those of you who knew Spats know how unusual that is. When the vet tech held her down so that the doctor could administer the sedative, she didn't even try to bite. This is a cat who was notorious among the staff at the vet's office and who had a big red flag in her file, as she had taken a chunk out of more than one overconfident staff member. Her behavior that day confirmed that I had done the right thing. For her to have acted the way she did, she must have felt terrible.
Spats, in younger years.
I got Spats when I was thirteen years old. She had been part of my life longer than she hadn't. And while she was all kinds of irritating in the last few months of her life, I miss her. A lot.
I had a vague thought that I would get another cat at some indeterminate point in the future. My other cat, Alfie, while absolutely adorable is also a bit of a bully. He did not seem to notice nor care that Spats was gone, and he didn't show any signs of wanting to have a friend.
Alfie, being adorable.
Alfie, up close.
So, we were all set. I had half the number of litterboxes to clean, half the amount of cat food to buy, and a slightly smaller amount of cat hair to clean up. And then...I went home to my parents' house for the weekend.
Here is what you have to understand about my parents. They apparently have a beacon in their front yard inviting stray animals to come and stay for awhile. The last time my dad took one of their dogs to the vet, this was on the door of the exam room.
Their vet has a sense of humor...and possibly a new BMW.
At one point a few years ago, my parents had four dogs and three cats. They now have only two dogs and no cats, but they kind of have a reputation for having 1) a lot of animals and 2) a lot of animals with health problems. So it was pretty much par for the course that when I came up to visit there was a stray cat hanging out around their house. So, when I saw the cat, my parents had the following conversation:
Mom: Go upstairs and get a can of food for him.
Dad: Grumble, grumble, if we feed him we'll stay, etc.
Mom: Whatever. We only have cat food because you went and bought it after he showed up.
I am as big of a sucker as my parents, apparently. After a fairly costly vet visit (though not nearly as costly as it would have been if I had done it at home) let me introduce you to Schrödinger, who is going home with me tomorrow.
He absolutely refused to look at the camera for me.
As an aside, we knew last night that we were going to take him to the vet this morning-he has a fairly minor health issue and another issue that we thought was major but turns out to be a weird birth defect and not a problem at all-but we did not bring him into the house last night. This morning, after my mom called to make the vet appointment, I said "Well, we have to see if we can find him first."
My dad snorted and said "He's out there with his suitcase." There was a hilarious little hand motion that went with this, but I can't describe it with justice.
So, we are once again a two-cat household, although Alfie doesn't know that yet. I'm predicting high drama when he finds out.