Monday, August 04, 2008

Sad day

We had to say goodbye to our cat Harold today. He was 14 years old and suffering from renal failure, and although a week ago he was still pretty spry, jumping on my desk to get at stuff he shouldn't get at, he took a turn for the worse. It happened very quickly: he was stumbling when he walked, wasn't really eating, and was spending a lot of time hanging out under the bed, spaced out and probably in serious discomfort.

We spent the extra money to have a vet come to our house to send him on his way. Apparently the barbituate overdose they use provides a big, warm high, so he went out feeling good. I'm glad we didn't make his last hour on Earth a traumatic trip to the vet's; he never liked going there anyway.

Harold liked to have his muzzle rubbed, and so he'd rub his face against your hand or sometimes head butt you.

I've never been a cat person, but since meeting Harold last year he kind of turned me around. Even the vet who came today noted "dog personality" after only a minute. Harold liked to engage with people in a way I've never seen a cat do. And he'd express concern for his family. Recently Julie banged her foot in the kitchen and Harold ran in making "mraow?" noises to see what was going on.

Harold liked to chew on thin plastic, from shopping bags to candy wrappers. All of our waste baskets have covers on them, so intense was his addiction to the stuff. Over the weekend I left a lot of it in reach, hoping he'd go for it. He didn't, but last night Jules and I presented him with a piece and he chewed it vigorously until I got the video camera out (of course).

Harold liked to sleep in our bed, preferably in little caves he'd make for himself in the comforter. I was sitting on the couch in Zack's room a few weeks ago and I was touched that he curled up in the comforter cave I made for him. I wasn't sure it was up to snuff.

We have another cat somewhere in this place but she hides all the time. Instead of us losing 50% of the home's catness, I think we lost about 85% today. Up until recently Harold would sometimes grab Bridgett by the scruff of her neck and drag her around some. It was sort of holdover sexual behavior between two cats who'd been fixed, so Harold never really knew where to drag her or what to do when he got there. I feel bad for Bridgett being the only cat in the house; she'd break her aloofness sometimes to cry at Harold for attention. But Harold lost the steam for their games a month or two ago, so I like to think she's had more time to get used to the idea.

Harold was Julie's cat for eleven years, and although I just came into the fold I've been the bigger crybaby about it today. While I consider myself an atheist, I do find comfort in the idea that Harold woke up today somewhere with his front claws restored, in a happy house with people who will pet him and appreciate him, and occasionally leave plastic lying around.

Goodbye, Harold. You were seriously the best cat I've ever known.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Harold was one of the great cats. I will miss him so much.

Julie's Mom

DCD said...

Aw, I'm sorry guys. That is tough to take. It's nice that you had so much time with such a great cat, Julie. And your time too, Jeff - although short - clearly made an impression.

Good thoughts to you guys, and to Harold who hopefully now knows - and can! - do just what he wants to whatever female cat he can get his claws on!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Harold. It was so sweet of you to have the vet come to your place so he could move onto the next world in style.

I feel privileged to have lived with Harold. I still have fond memories of playing chase with him in our penthouse apartment in Mid-Wilshire (aka Koreatown). And yes, he WOULD chase back... it was incredible! He was definitely one cool cat (or more likely a dog trapped in a cat's body).

With tears in my eyes,
love,
Jenine

Octopunk said...

Ha! Nice one, sis. It didn't even occur to me that he'd want his balls back.