Monday, May 12, 2014

A Feline-Sized Tribute to One Not So Unexpectedly Dead Cat

Once upon a time, the mister got me a cat for Valentine's Day. A big one, both relative to our other cars and when viewed objectively. This cat was so pretty - he was a flame point siamese cross - that back when we made our cats where collars he always got a jeweled one. His name was Mannix.

death of a pet

And today he died.

One minute he was walking around the finished basement watching me vacuum with wary eyes and the next he was stretched out on the rug, eyes wide, just gone. Lucky for me it was a daycare day so I was home alone. Planning to write a client's newsletter content after finishing up with the vac. My whole day mapped out.

A long time ago Mannix was diagnosed with a heart condition you might recognize from the show House: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Everyone on that show had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Back then it felt like a death knell; I never expected him to live this long. For years we tricked him into taking medication until a new vet said we could stop because there was no proof it worked. But still he kept going.

I call my friend in a panic wondering just what to do. And then I do what needs to be done after a certain amount of standing around and staring, while the cats do their catty things, hopping over Mannix's body as necessary to get where they need to go.

Calling the mister was hard. Harder than picking up Mannix's body in a blanket and placing him gently in box. You could say I posed him but I remember thinking I wanted him to be comfortable. Whatever that means.

Things I will remember:
  • Mannix standing on the tops of doors like a tightrope walker. 
  • Mannix deciding to hop from one windowsill to another - on the outside of our building. 
  • Walking in to find him hanging from the rug we had nailed on the wall, inching sideways like a rock climber. 
  • Walking in to find him clutching a whole raw country style pork rib in his mouth, growling out a challenge to anyone who'd dare take what he'd rightfully pilfered from the groceries left on the kitchen floor.
What I felt today I channeled into doing. The basement is now cleaner than it has been in ages because I thought that even if the cats don't exactly understand Mannix has passed or really care let them be comfortable and happy tonight.

Telling P. was relatively easy. Easier than stepping over Mannix to get to the unfinished part of the basement to find the blanket and the box. She asks if his heart got a crack in it. I tell her that it stopped altogether and you need a beating heart to live. She requests a burial, preferably next to Wishy so we can plant flowers over them both.

And then she asks to see him because, she says, "I've never seen a dead person I know before!" So we bring up the box and she pets him and says his whiskers are tickly and his fur is so soft and fluffy. She looks at him for a long time and finally starts to feel a little sad because she was just starting to get to know her.

(P. frequently mixed up Mannix and Justine.)

Then she asks to draw a picture of Mannix to hang downstairs so the other cats will remember - but, she explains, not as a gravestone so they other cats won't know that he's dead.

Good rest, Mannix... (aka Manny the Pan, Mannypan, Pandabear)

manny pan

You were the sweet one. Always used the litter box. Only scratched scratching posts. You played fetch with bouncy balls when you were in the mood. And you always had plenty of love for the mister and me and any kid who was nearby.

1 comment:

  1. Awww, I'm so sorry. That was a really nice tribute for your cat. My oldest cat died about a year ago, I wish I had written a tribute but maybe it's not too late. Hope you are well.

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