Search Falling Awake
Just Darts Since 2009
He showed up one day over thirteen years ago, sitting on the back stairs of my apartment building. He meowed at me as I went in, and I felt sorry for him, but I wasn’t allowed to keep a pet, and I was sure someone else would take him in. He was there again the next day, and the day after that, getting skinnier and skinnier. I smuggled him in until I could find him a good home.
He explored my tiny apartment while I opened him a can of tuna. He especially liked the thick drapes I had, and he walked back and forth, rubbing himself against them. It had been a while since he had felt anything so soft.
I scoured the classifieds and called the pound and Humane Society, but no one had reported a missing cat. I was angry, because this was obviously not a feral cat and so I knew he had been abandoned. For the next month I asked everyone I knew if they wanted a cat, because I couldn’t keep him. I refused to name him, because he wasn’t staying.
He was a very vocal animal, and made dozens of different cries and calls. Most of them sounded like complaints, which would get on my nerves sometimes. When he just wouldn’t shut up, I would snap, “Grumble, grumble, grumble! That’s all you do!” So then he was named Grumble, and he wasn’t going anywhere.
I had never been a cat person. I never understood how anyone could really love a cat, since they seemed so aloof and independant. Grumble wasn’t. He always wanted to be with me. He followed me from room to room. Whenever I sat down, he wanted to be in my lap. When I was sick, he’d lie next to me in bed all day.
A few years ago, Grumble had a problem with his ear and had to have surgery. When I got him home he was so weak from the operation that he couldn’t get out of his carrier himself, so I took him out and put him on the bed. His ear looked so painful and he looked so out of it that I started to cry. When I did, he struggled to his feet, climbed into my lap and rubbed his head against my face. He wanted to comfort me.
Last July, I noticed he wasn’t well. His stomach was swollen and he was lethargic. The vet couldn’t find anything wrong with him using non-invasive tests, and I didn’t want to put him through surgery at his age without some hope that the problem could be corrected. I decided just to treat the symptoms.
About once a month since then I brought him to the vet’s and had the fluid drained from his abdomen. That, together with heart medicine, had him back to himself most of the time, and his quality of life was what mattered most to me. I think I made the right decision. I hope so, anyway.
Yesterday morning, he couldn’t jump up on my bed. At ten o’clock I took him to the vet, who was very concerned with his color. I had to leave him there for some tests to see if there was any hope. Leaving him there was hard. I brought him home last night and made him comfortable. I even gave him his first full can of tuna all for himself since that first day I took him in, and he drank the water it was packed in, but couldn’t eat.
He climbed off the bed and crawled under it. Then he laid down in the closet. I knew he was looking for a quiet place to die. I tried not to bother him, but I couldn’t stop checking on him every hour or so. At about 3 a.m. I carried him back to bed with me. We slept late this morning–he seemed comfortable curled up next to me. When I had to go to work this afternoon I left him with some more food and water on the bed next to him.
When I got home he wasn’t on the bed, and I knew. He had crawled under the bed again, to hide and die.
I’m going to miss him. I know it will get better, but I can’t imagine that right now. When I decided to keep that skinny stray, I thought I was being charitable by giving him a better life. I didn’t realize he’d give me one, too.
I said the same thing to him every time I left the house. So for the last time:
You’re my good boy, Grumble. Okay, buddy? I’ll see you later.