I lost my cat, Treasure, this week.
I have wanted to write about him for days, but, every time I put pen to paper, I just couldn’t do it.
Now, I feel I owe it to him, for he meant so much to me.
Having no kids, and being an avowed animal lover, I feel that my pets (2 dogs, and now 3 cats), have sort of filled a void where a child would exist. And though I am sure if I were to have a child, I would feel a much deeper sense of caring and selflessness, but I don’t, so I devote my affection toward them.
The bond between a beloved pet and its owner is quite amazing. Some people don’t care for it. Others use it for evil purposes, but the majority of pet owners take them in out of a profound sense of caring, a sharing of one’s self to the welfare and affection of another creature.
Treasure, or Trezz for short, was 17 years old. He was a Siamese, cats known for their vocal tendencies, and he was no exception. I would be on the phone, and people would think I had a crying child in the house. In his years leading up to the end of his life, he made himself known to all. Meowing at nothing, or meowing for something, no matter which, it added to his very distinct personality.
He had terrible cataracts for years, ones which the vets said would come back within months if we had them removed. We decided not to put him through the trauma of endless operations. He didn’t seem to mind. For many of his last years, he was virtually blind, seeing only faint shadows, and the difference between light and dark.
What was absolutely stunning to me was his agility and ability to navigate around our houses. He had a sixth sense about space, knowing exactly where to go, where to jump, where obstacles were.
He also had a penchant for placing himself in the most inopportune places. In front of the computer screen, draping himself over my head when I would lay down, sitting on my notepads. But, I would just sigh, shake my head, and keep moving him as he would always find his way back to the same spot.
It was over the past six months that he had noticeably started having problems.
He was getting skinny. His head was always hanging low, which we found was due to a potassium deficiency. We had a myriad of tests done. The main problem showing he had kidney disease.
We did everything we could. He required special food. I had to give him a potassium supplement gel twice a day. And we had to give him an IV drip every night, which supplemented his nutritional deficiencies.
Remarkably, he bounced back. His zeal for exploration returned, as did his vocal tendencies.
We had a little gate separating the cats from the dogs. He came to despise this. And to our surprise, we would wake up, finding him sprawled out on the couch. I caught him in the act of his escape a few times. This old, blind, persistent cat climbing over the gate, head propped up over the top.
Our fear of a cat/dog war quickly vanished when one day, our shepard/greyhound mix Trooper decided to check him out, and Treasure, this 17 year old, blind, 6 pound cat, chased him around the house, terrifying Trooper. From that day on, Treasure had run of the house.
He loved to curl up in your lap. Or I would be asleep and wake up to find him sitting on my chest. He would sneak his way into your lap. Inch by inch, nudging his way past your arms, slowly pushing a book out of the way. And before you knew it, he’d be curled up, tail wrapped around him, purring contently. I’d just shake my head and smile.
Since I’ve been not able to work due to a rather nasty back injury, I’ve spent alot of time with him these past six months. He became a constant, calming companion. Always making his way onto my lap, with me gently tussling his fur, falling asleep together.
Things were fine until this Sunday, when we noticed his jaw was out of place. We thought maybe when he climbed down from somewhere, he hit his jaw and dislocated it. I was sure that was the problem, which is generally easily fixed.
My wife took him immediately to our vet, as I had a physical therapy session.
I got out, called her, and received the news. Treasure’s jaw was fractured. Not from any trauma, but his bones were so compromised from nutritional deficiency due to his age that it just gave way.
The vet said, due to his age, he would not survive the surgery, and even if he did, he would not have the physical capacity to heal.
I got off the phone with my wife, and broke down into tears.
I arrived at the vet, eyes swollen, went into the office, and saw him walking around, bumping into things, but obviously in pain.
I held him, blubbering the entire time, saying goodbye to a friend I have been around for 13 years.
The vet came in, said it was the humane thing to do, and gave him a sedative. He meowed one last time, and just sort of went away.
Petting him, talking to him as he went, my wife and I were both in tears.
The vet and tech came in, took him away to administer the final shot, and that was it.
He was gone.
I cried for hours that day. For a few days I didn’t really think of it, choosing to bury it in the back of my mind. Then, two days later, we got a card in the mail. The vet had stamped Treasure’s paw-print onto the card, and with it included a small bag containing a lock of his fur.
I broke down sobbing.
I think of him every day, expecting him to come around the corner and hop into my lap.
He was a sweet creature. One with the most amazing personality I have yet to know.
A gentle soul. A sweet boy. And a wonderful friend.
Anyway, I’ll stop now.
You’re probably getting bored, and I can’t type through my tears.