The Cat Who Saved the World
Well, this next blog was supposed to be about trying out for the local roller derby team, the Spartanburg Deadly Dolls. I “auditioned” last week (and probably would’ve been asked to join the team, were I not suffering from a shoulder issue that requires PT once a week. Oh and I can’t skate for shit.) I had the blog almost ready to publish, including funny little outtakes about how I am a virtual Chevy Citation on skates and the rest of the team were Lamborghinis whizzing past me, how skydiving was good training for roller derby because I learned how to PLF like a champion (that’s Parachute Landing Fall, for you non-roller derby folk) and therefore could fall effectively without getting hurt.
But I decided to publish a different blog instead.
This blog is going to be about something much more painful than getting slammed in roller derby.
This blog is going to be about unconditional love.
He may not have been one of these cats that do something heroic, such as saving me from a fire, or risking his life to fight an attacking dog. He wasn’t one of those cats that save the world. But in a way, he saved my world.
My cat Lucky was 17 and ½ years old. He was a little old man cat, moseying in and out of the bathroom to lick from the faucet. His whole life he was a puker, but he could always puke up enough to fill a bucket and then go right back to eating. A few days ago, he was puking and moseying more slowly than usual. It didn’t seem like an issue. But when he wouldn’t touch his food, and even refused the piece of bacon I brought him from Mon Ami, I knew something was wrong.
I took him to see Dr. Adcock. (By the way, I had a total Cats, Boys, and Booze moment a few weeks ago when I took my other cat Toni in to be seen. I had no makeup on, my hair was a bird nest, I hadn’t brushed my teeth AND I was taking my cat in to be seen for a butthole infection, of all things. Usually I see the lady vet but this time it was her partner, cute Dr. Adcock, who I was almost set up with a few years ago. Lucky would want me to tell that story.)
Anyway, Dr. Adcock delivered the news. Lucky was in kidney failure. There was nothing they could do. This was the end.
Seventeen and half years flashed before my eyes in that moment.
The first time I saw him at Petsmart when I was stationed in Utah. The first thing I noticed was the little spot on his nose. Dad used to say he looked like he dipped his nose in a paint can.
All the diarrhea he had as a kitten.
The way he used to copy Julio, my other kitty from long ago, as if a son would copy a father.
The time he hopped up on the back of the couch, lost control of his bowels when I tried to pick him up, and he shat right in my face, explosively. It made my then-boyfriend laugh so hard, he started calling me Marcie (from Peanuts) because I’d been wearing glasses at the time and they were so covered in spots of poop that I could barely see out of them.
All the diarrhea he had as an adult.
The way he used to let our dearly departed dog Josie spoon him.
The way he refused to let me sleep alone and would paw the covers for me to let him in.
The way he curled up behind Terry’s knees the first time Terry ever spent the night with me. I like to think it was Lucky’s way of saying Terry was a keeper.
The time he pooped on my roommate Melanie’s bed the night she moved in with me.
The time he pooped on the back of the couch and Melanie leaned back and got her hair in it. I always laugh when I recall her running her fingers through her hair and yelling, “What is this? Wha– OH MY GOD IT’S POOP!!!!”
The way he never left my side when I was ill.
And here we were, 17 ½ years in, my old man cat and me. Best friends. And we were told together that he was going to die.
They gave him a shot for nausea, and I took him home for one more night. We slept on the couch together with my three other cats, watched Harry Potter movies and a variety of Star Treks, and cuddled. The next day, he drank some chicken juice while I drank copious amounts of whiskey (Rich & Rare, his favorite) and repeated what we’d done the day before. He never left my side.
At 7:45pm, Terry started the car. I let Lucky say goodbye to the other cats, brushed him, and took him to the car in his favorite blanket. No cat carrier this time.
I do believe that was the hardest ride I’ve ever had to take. Lucky seemed to enjoy it, as he’d never ridden in the car wrapped in his favorite blanket before. He was purring.
By 8pm, Lucky had had his “la la” shot, as Terry calls it, and a few minutes later, with my arms around him and Terry holding his paw, he received the shot that would make his kidney failure go away.
I think that is one of the most heartbreaking moments one can endure. People who aren’t animal lovers may scoff at claiming pets are family, or say something ignorant like, “Well, it’s just a cat, you can get another one.” It doesn’t work that way. You may be able to get another one, but you will never again have that special little guy; in my case, almost eighteen years of someone who loved me unconditionally. You will never again see that special little fur baby, the one you loved immensely, raised, cared for, and called family. Lucky took care of me, too.
I know they aren’t children. I know you can’t will your house and car to them (that would be ridiculous, as Lucky’s feet could never have reached the pedals) or leave your bank account to them when you’re gone. A cat has no use for a bank account. For one thing, they don’t know how to count, that I’m aware of.
But they are like children. This blog is for those who understand that.
Maybe sometime next year I can do another blog about the roller derby team. I really did want to be on it, but it will have to wait until I can fall down without undoing months of physical therapy on this rotator cuff. They seemed like very laid back and encouraging women, and I appreciate their letting me try.
Before my try-out, I had been playing around with a variety of roller derby names for myself: Evana Williams, Jackie Daniels, Shaniqua Fartstorm, etc… But if I do go out for the roller derby next year, I’d like a more dignified name, a name that summarizes who I am.
I think my roller derby name will simply be “Lucky.”