Thursday, April 22, 2010
It was nearly ten years ago when I walked into the Criminal District Clerk's Office to deliver some papers for filing when I ran into the feline love of my life. It was my birthday and on the clerk's desk (we live in a small town in a small county) was an orange striped tabby kitten, playing with the plant on the corner. It was love at first sight.
I asked the clerk if she was giving him away and she said she'd brought him up for one of the bailiff's to give to his wife. I asked if she had more like him and she said she'd bring one up the next day. I told her it was my birthday present to myself. Later that day she called down to my desk in the filing area of the DAs office where I worked and said that the bailiff's wife was a no go and could I take the kitten home with me that night. I gave her an enthusiastic yes and went and grabbed the kitten and carrier and brought him to my desk. I took him home where our one year old German Shepherd took him under her wing.
I don't think Rex realized he was a cat until I got my next birthday cat, Mika, five years later.
About 6 weeks ago, Rex went from being a Garfield joke in the family, to looking like a junkie. he couldn't keep anything down, but we attributed it to hairballs. It's Spring, it's what cats do in the Spring. After he could eat, he just couldn't get the weight back. And then he finally collapsed. I had to admit he was very, very ill and I rushed him to the vet. That was a week ago today. I waited for news, I called the vet relentlessly, and when I spoke with her on Tuesday she said he wasn't really any better, but she was still doing testing. She was not entirely sure that he had diabetes after all, but they couldn't tell until he was able to eat something. She was going to check for uncommon parasites. She never called me back so I sent my husband over today when I was hung up on twice when I called this morning. No, they didn't just hang up on me, they just never took me off hold.
My husband got home 30 minutes ago and told me that he died last night. The vet was up with him until 11 PM and knew he wouldn't last the night. Being that we're long time patients of hers with many pets, she wanted to call us tonight and break the news. I went into the shower and cried. My husband would have held me, but he never really liked the cat, so I could not force that kind of hypocrisy on him. he is outside now digging the little grave where I will plant my new Angel Face roses over him.
Rex was very much my cat. He was known for sleeping right on top of me, no matter what. In recent years he and my husband had come to loggerheads over who owned me and as a result, last winter, Rex was denied entry into our bed. It's a petty slight that will be hard for me to forgive and forget. He was just a big, dumb cat who loved me and you can't get mad at him for that.
So, I hope Rex is up in Kitty heaven rolling in catnip a yard deep and chasing geckos all over. I am going to miss him greatly and I seriously doubt I ever get another cat. Mika has already taken it in her stride, enjoying eating everything now that she doesn't have to defer to the bigger male cat. I was the only one who really, truly loved him. I hate that the last time I saw him he was so ill he didn't even know I was there.
I guess Earth Day was a good day for this to happen. We have so many Eco-freaks running around trying to tell us that we should just off ourselves because we're so bad. PETA telling us we shouldn't have pets. Well, PETA, let me tell you this. We domesticated the dog for our mutual benefit. Cats were domesticated because they chose to be fed rather than compete with other cats for food. If we suddenly stopped taking care of them, very few would survive because they simply have no instinct now for survival. We immunize them, neuter them, feed them, keep them healthy so they live happy, productive lives among us. They are happy, we are happy, it's a win/win situation.
If you can't handle happy, how about you off yourselves. I think the earth would be a bit happier being fed by your worms.
Rex is happy and rolling in it now. But I will miss him terribly.