...because we all have our motley moments!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

This Post Has Nothing to Do with New Year's

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.


Donna said...

Liz, I'm so sorry. I know that was really hard for you to do.

I dread the day we have to say good-bye to Toby. Paul and I got him just a few months before we married. He was in our engagement picture with us for the local paper and I could hold him in one hand! He's eight now and most Goldens live for about 14 years, so we should still have some good years left with Toby. He's just like Kota in the way he lets the kids basically beat on him and he just sits there as if he's being loved on.

I think that as God's creatures, our beloved pets have a special place in heaven.

Bryssy said...

Oh Liz, I am so sorry! I grew up on a farm and saw life and death with animals semi-frequently. And my younger sister and I would hold a burial service and pray for our little pets (or big ones).

Sometimes it was runt puppies that didn't survive birth, that we held against our skin to keep warm and hand fed with droppers and or a barn kitten that got stepped on by a horse. Sometimes it was a beloved, our pony Skipper, or our best farm dog, Bear.

My dad did the putting down, and how horrible that must have been for him. I have always believed that our animals go to heaven. I even asked our minister as a little girl (he said he couldn't find it in scripture but he couldn't imagine that they didn't).

And, even after seeing animals die, it makes me cry. I wasn't much of a farm girl, crying over the death of animals. (Sometimes we made my dad give them away rather than butcher a pet.)But, I know that in my mind, my pets will be there in heaven waiting for us.

Rachel said...

Liz, I'm so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is so hard, and even though it must have been difficult for you to do, I'm sure that Dakota felt very loved having you there with him.

That is a very sweet picture of Dakota with Micah. My Dad buried two of our horses this year after they lived extremely long lives, and some of the most treasured pictures I have are of my son and nephew with those dear friends from my childhood. It was hard to take my little guy to Kentucky for Christmas knowing that he would immediately ask to see Beauty (he passed the week before we got there), but it was some comfort to know that my son had been a part of Beauty's life, too.

Take care!

Liz said...

Actually, that's Ethan up there with Kota. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of just Micah and Kota. Todd took some video the other day, but I haven't had the heart to watch it yet.
Thank you all for your kind words. It helps to know others feel the way I do - that losing a pet is real loss and that not only am I mourning for myself, but I'm mourning for my children, too.

Karly said...

Liz, my heart goes out to you. When we had to put our dog (a beautiful syberian husky named Princess) to sleep I cried myself to sleep for five nights. My eyes were so puffy that people at the school where I worked thought I had some horrible allergic reaction. And I really didn't even like that dog, She used to eat all my underwear. Anyways, if I felt that way about Princess, I can only imagine the sadness you must be feeling for your beloved Kota. May you be comforted in this time of mourning. And if you need it--Preparation H does help reduce puffy eyes. I know from experience

Maria said...

Liz, I'm with ya girl. I'm crying right now for you. It is soooo painful to see a loved pet go. Life can be tough escecially when you are the "parent". I pray that God gives you much peace about missing your kitty.