Friday, November 18, 2011

Goodbye to an Old Friend.

Since my wife and I married seventeen years ago, we've lived in no less nine addresses including our first apartment in 1994. In 1997 we got two kittens, Misty and Snowflake. Misty had to be put down in 2009 due to health issues, so for the past two years we've had one cat; a white domestic shorthair we aptly named Snowflake. He had amber eyes, and was the most personable, outgoing and laid back feline I've had the pleasure of meeting. Even at nearly fifteen years old, 105 in cat years, he was in remarkable health. He played, got on the bed and bugged us in the morning. He always nipped and never licked, and never meowed until his health started to wane a bit.

Snowflake, spent more time hiding, sleeping and kicking back and a lot less time eating as shown by his food dish. We didn't put two and two together until last evening, when he really started acting lethargic. Even when I picked him up and put him on my lap, he never struggled or tried to get up. Even when I tried moving him off, he was a dead weight (no pun intended). As the evening wore on, he closed his eyes more and he started to drool. Trying to rouse him showed that his coordination was completely off and touching his side brought a pitiful protest.

To make matters worse, trying to find a vet at this hour, either to euthanize or save the life of our cat was equally daunting. One vet wanted $70 to put him down and another $65 to "dispose" of the body. This is twice the price of a local one in Grand Ledge, but they weren't open.

Snowflake's condition was going south fast, making this point moot. I put him in a tote, lid off with a blanket inside and he barely moved. His breathing at this point shallow and it was 11 last night. I went to bed at 12:30 this morning and by 1:00 my wife woke me up. Snowflake was gone.

Not only was he gone, but all those days of climbing on the refrigerator to greet us as we came home. No more walking along the bathtub and falling in, with a very soaked cat darting out and his owner scrabbling to dry him. We've had to close the bedroom door for nearly as long because my wife complained that he would share her pillow. He was a constant companion while I wrote this and and nearly 200 other blog posts, and countless term papers. He greeted everyone with an attitude of friendliness and the air of a perfect host. He loved and was loved by every young child who graced our home. So much so he would hide by me when they got too overbearing. Even a gracious host has his limits. When Kingston and Jose came to stay with us, Snowflake, still the gracious one showed kindness to them too. He adopted them as surely as my wife and I did.

Snowflake was an animal and this writer could never equate an animal with another human being. But this one was a part of the family and will forever be. Our boys want a dog or another cat. My wife isn't really in the mood for another animal at this point. I think with time she'll change her mind. All in good time.

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