In my last post I mentioned that Timon had been seriously ill, and that I was preparing myself for having to put him down because I more or less knew it was coming. Well, it did, on Wednesday, and my family has been pretty gloomy since.
I think it's particularly hard to lose him because-- well, for one thing he was 17, and that's damn old, but especially because he was a very big presence in the house. Now, when I say this cat was vocal, I mean this cat was freaking vocal
. Timon knew how to tell you he wanted attention, food, petting, water, etc. He knew how to tell you when he was happy and when he was really grouchy (his grouchy meow was much more common in his old age. Basically, imagine Grandpa Simpson in cat version, "I'm cold! This food is too hard, my teeth hurt! There are too many ugly children in your neighborhood!"). So you can imagine how often we heard from him on a daily basis, and how odd it is now to be at my parents' house and not hear his meows.
He was born at my parents' house when I was a kid, and he was the only one of his mom's litter to survive this long. The others ran away or became ill or were adopted by others, it was actually on he and his mother that stayed with us. His mother died a few years ago, while I was in North Carolina, also from complications that come from old age. She was more like your quintessential cat, inclined to be left to her own devices and such. Barnaby and his sister Marceline sometimes remind me of them now, especially since Barnaby has developed his own formidable vocal skills lately ("Pay attention to meeeee!" "I wanna go outside!" "Feed me, feeeed meeeee!" "Are you awake?"). It's especially comforting to have Barnaby now, because of that.
One of my favorite things about his vocal skills was that he seemed to really enjoy going into the bathroom, the bath tub specifically, in order to just meow. I think he liked the way his meows echoed in there. I suppose it was his version of singing. I especially appreciated his knowledge of this when he used the fact that his meows echoed in there to get my attention early one morning, several years ago. I had been sleeping in my room when I heard his meows in the bathroom, and I remember at first dismissing them because he always did that. He meowed again though, and I realized something was off, his meows just sounded so sad
and that immediately alarmed me. When I walked into the bathroom I found him on the floor, completely unable to lift himself up. He was just splayed out on the tile, unable to do anything but meow pitifully. I honestly thought he was about to die on me then and there. We took him to the vet and it turned out he'd caught something and had gotten severely dehydrated. He stayed overnight with an IV hookup and was just about good as new when we picked him up the next day. I had always thought it was amazing he managed that, considering how near dead he was, it left me wondering how he dragged himself to the bathroom in the first place. I mean, it's especially odd since lots of cats will feel the inclination to hide themselves when they feel ill, not to cry in the one place they know they'll be heard by everyone.
He was such a strange cat. He liked ice cubes in his water. He mostly didn't care about the other pets, except for Pebbles, the only other Old Pet. He enjoyed getting his ears licked by her.
None of my family members wanted to face having to put him to sleep, since it was made clear his kidney failure was irreversible. I picked him up from my mom's house early Wednesday morning and took him myself, with Kevin there for support. I made sure to stay with him the whole time, we told them we'd be present while they put him to sleep. When we went into the room, the technician told me they'd have to take him to the back for a second to put in the catheter on his paw. I asked if I could go, they said I couldn't, so I warned them he'd cry. Sure enough, he cried the whole way and only calmed down when they brought him back to me. I made sure I was the only thing he could see-- that I was the last
thing he'd see-- so he wouldn't be aware of them injecting him. Watching the life go out of my 17 year-old cat is probably the hardest thing I'd ever done. At least with Buster
the choice was taken out of my hands.
I just keep reminding myself that we always did our best to care for him, and that 17 years is a good run. I don't want to be maudlin, it always seems to come off that way when I talk like this about my pets, but it does hurt to think about Timon. I'm just going to do my best to focus on everyone else, especially at this time of year. The whole ordeal has made me a bit tired these days, but what are you gonna do? It's a part of life, unfortunately.