Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rothko Requiem

This post had to be done, because Rothko was a very special kitty. He died over Thanksgiving weekend, and though we knew he wouldn't live to a ripe old age, he left too soon. He made it to his second birthday, at least, which was something of a miracle in itself. He had been doing so well, we had gotten his blood count up to 30 from the 9 it had been at. When he did pass away, it was very fast, which is all we could have hoped for.

It was the week after the hottest week in the summer that we found out about Grunty's anemia. The previous picture is him looking out at the tent Andy and I stayed in on the hottest nights, when we left our apartment on the hundred-degree days and went to the house by the lake where Andy's folks live, where it was cooler. Rothko is now buried in the backyard there, where he loved watching the birds from the window, chattering at them to hop into his mouth.

Taking Rothko to the vet to check his blood count and keep an eye on him was never a chore. He loved riding in the Mini Cooper, and didn't mind his cat carrier as long as he could see us, which is why it was one with mesh sides. At the vet office he would cling to us, or sit patiently in his carrier. Such a good boy

For about the first month and a half of his anemia, he developed some quirky habits. He could be found in strange places, hiding in kitchen cupboards or on the coat rack by the front door, he even laid on top of the stove a few times. I hate to anthropomorphize, but I think he was coming to terms with what was going on. One of the oddest habits was the wall-licking. For a while, every time he had a meal he would follow it by a trip to the brick wall. Eat... then wall.

Wall-licking aside, he eventually stopped hiding in strange places and things got back to normal. He came back to us, stayed on our bed at night and became friendly again. Well, as friendly as he ever got.

Then, on Saturday after Thanksgiving, Grunty's body gave up on him. It was so fast that by the time we felt we should bring him to the vet to be euthanized, he wouldn't let us move him, yowling when we did. He didn't like it when either of us left the room, we had him laying on towels on our bed and played music (his favorite-Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" album) to keep him calm as his breathing became more and more difficult. We were there with him, petting and encouraging him, and he fought til the end. He didn't want to go, but his body just couldn't do it anymore.

It's something that made me think that I could maybe never have a creature again. Immediately everyone seemed to be asking, "when are you getting another cat?" I thought maybe after a year, maybe two. But even though Grunty is gone, and there's a Grunty-shaped hole in our lives, I feel like he's made me and Andy more open to things like love and life, and a compassion I've never known before.

So we've gotten to a point much sooner than I thought where we're looking to adopt kitties. It's much faster than I thought, but it is so. very. quiet. And the best way to remember him, it seems, is to help another cat (or cats) that needs a home.

There is no replacement for Grunty. He was one in infinity, and I'm glad we picked out his little pink nose from the bunch. Such a good boy. Good boy, Grunty. Good boy.