Let me tell you about my miracle cat. When my husband and I first starting dating, he didn't believe me when I told him I had 2 cats. Mia, the girl cat, was a shameless flirt, but Dakota never came around. Kota loosened up a little bit when we moved into our new house and when Todd and I married, the cat soon fell in love with his "daddy." The cat that hid for 2 weeks after I first brought him home began lying on the couch with us every night to get scratched. He purred; I kid you not, the cat didn't purr for 5 years, but he purred when Todd petted him. When my eldest son was born we were a little worried about how the cats would react, especially Kota. Turns out, Mia, little diva that she was, resented Ethan, but Kota adopted him. Kota slept by his crib and put up with having his tail pulled and being chased around the house with great patience. We lost Mia in 2007 to a congenital heart defect. Kota sat by the door for 3 days, waiting for her to come home. Enter Micah, who grabbed handfuls of Kota's fur and lay face-first on the cat, cooing. Still, ever patient Kota cared for his boys and waited until they went to bed to receive attention from Mommy and Daddy. It was a total transformation from the scared little kitten I adopted in 1998.
A few months ago Kota was diagnosed with asthma. The vet gave him a shot of cortisone and he was good as new. For about a month. I took him back, more shots, nothing. No change. Labored breathing. Coughing. Open-mouth labored breathing. Fear he was going to keel over and die in front of my son.
This is what happens with pets. They get sick, they get hit by cars, they die. They're not like our children - they don't outlive us. But it still sucks. Todd called the vet this morning and he confirmed what we already knew - it was time. So I loaded my baby into his carrier for the last time and took him to get put down. Todd offered to take him; he offered to go with me, but I knew it would be best if I went alone.
First I had to sign some paperwork. Then I had to decide if I wanted the body. Yes. No, I don't want to do that. No? Then do you want ashes returned to you? God, no. Do you want to be in the room with him? Yes. Dr. Schotman sedated Dakota and left the room. I stroked his ears, his head, told him he was a good kitty, that I would miss him, that Ethan would miss him and Lori and Erica, my former roommates, and of course Daddy. I reminded him of the time he disappeared outside for 3 weeks and told him he would soon be with Mia again. Then the doc came in and administered the last shot and it was over. And let me tell you, the whole experience sucked, but I am so glad I was there with him until the end. That cat loved me and trusted me like no other human and I wouldn't have had anyone else be there when he left this world.
I told Ethan Kota went to Heaven. I'm not sure of the theological accuracy of this, but I like to think my cat is up there with my Mia and my sister-in-law's cat and my father-in-law and my grandma and my dad. And what else do you tell an almost-3-year-old?
So that's my story. I had a great cat and now he's gone. I will mourn and then I will get a kitten. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go drown my sorrow in a pint of peanut butter chocolate Haagen-Dazs.