Sunday, June 10, 2012
Losing a Cat and My Buddy Garfield
Ever since Easter, I've struggled because my boy Garfield has struggled with a mystery ailment. Starting Easter morning on April 8th, he started vomiting like a mad man, every 15 minutes. After multiple trips to the vet that week, we had found no answer for what was ailing Garfy. So with some online reading we decided that force feedings, since he had stopped eating entirely, would possibly be the answer. That kept him going, with some weight loss, and daily pukes, until yesterday at noon.
Friday night, he started not keeping anything down, and had the look of a guy that had just given up. I can't blame him, the past two months have been brutal enough for Mrs. Duke and I trying to keep him going. I can't imagine how miserable it has been for him knowing that at some point each day his stomach would fail him and that knowledge keeping him from ever having an appetite.
With Garfy giving Mrs. Duke and I all the signs of a cat that had given up, we looked past the fact that we had wanted/imagined him being around for another 15 years and decided to put him out of the pain that had plagued him since early April.
I understand those of you that don't make a great connection with your animals, or those of you that aren't cat people and think they are the lesser of the two dominant domesticated animals. For Mrs. Duke and I though, Garfield was a family member. In a way he was our son, as we are yet to start having kids.
I notice how big of a part of our life he truly was as I sit in the family room writing this. I am used to him strutting his fuzzy butt in the room, rubbing his face on the computer, plopping down on my lap, watching the mouse or cursor going across the screen with curiosity. The reality that he isn't going to come around that corner leaves me with a very empty feeling.
It was three years ago when he was a stray cat that found his way to my cousin's doorstep. She let us know that she had a cat and that it wasn't claimed and needed a home. Mrs. Duke and I decided that a pet would be a fun thing to have and decided to go for it. He was so fluffy it was tough to determine that he indeed was a "he". After a trip to the vet, we learned we did have a male orange tabby. The name Garfield seemed so natural, even though it actually was our second choice. Once it was settled on though, he took to it as if that was his name his entire life coming when he was called like a dog would.
He was a true STOB'er. He didn't just beat me once in March Madness pick 'em, but twice. He watched more Duke games with me in the past three years than likely any other being. A long day of watching Sunday football was just up his alley, he'd just park himself next to me on the couch and snooze the day away. Only popping his head up, annoyed, when I would cheer or yell a bit too loud or to have an inquisitive smell of my beer or snacks. This spring, after I rolled the crap out of my ankle in a basketball game, he would keep me company as I iced it, seemingly knowing that all was not well.
It was a long day yesterday. The drive to the vet is only about five minutes, it felt like an hour. Trying to answer front desk questions with a lump in my throat the size of a grapefruit was almost impossible. Leaving his body after the deed was done, was torture. Walking through the waiting room full of happy pet owners with my sunglasses on to cover my puffy eyes full of tears is something I'd prefer to never do again. The knowledge that we had thought we had done all we could helps to ease the pain some, but not enough. There will always be the question of, "Could we have done more?"
Unfortunately the question of doing more is worthless. All I can do now is say -
Goodbye Garfield. You were a great friend that left too soon, I hope you rest in peace.