Saturday, November 19, 2016

Lovey: A Tribute

We are all appointed a time to die---even animals.  Yesterday morning I came home from petsitting to find someone had thrown up green bile on the kitchen linoleum.  As I was getting ready for work, I found Lovey in the bathtub with green bile.  I knew it was he.  After work I took him to the vet.  Blood work showed advanced kidney failure and lymphoma....likely kidney cancer that had spread.  His temperature was 90...very low.  His heart rate should have been near 200 but was about 100.  As the vet told me, "You don't have to make a decision; the blood work has made it for you."  With his low heart rate, she didn't think he would have lasted more than a couple of days.

I got Lovey about 7 years ago when his original family moved to Australia.  He was a unique cat from the beginning.  I have included some pictures that best capture his personality.

He was a loner among my cats.....except for when he was "dating" Minnie.  Minnie would alternate between Lovey and Miles, my 19 year-old.  I noticed this summer she had sworn off both of them.  It's odd how animals inside form alliances/pacts/relationships just as they would in the wild.  They have those they like---and those they don't.

Lovey did NOT like Humpty Dumpty (I named neither of them!).  He would back him against a wall and torment him with a deep-throated war cry....then when he was done, he either flipped on his side or merely walked off.

Lovey was a smokey gray color, so for many years he wore a Christmas collar year round so I wouldn't step on him since he blended in with the green carpet at night.  One day he took it off and refused to wear it again.  I have no idea how he got it off, but he did.  Here he is in one of his favorite spots:  my garden tub.

And he absolutely was relentless about fresh water from the bathroom sink!  Here he is in the sink and teaching the new baby, Sparkles, who loved him.

I don't expect non-pet people to understand this.  This read is not for them.  It is my way of processing his death and remembering him.  Being a pet parent is somewhat like being a human parent; we take care of them in sickness and in health, we referee sibling spats, we love them, we talk to them, and we know when to say goodbye.  The vast majority of the 14 cats I've had in my lifetime lived well into their teens, with most 16-20 years.  You don't live with something in your home that long without forming a strong bond with him/her.  They are not merely an ornament on a shelf.  They were a main reason I didn't evacuate during Hurricane Matthew.  I definitely would not leave them; if I ever left, they would come with me. 

I also believe that I will see all of them again in heaven one day.  The Bible does speak of animals in heaven, and God is God, so why wouldn't mine be there?