Monday, August 18, 2008

People I Miss Volume 2

Technically he's not a person but I miss Rat. Rat was one of the most awesome cat's ever.

One morning during the summer I turned 14 my Mom came in to my room and woke me up early (well it was early for a teenager in the summer) saying "look what I found". That's when I realised that the orange thing on the shoulder of her bathrobe wasn't a coffee stain but a kitten. She'd gone outside to get the newspaper and heard him crying. The sound was coming from her truck and she assumed that one of our cats had gotten in through an open window or something and couldn't get out. What she found after several minutes was an unknown kitten in the engine. She brought him in to my room and I was in love for about 5 seconds then he has diarrhea all over my bed. I decided I didn't like this cat.

He continued to be sick (out both ends) for a couple days probably because he'd ingested so much oil from being in the engine. I found this to be less than attractive. My Mom tried to name him Tommy which bothered me because I'd had a cat named Tom who was one of the other most awesome cat's ever and I thought calling this little crap machine Tommy was disrespectful. On top of that his fur was all matted (from the oil again) and his ears and tail were out of proportion with his body so I started calling him The Furry Orange Rat. It stuck eventually being shortened to Rat.

The problem with my plan to hate him was that he loved me. He followed me around the house, would come running if he heard my voice, and (this was the clincher) comforted me after I broke up with my first boyfriend (as I was 14 this was tragic on a epic scale). He outgrew his awkward stage and after he got all the oil out of his system (and fur) was absolutely beautiful.

He used to sleep with me and I don't just mean on my bed. He slept under the covers with my arms wrapped around him like a teddy bear. He'd stay that way all night except when it was hot then he'd wait for me to fall asleep crawl out and curl up on my pillow above my head facing me.

I had to give him baths because he never learned not to sleep under cars so he'd get gunk and oil in his fur that we couldn't let him lick off. He didn't like it but eventually got to the point where he'd just sit in the sink and let me do it without trying to escape.

One day when I was 18 and he had been acting a little funky for a couple days my Mom asked me to take him to the vet since I had the day off work. He sat on my lap while I drove but didn't stand up and look out the window like he usually did (When I took him to the vet. I didn't generally drive around with the cat). I just thought he had a cold but the vet said it was Feline Leukemia (same thing Tom died of). They said I could take him home but he'd die in a couple days or I could let them put him down so he wouldn't suffer any more. This was before everyone had cell phones so I had to make the decision myself I couldn't call my parents. I'd lost other pets over the years but he was the first one we'd had to put to sleep. They let me say good bye to him and I left in tears.

I've had other pets both before Rat and after and some of them were every bit as special to me. I remember his death more because the decision I was forced to make pretty much marks the moment I really became an adult. They've since created a vaccine for Feline Leukemia and it was one of the first things I had the vet do when I adopted Vladi. I know I'll loose him someday but I hope it's when he's very old.The thing you have to accept when you adopt a pet is that you will most likely out live them. I wouldn't give up all the wonderful memories though not even to avoid the eventual pain.

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