Saturday, November 7, 2009
Only 5 years with Waffle
I feel like a really bad pet owner.
Take Waffle to the vet when he isn't feeling good - check.
Get Waffle medicine to cure infection - check.
Feed Waffle, get fresh water, give him a heating pad - check.
But we still lost Waffle today. I came downstairs into the basement to check on the poor guy, and he was lying there a little too stiffly. And in vain hope that he was just sleeping soundly, I got closer and pet our kitty. Nope, he was cold. I always seem to be in this position with pets; although I've only had one other animal die - finding two out of two dead animals is a bad track record.
He's been sick for about a week with an infection - a bladder infection that got too serious. The problem with boy kitties is that they have disproportionately small urethras (i.e. penises). If there is any kind of irritation, it can easily get blocked or infected. The warning signs are peeing often in strange places - which someone had been doing in our house, but with four cats it was hard to find the culprit. But we had finally caught Waffle in the act, and last week he retreated behind the couch and wouldn't move for an entire day.
He had both a shot of steroids AND antibiotics at the vet and Gregory had been feeding him his pills. He was eating, drinking and somewhat controlling his pee. He was meowing in his cage yesterday for the first time - like he was finally getting bored. A sign of improvement! But we should have known better. His father had the same problem and needed a drastic sex-changing operation to fix the blockage. Mr. (now Mrs.) Chin made a full recovery.
Gregory was stuck with the awful job of finding a final resting place for our fat, loveable, always hungry kitty. We picked a corner of the yard with enough room to plant flowers for him in the spring. The hole was dug, and Waffle was placed inside on a bed of leaves. We all stood in the backyard watching the dirt fill the hole and seeing that orange and white fur for the last time.
Of course, Ayla had tons of questions and we tried to be as honest as possible. Just like when Mr. Hooper died on Sesame Street, we didn't say anything about sleep or resting or floating away to heaven - we said that Waffle had died. (Reference the Michael Jackson post, we've discussed this before). It's going to take awhile for this to sink in because at bedtime tonight, Ayla was looking out the window at the backyard and asking, "Why can't I see Waffle? Why is he in the dirt?" Heart-breaking.
Waffle was one of our four amazing, and admittedly frustrating, cats. Gregory and I watched him being born on July 5th, 2004 - just a few weeks before our wedding. Waffle's mom, Orangina, and his father, Mr/Mrs Chin had been rescued by Rachel when she lived in Syracuse. Waffle's mother was then tragically hit by a car and Waffle came to live with us when he was big enough to leave his siblings.
When he was a kitten, he would jump enthusiastically at any toy we put in front of him, without paying attention to surrounding objects. He would crash into walls or doors or furniture. Once, Gregory, Matthew and I were watching tv and Waffle started to look at the light-changing switches that hang from a ceiling fan. He started to do that kitty head-circle watch and all of sudden, he jumped straight up into the air to try to catch the chains. Of course, he hadn't thought out the descent and came crashing down onto the coffee table - spilling all of our drinks.
He moved with us from our smallest apartment, into a bigger apartment and finally, our first house. He also grew with each move - becoming our largest cat with a swinging stomach that almost hit the floor. We had to ration food or Waffle would just eat and eat until he threw up somewhere. And ever since that decision, Waffle would sit on our bed and stare at Gregory every morning until we got up to feed him. But every once in awhile, our fat kitty would find a catnip mouse and want to play - he still had a little energy to run around.
And now Waffle will always rest at this house. We only had 5 years with our sweet cat. He loved people and would show almost inappropriate affection when any person came into our house. I'm sorry I didn't help you more, we'll always love you. Ayla and I said a prayer for Waffle tonight, and at the end she said, "I'll share my little fuzzy with Waffle." And that means a lot.