Thursday, July 23, 2009

Empty

Now that we're back from the vet and the pet crematory, I'm aware of a strange emptiness in the house. Keith is sitting in the dark, playing his guitar. I was here in my office, making a couple of phone calls, and noticing the emptiness.

Yes, we have other pets, whom I love dearly, but Scooter had been with us for 19 years. That's almost our entire married life.

He's not in here, sleeping on his mat on the floor. I don't hear him breathing or purring or yowling. I won't have to check under desks or dressers to make sure he's only sleeping and hasn't quietly hidden himself to die.

I've been thinking too about things I've learned from Scooter. He, Pixel and Brownie were the first cats I ever had. As Scooter aged drastically this past year, he became increasingly difficult to handle. He had ear problems and wouldn't let me near his ears. He could be extremely elusive and as wriggly as an eel when we cleaned and dressed his neck. He wasn't very used to me handling his paws, so clipping his thickened and grimy claws was an ordeal for all involved. What has this translated into? Well, much to their chagrin, I've been cleaning everyone elses' ears on a very regular basis. I'm wrestling them and trimming claws. I've wiped a kitty butt or two. I don't want to have another elderly cat that I'm scared to handle. Scooter wasn't used to being handled in such a manner, and I was very afraid that I would hurt him. By the time the next one reaches 18, he or she is going to be used to being handled in such a way. This way there won't be any hyperventilating that I'm daring to trim a claw. I won't get attacked for looking into an ear or even using a tissue to clean out some wax. Knowledge and wisdom are cumulative, but sometimes I really wish I could use a Vulcan mind meld and just learn it all the easy way.

I really want to thank everyone for their support through this long, drawn out process. Your support has been very helpful to me. Cancer is a horrible death for all involved, both patients and their families. It doesn't matter if the cancer patient is a relative or a pet, either way it's still tough. We've been through both types - family members with cancer and pets with cancer. Some are in remission while others passed away. All of it is painful.

One thing to take away from this is that every experience enriches our lives. Right now the pain is fresh, but what I'll remember are the good times. The times I was sick with fever, and Scooter slept on top of me for days. (Yes, I know. Cats love a feverish human being. It's their own personal heater.) Scooter who would come look at me with a glint in his eye before hopping beside me on the sofa, doing the "flop and roll" where he would end up with his belly in the air, waiting for me to rub it so he could wrestle with me. Scooter running wild eyed to the waterbed we once had with the upholstery platform. He would get on his back, pulling himself with his claws all around the bed. He and Keith would play for hours. Scooter attacking Brownie when he was young. Scooter attacking Grey because she followed him for too long. Taking Scooter to the vet, and having Dr. Hyatt ask me if I was feeding him hamburgers (Scoots liked to eat, and it showed). As the memories of today fade, those are what I'll remember.

7 comments:

Kyoko said...

Please accept my most sincere condolences. Cats with such age are extremely intelligent. I am certain that Scooter loved you very much and enjoyed every second of his life with you. I know how you feel about nail clipping. Wata is very much like that. I can only clip when he is in the deepest sleep. I never know how much he feels about his cancer. I will pray for him with my kitty cats tonight that he is now comfortable and that he will always be there for you.

Janice in GA said...

(((hugs)))

Kim said...

Big hugs. Huge.

Honib1 said...

and those are the best memories ever.. I am so proud of you that you are learning now.. what you need to know down the road.. and getting the kitties used to how things will be done... so it won't be a new experience for either you or the cats.. We are watching Bazzie at nearly 10.. start to approach more elderly issues.. his back legs are giving out on him more often.. he has a hard time getting up.. and he has developed two new tricks.. walking around while he poops and walking around while he tinkles.. maybe he thinks he is fertilizing.. I have no idea... Sometimes I see him and he is just standing in a room.. not doing anything but standing.. like he can not remember what he was going to do... i.e. dump the garbage can over... get a drink of water or lay down.. at those times I call his names.. he comes over for a good tickle behind the ears.. and almost looks at me gratefully.. as he lays down next to me.. I have forwarned Steve we will not let any of our four leggers suffer.. and if any prognosis are terminal we will keep them comfortable until its time to help them move on.. blessings to you my friend for loving and caring for Scooter and having the courage to let him go..something tells me however that somewhere down the line some little kitty is going to wander into your hearts and make a name for his or herself... and perhaps do things that remind you have Scooter too...

trh said...

Words escape me. I'm so sorry for your pain (and Keith's). Knowing how difficult this is, I can almost feel it with you. You know you gave that kitty (and so many others) the best life possible but it's still so darn hard to say goodbye. Take care and keep hugging the others . . .

The Chickengoddess said...

I am so sorry. But as tough as it is to let go, I'm glad you had Scooter in your life.

Beth said...

Eve, I'm so sorry for your loss. I know you and Keith and the other kitties are missing dear Scooter, and I feel your pain. Hugs to you. I'm keeping ya'll in my thoughts and prayers.