Saturday, June 14, 2008

That damn cat...

I know a man isn't suppose to cry. Not in front of his wife. And not over a silly cat.

But he was my buddy. He was my friend. He understood me. And now he's gone.

Jo Jo was a Sweetest Day gift for The Wife the year before we were married. Though I had picked out a rough looking kitty that I though we could doctor back the health, crawling up the cage he shared with his brothers and sisters, Jo insisted that he was going to be mine. In that moment I knew he was be too; he had spunk.

He seemed to complete our little family from the start. Hidden away in my beat up car, Jo meowed hello to The Wife and sat beside she and I as we ate fries and shared a shake during her lunch break. She loved him instantly, which made me love him, too. And like that, Jo became our first little baby.

He lived with me before The Wife and I were married. He'd welcome me home from class each day. In those early years, he was small enough and liked to sit on my shoulder while I did anything in the house: cook, clean, brush my teeth... except when I'd try to type a paper. He'd jump on the keyboard because he wanted me to pet him. And all attention was on him when The Wife and I were together--- he demanded it.

Of course in those days, Jo wasn't Jo. First he was Kitty Meow Meow, then Suki, and then Josephinia. Nothing seemed to fit. After his first vet visit, it was discovered that Josephinia was a boy. And Josephino he became... as well as Jo, Jo Jo, Jo-cat.

We believe this sexual identity crises contributed to his often anti-social and sometimes bipolar behavior. Like me, he didn't like many people. He definitely didn't like folks touching him (or me for that matter, including The Wife). And like mine, the mood swings were frequent and unprovoked.

More than anything we liked to nap. Jo was a napper. We could nap like champs. He liked to sleep on my chest; I think because he listened to heart. I soon became dependent on his purring to fall asleep. We also liked movies, tv, and reading.

Though I wouldn't let him do it often, He also liked lick the outside of a cold glass while I drank soda or ate ice cream. Often he'd sneak without permission. Sometimes I'd find him on the kitchen table or on the counter looking at me sadly, because he knew he wasn't suppose to be there and was now in trouble.

Jo was an inside cat, but like to roll around on the porch and watch birds from the window. He liked playing with puff balls, cotton swabs and The Wife's nail file. He liked to sit up high, on places I'm sure was too tall for him to reach. He liked hiding in the closet, and had more than once spent the afternoon locked in my armoire after sneaking in when I accidentally left it open.

Jo got me through some tough times. When I was in the worst of the cancer treatment, and I just wanted it to all end, he was there. He seemed to cry out every time I thought of dying. When my brother was arrested for murder, and I stayed in bed for nearly a week, he remained close. In March, when I hurt my back, he knew to lay beside, not on me. When I'd hide away to shed unmanly tears, I only let him see because I knew he understood. He let me pet his nose, even though it annoyed him, because it made me happy.

It's strange how an animal can become so much a part of you. I missed him when I was away. I looked forward to seeing him when I got home. Sometimes, I'd rather hang with him than friends.

It seems Jo was dealt a pretty shitty hand in the genetics department in way of a healthy functional body. The doctor insisted that he was going to continue to have pain unless intense surgeries followed. Some signs suggest he's probably always had a bit of pain, but as he grew older, it was growing worse. The surgeries would also be very expensive and they may have not fully cured him from the pain.

Still, I feel terrible guilt that we couldn't afford the nearly $5,000 dollars to try.

So I held him. I petted his head and told him that I loved him. He looked at me as I petted his nose one last time. He made one last cry before putting his head down on my arm. Then, I let him go.

But really, I don't think I ever will... I love that damn cat.

2 Babble-Backs:

Mishka said...

I had to put my friend to sleep a few years ago and it was THE hardest thing I have ever done. I wouldn't wish in on anyone and staying with her during it was terrible but I felt like I owed her at least that much.

I know that my heart still aches for her sometimes. She was my pal for 19 I feel like I got the good end of the stick but it was still hard to say goodbye.

I held her, petted her and told her that I loved her too between the tears. She was purring as she took her last breath.

Her name was Madison. You can see a picture of her here. She is the top kitty and Chase is the lower one. We still have Chase.

madhouse 6 said...

i am so sorry to read this and my heart goes out to you.

i've been travelling so much this summer and am moving cross town next week that my parker-cat has been at my mom's for about a month and a half - i miss her deeply. i'll have her back next friday, but that doesn't excuse the pain of not having her here with me.

i read your story and so much of it rang true for me - i can't even imagine the day that i have to let her go.

my thoughts are with you - i'm so sorry for your loss.



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