Monday, June 11, 2007

My Week of Hell: Part 1 - Sorrow...

Forgive me, bloggers, for I have sinned. It's been two weeks since my last real blog…

For the last two weeks I feel like I've been trapped in an updated, Midwestern version of a bad Country/Western song. There has been a laundry list of woes, ranging from minor annoyance to true sorrow, that I honestly should have written about so as to reflect on them for deeper meaning later, however time and circumstances forbade such documenting. I'm going to try and go through the ones I can remember now, but I'm sure I'll leave a few out either due to memory lapses (getting old sucks) or privacy and decorum. The first will likely take up an entire blog. I'll get to the rest later.

Under the category of true sorrow, my wonderful cat and ever-vigilant friend for the past 15 years, my cat Tassie, was laid to rest last week.

Tassie Cat

She had been fighting a urinary tract infection since about January. She had increasing instances of incontinence and would 'leak' wherever she laid down for more than a few minutes. She began to smell constantly and required regular baths, which she wasn't fond of, but patiently tolerated. She couldn't sit or lie down comfortably, could barely walk, and was in extreme pain by the end. After several trips to the vet and 4 runs of antibiotics of increasing strength over the past several months, it had gotten so bad that she was actually infested with (hold down your lunch here) maggots.

Euthanasia is never a decision I have been able to come to lightly, as it shouldn't, but the thought of her suffering any longer just to placate my own emotional weakness was excruciating. I would have been able to tolerate the smelly house and constant cleaning (which Sonya, bless her heart, usually did while I worked my 2 jobs), if she had any prospect of recovering or showed no signs of pain.

Christmas 04 (4)

She has always been there for me in the worst of times to snuggle with me, offer a soothing loud purr, and soft fur to pet and center me. I recall when I spent a few months with my dad in Jersey after high school, she would scratch at my door every night as I went to bed, demanding entrance. I'd open the door, and she'd dart past me and hop on the bed. I would climb in and she would get up, burrow under the sheets and re-emerge, placing her head on the pillow next to me, purring with the ferocity of a 72 Mustang.

She had big, soulful eyes and youthful face and demeanor that always cheered me up. She was a precocious and wily kitten, and an elegant and matronly adult, and absolutely wonderful with my children. She would never let anyone sleep alone if they were blue, angry, or otherwise distraught. My kids would always request her to be in the room at bedtime, and she would almost always oblige.

Tassie & Courtney

She became the adoptive mother/grandmother to our other two cats, Praxis & Lil' Bit (mother and daughter) and assisted in childcare duties when they each had their litters. They, while being obnoxious young upstarts, still always treated her with the proper love and respect she provided them and was owed herself, always moving out of the way as she approached the food and/or water dishes, preening and cleaning each other, and snuggling in comfy spots with her.

She was generous to a fault, frequently trying to help provide for the family by bringing home "meals" of small birds, rodents, and large insects of all kinds, frequently standing proudly next to her offerings as if to say, "Take a rest, my friend. I'll take care of dinner tonight."

She was always loving, never mean or moody, and melted the hearts of anyone she approached, which inevitably started with the most allergic. She wasn't exactly a lap cat, opting to lie down next to people and be petted on what seemed to be her own terms, maintaining that regal air of feline indifference, yet offering social and loving interaction by eagerly responding when summoned.

Tassie was the epitome of a loving cat, while keeping a modicum of her stereotypical aloofness. She was, in my opinion, the perfect pet: low maintenance, loving, and loyal.

I will miss her dearly and can't imagine her being replaced by anyone – human or beast.

God speed, Tassie. I'll see you someday and miss you every second until then.

Coming up next: "The Remainder of My Week of Hell: Things Can Only Get Better"

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