It’s my blog, I don’t have to stay on topic. I can write about my cat if I want.
But it’s also a journal of sorts, so important things are going in here.
Pooka was the best cat I ever had, most cuddly cat most of my friends had ever met. Super outgoing. He played fetch, which baffled visitors who had never seen a cat promptly return and drop the toy they were chasing on their owner’s lap.
He was a Manx, with just a short tail, and even though he was born a barn cat, he took to the litter box the day we got him like it was the best thing in the world. We only ever had trouble with him if we changed the kind of litter we used. He wasn’t from the most reputable breeder perhaps, though, and he had some food allergies that would give him digestive issues if we fed him the wrong thing. But his personality made up for it.
When he was younger, before he gave up and got used to me leaving for work, he would try and stop me from leaving. He got to know the signs that I was going out, and chase me down the hallway towards the door, hooking his paw around my ankle, trying to hold me back.
He would be on my lap just all the time – I was so used to it, I wouldn’t even notice he was there. He met me at the door when I came home, and would come to snuggle in bed when I called him at night. As a kitten, he tried to sleep on my head. Toward the end, he would snuggle next to me with his head on my shoulder and one paw wrapped around my arm.
In addition to playing fetch, he was known as the infamous water thief, and would drink out of any water glass left undefended. We tried to use a spraybottle for discipline, but discovered he liked it, and we have video of him drinking water as we sprayed it into his mouth.
He chased a laser pointer once. We had him running in a circle for at least a half an hour before he collapsed panting, mouth open, on the floor and couldn’t get up. He wasn’t a stupid cat. He would never chase a laser pointer again after that.
He never jumped on the counter, didn’t dig in the garbage, didn’t unravel the toilet paper, was good about having his claws trimmed, and only liked scratching things I gave home to scratch. He had a thing for sisal cord scratching posts.
And he had the sweetest meows. Trilling and chirping mostly, but then their was the longer play-with-me meow when he was in the mood. At some point in his life we started hearing a very strange meow that we only heard when he was in another room. At first we though something was wrong, it was kind of a yowling, insistent meow, but when we came to check on him he was fine, just fondling his catnip pillow. Finally we figured out what it was when he prowled into the room still doing it. It was just his play-with-me meow, only he was doing it while carrying his toy around in his mouth.
Almost eleven years old, he started losing weight over the course of a few months, and when he stopped eating altogether one day two months ago, we got him to the vet. Vet did some tests, and while he was negative for the nasty FIV and feline leukemia, there was no easy way to rule out cancer. We crossed our fingers and gave him the antibiotics and steroids the vet prescribed and hoped it turned out to be just an infection or autoimmune disease.
He bounced back through Christmas. Nathan calls it our little Christmas miracle that we got him back healthy and happy through the holidays. We made the most of it, feeding him whatever he wanted since the vet was hopeful but never made us any promises.
After the holidays were over, he crashed again. We made another vet appointment.
The night before, I managed to get him to eat some baked chicken. He didn’t really want to, but he kept looking back at me like he knew I wanted him to eat, and he was only doing it for me.
Later I was petting him, and I felt his tummy. I could feel something. Lumps; masses. The vet confirmed it the next morning. Liver cancer. Nothing anyone could have done. On the vet’s recommendation, we had him put down.
It’s been a month, and at night in the dark, I’m still stepping cautiously around the spots he used to sleep so I don’t trip over him before I remember he’s gone. Every year, my mother-in-law buys our cats cat toys for christmas, and this year Nathan had forgot them in the bag brought home after family gatherings. We didn’t remember it until after, and now we have this little red stuffed dragonfly that was for him, and we never got to give it to him. And the other cat – Apollo cries at night, and wanders the apartment looking for his friend.
I never had any pet as long as I had him, and was never as close to one. My cats growing up, the first my mom sent away to a farm after a year, maybe, the second wandered off to live at the neighbors who were feeding her so that she was getting balloonishly fat, and the third I only had for a year or so before having to give him away. I never had to have one put down. The dog we had for a lot of years, but he belonged to my brother, my grandpa and my dad, so it was them that had that closeness with the dog.
None of them were animals that I shared the kind of relationship I had with Pooka. Pooka, I’m not even sure I know how to describe how in sync the two of us were. I think the best I can do is say, in the dark, at night, I could put my hand out and call him, and in a few moments, his head would be pressed under my hand.
The new kitten will have big paw prints to fill when it comes home.
Oh Lindsay, this made me cry all over again …. we lost Holly recently & I have never felt so helpless as when I stood in the vet’s & was told they couldn’t do anything to stop the bleeding for more than a brief period – she had an aggressive tumour in her jaw – and I had to leave her behind because there was nothing I could do and it felt like killing her. The house just didn’t feel the same then. Cats are people too!
I’m really glad the vet wasn’t wishy-washy about what he thought was best for him. He had barely eaten anything in three days at that point, so he was clearly miserable, and if the vet hadn’t been clear that it was time to let go, I can’t even imagine how it would have felt to try and make a decision on what to do.
I’m sorry to hear this, Lindsay. I’ve outlived several generations of dogs and cats and have no pet at the moment. Your photos of Pooka are great, and, of course, cats are ALWAYS on topic on the internet!
I’ve had a number of people tell me they didn’t have pets because they were too broken up over one they lost. But man, what I wouldn’t give for the new kitten to be old enough to bring home right now, so I’d have something to refocus on. I’m definitely not over it, but I don’t think you need to be over the last one to be ready for a new one.
I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, Lindsay. 😦 Last February, I went through a very similar experience with my two old kitties, and to be honest, I’m still not over it. After all, we were a part of each other’s lives for 17 years.
Sounds like your Pooka had quite the personality and you shared many good memories with him. 🙂 You’ll always have that no matter what.
17 yrs is a long time. *hugs*
My husband and I often talked about what breed we would get if we were replacing one of ours, but it was always just a wistful, not expecting it to be this soon. He had his heart set on a norwegian forest cat, but I hadn’t really thought that hard about it myself. Kind of thought I might just go for a rescue – except now that I was looking, I realized I wanted to look for a breed that was going to turn out as much like Pooka in temperament as I could find.