So Say We All
We were witness to an unfortunate but expected event today. For perhaps slightly more then two years our cat Obo, named after a minor side character in a forgettable star trek book, has been less then well. His decline was slow and perhaps started in full with the passing of his adoption mate Savik, named after a less obscure star trek character. She died in I believe the fall of 2006. This was not the expected, we had always figured she would have the longest life, she played it safe being a home body, not taking the risks of going hunting. Obo was always heading off to go and kill small animals. He was pretty good at it, that life style choice lead us to feel that a coyote would get the better of him. This did not happen.
He may have been a good hunter, sharp both in mind and body, but one feature stood out and kept him a live, he was a coward. I say this with respect. In as much as a house cat can be self aware he was, and part of that awareness was a sense of scale. Obo knew he was smaller then many animals in the world and he was take approaches to be safe. I never did like traversing large open areas, when he could he would take cover in the tall grass and ferns. He also had a more interesting solution, on the occasions when he would follow me from the house to the cabin he would stay close, though still running a head or trailing behind, but I always got the feeling that he was using me as cover. I was figuring that he knew I was big enough to protect him from any thing that would likely eat him.
His cowardly nature was shown to me one spring. When we have kept chickens it was not uncommon to let them out of the run and have them have some freedom on the land. Obo, liked birds there has been countless piles of grey feathers on the lawn to attest to that. So one day with the chickens scratching about Obo sets out to have a look. He stops some where between 10 and 15 meters from the flock. He was sitting up right ears forward alert and watchful. I could almost imagine his thought process, Chickens=Bird. Bird = Food. Chickens = Big. Big = Trouble. But They're Birds Birds is Food. And he would just sit there. Considering that more then a few of the birds out weighed him and were armed with beaks and claws that could have put some big holes in his side his inaction shows a healthy degree of sense.
It would not be fair to talk about Obo without giving mention to his mate Savik. She may have been a stoner homebody and him the great hunter and protector of the land but they were close. They would groom each other play fight with each other and do the most important of all cat activities together, sleep. So with her passing he at once became more social, where for the majority of his life he had no interest in human women, he started to socialize with nearly every one of any gender. He was always a talker but he became more so, always either demanding something or saying thank you when a service was provided. In his decline his cries became sadder, he seemed to get lost in the bath room, he would cry out from the doorway just so he could be told we knew he was there.
It was in the bath room where he was found this morning, seemingly stuck under the cabinet. For most of the morning I took his non moving as sign that he was tired and sleeping. It took some time to see that his attempts at moving has pushed him into that corner. I knew from the days before that he was getting weaker in the hind quarters but it was not until I tried to help him stand that I found that he could no longer do so. After a few calls and emails not all related to the cat I made up my mind to call the vet.
It was not a choice I would have wonted to make but the cat's ailing body made the choice for me. I made a nest out of a box and an old sheet and made him comfortable. I hated to leave him a lone but I had to go up to the cabin to get my car keys so I but the box and the barely moving cat on a sunny patch on the floor and walked up to the cabin for the keys. I did not realize it at the time but he died some time during my walk to get the keys. I mistook the last air leaving his lungs as breath and the faint twitch of a whisker for signs of life. I believe that was around 11:20 am this day.
Not being certain of his death and still faced with a frozen landscape where burying the body was not an option I took him to the vet. The box felt so light. In the end It was agreed to let his body go towards veterinary science. This both covered the cost of cremation and perhaps will let others have their pets get better treated in the future.
So let us commit his body to the earth from whence he came.
So Say We All