Tuesday, May 1, 2007

In Memory of a Moosh

This one's not going to be writing-related. I had so many subjects to talk about but no time over the last couple of weeks, but now that I have time to post again all I can think about is the absence of my beloved cat.

Her name was Ciramos, pronounced tseer-a-moosh. It is Hungarian for many colours. I always called her The Moosh. Simpler to say. And funnier. The Moosh was my wife Violet's cat, and when we put her down she was 20 years old. For a cat, that's really good. Violet grew up with her, and when we started dating I was introduced to the grumbly ball of fur. I was told she didn't show much affection, so I amazed Violet and her sister by getting her to lick my hand. In the last couple of weeks, I'd got her to lick my nose and face. The Moosh didn't like most strangers, but she took to me very nicely.

In return, I taught her to beg at the dinner table. "Oh no," Violet told me. "She's not interested in people food. Never has been." "Let's just see what she'll do," I replied, holding a piece of chicken in front of The Moosh's face. She gobbled it up, and I gave her another. This one I held just above her head, to see if she'd go for it. She did, standing on her hind legs and snatching it from me. Lately, every time Violet and I sit down for dinner, The Moosh would join us and stare up at us expectantly. Yep, I created a monster, all right.

When Violet and I married, The Moosh stayed with her mother. I would look forward to every visit not only for Violet's mom's great cooking, but also for a chance to see the cat. Then Violet's mom decided she couldn't take care of the cat any longer, and would we be interested? Thus it was that one year ago, The Moosh moved in with us.

She wasn't always our favourite cat. For some reason, The Moosh decided she only wanted to be fed at three times in the day: midnight, 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM. This, as you can well imagine, did not always sit well with us. Also, as arthritis took hold of her back legs, she could no longer crouch down in the litter box, so she'd leave some disgustingly smelly surprises for us on the floor. She couldn't wipe herself, either, and did not appreciate it one bit when I did that for her.

In the fall of 2006 she was diagnosed with kidney failure. She was prescribed pills, a special potassium-rich goop, and prescription food. None of which she liked. Getting her to eat anything became quite the chore. Also, with the continued deterioration of her back legs, she could no longer jump up on the bed. This was a problem, because her favourite sleeping spot was the lower-left corner of the bed, and no other spot would do. From then on, she needed a boost. That became part of the early morning feedings - plunk down food, wait for her to finish, then escort her back to the bedroom and boost her onto the bed. This was the way it had to be; The Moosh would settle for nothing less from her humans.

Yesterday morning, the cat did not want to move at all. This wasn't that much different from her normal daily routine, so Violet and I didn't become concerned until she wet herself on the bed. We tried standing her up, but she collapsed back down. She was simply in too much pain to move. We rushed her to the vet and were given some options, none of which were cheap. Violet and I decided that, even if they could 'fix' her, the quality of her life would no longer be any fun. We made the decision to end her life; as the vet injected the euthanol, I felt her go limp in my hands. Her eyes stayed open; Violet couldn't stand to look at them. The eyes didn't bother me nearly as much as the lifelessness in her upper body where I held her. Violet and I said our goodbyes, and cried for the family member no longer with us.

When we got home, I silently emptied the litter box and food dishes. I called Violet's mother, who assured us we'd done the right thing. While Violet called her sister, I had a chance to reflect on my current circumstances. I've complained in past posts about my lack of employment, but if I'd had a job I would not have been there to help Violet take The Moosh to the vet. Nor would I have been there to support Violet when we got home. Some things do happen for a reason.

Now we begin our life without her. Yesterday I thought for sure I heard her walking up behind me while I was eating dinner (it was beef stew, not something The Moosh would ignore). Each time I look into the bedroom, I expect to see her curled up and passed out on her favourite spot. Last night I slept with no interruptions, no wake-up calls. It's an adjustment; today my wife is at work, and I'm here all alone. I miss her, and wish I could pet her one more time, or feed her one last tidbit from my plate. She was a grumbly girl, but I'm pretty sure she was happy. I know for certain that she was loved.

Sorry for such a downer of a post (and a long one, too). I just wanted to get my thoughts and feelings out, express it in the way I do best. Thank you for reading.

- Timothy Carter


Bill Cokas said...

So sorry to hear of your loss, Timothy. I shared about my recent loss in my blog last month--a disturbing trend, it seems. All I can say is it gets easier, but the more time you spend at home, the more you'll miss her--that comes directly from my wife, whom it hit the hardest. Just know that she's out of pain and sleeping at the foot of someone's cloud.

Jewel said...

I know this comment comes some time after your loss of The Moosh, but I do understand, Timothy. Our cat, Ellie, may be snooty at times but do we ever love her. So much so, that we hesitate to go away overnight and when we do, we call and leave messages for her on the answering service. We have it bad, hm? *grin* We lost our family dog a couple of years ago. We had her for approx. 13 years. It was a terrible loss. I understand so much how you feel in grieving for the Moosh. Your post was beautiful.