imkittymyers at hotmail dot com
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
I ALWAYS SAID SHE HAD THE LIFESPAN OF TOXIC WASTE
DiDi died yesterday.
She was 18 years old, yet up until very recently, she thought she was 18 months. Even yesterday, as DogMan tried to get her into her crate to take to the vet, she dashed out and ran into the bedroom.
She was a bitch, the cat who bit my hand nearly 2 years ago and sent me to the emergency room, a loveable high-spirited bitch, who was rescued from certain death by Zappa when she was 4 weeks old. At the time, our beloved Groucho Marx, Morris the Cat's doppleganger, was 15 years old and slowly coming to a halt.
Zappa and I took Groucho to the vet on May 16, 1988. DogMan had gone to Boston to judge a dog show that day, so I decided not to bring Groucho back home afterwards. The look on his face, as I handed him over to the nurse, was one of acceptance, as though he were telling me, "It's okay. I'm ready." I always cry thinking of that, partly because I have always regretted not bringing him home.
The normally thin DiDi had become skinny and then downright skeletal, even though she ate like a government mule. By Friday, however, she wasn't eating. Amazingly, she was still spry and active, although she did sleep more. We tried everthing. She drank evaporated milk, so I bought several cans. Yet she barely drank part of one all tolled. When DogMan said it appeared as though she were "shutting down," I knew it was time. So I called the vet Saturday morning. The soonest they could schedule her was for Monday morning at 9:15, which was when I was scheduled for jury duty. I desperately wanted to be there with her but just couldn't. Poor DogMan had to do it alone. He said later that it was worse than when we took our German Shepherd Freja to the vet and he had to give her two shots because the first didn't quite take. DogMan, the vet and I were all bawling like babies that time.
When I left yesterday morning, I asked DogMan to bring DiDi home, and then I cried all the way to the courthouse.
The trial, for which the county was empanelling the jury, was a child sexual abuse case. Jeeeeze, could my day get any worse? I sat there all day long, but I personally never made it to the voir dire phase. I witnessed 41 others being questioned; thank God they found 14 jurors before it was my turn.
When I arrived home, DogMan dug a deep hole in the backyard and we buried DiDi with some catnip. She was wrapped in plastic still in her crate. Rigor mortis had set in, so when I tried to retrieve her, her little back paws kept getting caught on the crate door. It was like she was still giving me grief, which made me laugh a little. Although the cats were never friendly with each other -- too territorial -- the other two, Ichabod and Princess, seemed at loose ends knowing that DiDi was not just "at the vet's." They seem to know she will never be coming home.
The vet said that DiDi's gums were very inflamed -- bloody even, which we just noticed on the weekend -- and that her kidneys were shot. And still she was running around 'til the end.
Over the years, we had lots of family pets come and go. Nurse G had mice and lizards -- snakes, too, when she moved out -- so we've made that last trip to the vets many times. Years ago, she had a very large gekko, about 18" long, named Kalibanos, after Raul Julia's character in Tempest. Kalibanos lived freely in her room behind the radiator. She fed him live crickets. One day he stopped eating and we noticed his jaw was "soft," almost pliable. The vet told me to puree the crickets with some water and feed the concoction to him with an eye dropper. Have you ever tried to puree live crickets in a blender? Their little legs do NOT puree! It wasn't long before Kalibanos took his last ride. We learned later that all he needed was nurishment, which Gatorade would have provided.
She got Kalibanos about the same time we got DiDi. Nurse G kept her bedroom shut so Kalibanos would not scare the crap out of me. One night, as we all lay sleeping peacefully, DiDi had somehow nudged Nurse G's door open and had her first face to face with Kalibanos. DiDi was a fierce tiny ball of fur, with razor claws and teeth. However, she must have looked like dinner to Kalibanos, because he clamped down upon her body and the two began squeeking and squacking and doing battle, waking everyone up in the process. DogMan had to put on leather gloves to unlock Kalibanos' death grip on DiDi as DiDi tried to claw and bite her way to freedom. Gekkos have razor sharp teeth and iron grips, yet DiDi escaped unscathed, but mighty angry.
DiDi could be the bane of my existance at times, which was why I used to say that she was too ornery to die, that she had the lifespan of toxic waste and could be just as lethal. Yet I love her as much as I have any cat. DogMan, the dog man, loved DiDi more than any other cat. We have three German Shepherd dogs and two cats, and still the house seems empty.
God, it never gets any easier, does it.