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Autosomal Viking
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 10:35 PM
Cougar, my lifelong friend of 19 years. You were family.


http://oi54.tinypic.com/2ajs8i1.jpg

Cougar II
May 25, 1992 to September 26, 2011

Only a week ago I was home and you seemed not sick at all. I'm glad I coincidentally took some video of you, which was very fortunate and out of the ordinary.

I remember picking you out of your litter at a petshop in the mall in Capitola, California as a child of five years. I was fascinated by the pronounced orange stripes of especially your tail, and your markings in general. I remember the store worker trying to tell me how to hold you for the first time, but I didn’t care, and neither did you. I sat on the step holding you, glad to have you, and you seemed passively happy to be held outside of your container. You’ve always been the same size to me, because we grew at about the same rate.

I remember walking you around your new neighborhood as a kitten in a red cat harness and leash so you would know where you were to live. I remember you ‘stalking’ behind me and running to catch up as I turned corners as I played with my friends around the neighborhood. You even tried to get to me through the second-story window of a friend’s house while we were playing SNES one day. You used to catch for me garter snakes and alligator lizards without hurting them, because they tasted bad you but you knew I liked them. You destroyed the entire neighborhood gopher population, being the supreme hunter you were.

For a few years I bore a scar on my left hand that I received when I annoyed you. It was my own fault, and I actually liked the scar because it reminded me of you. It later faded and would only show up with hot water, and later not at all. I wish it still showed up with hot water. After writing this, I took a shower getting ready for school, hoping that the scar would appear. It didn’t, but I remembered I do have a ‘mark of Cougar’ on the inner part of my other arm, several inches long in fact, but not very visible. It can be seen when it’s pointed out, which makes me slightly happy.

You were a wild cat, and would somehow tunnel through the thorny blackberry bushes that would connect to the tunnels that we kids had cut out of the bushes. I saved your life once: when you climbed up a tree too high above the second story and couldn’t get down, you meowed at the top of your lungs. I heard you, thankfully, recognizing your voice immediately, and carried you down in my shirt with one hand.

We moved back to Florida and you adjusted well to the new hot and humid climate. You were with me during those two rough years of middle school, before moving to a better neighborhood for high school. Every day I walked home from high school, you were there waiting in the driveway to happily greet me. You sat there the entire day waiting for me, just for me to pet you for a few minutes and to follow me inside. Inside or outside, you liked to follow me around, hoping to sit on me or be petted. I saved your life twice: I was attempting to open the partially open garage door that we keep open for you, but it went down intead of up. You stuck your head underneath, and in a split second decision, I stuck my foot with my leather shoe under the mechanical garage door, smashing my foot, but sparing your neck. It hurt a bit, but it would have hurt a lot more to lose you then.

You would sit on me for hours if I let you. You would come to me without question if I wished and communicated it to you. You even tried to follow us on every walk around the neighborhood if we let you. When I would sleep too late on the weekends, almost to noon, you would meow at my door and jump on me to wake me up if someone opened the door for you.

When I commuted to university, you likewise waited for me every day in the front yard to drive home. You learned what my car looked like and would begin to walk to the exact same spot with complete trust, only feet from my car, before I had even pulled into the driveway. You would say, "rau, rau, rau!" to me and wait for me to pet you, then roll in the sand on the sidewalk while hoping that I would pet you more. Then you would follow me inside, as was the routine. Even at this age, you would catch lizards for us, not because you liked the way they tasted, but because you liked bringing them to us; mostly unharmed.

You were there for the time that I had graduated but did not yet have direction. I wish I had spent a little more of that time with you, for I was not expecting you to be gone quite so soon. Even at this old of age, you were still playful and would chase a piece of grass that I dragged in front of you, and would run in circles around me chasing it. I remember that one time I was barefoot and you stepped on me while playing with you like this. You accidently cut me with your back claws. It hurt, but the memory is now sweet. You really wanted that piece of grass.

Only two days ago, I was in lab when I received a text from home that you were not well. I finished my duties, and received another text that you were waiting to say goodbye. I had prepared for this moment a while back, but I let it slip out my mind because you had lived so along already, I was convinced you would not die any time soon. When I reached the driveway, I saw you lying on the porch. You did not greet me, and I was worried that you were already dead. I called your name and you did not respond, which is very unlike you. I picked up the bench and moved it so I could kneel down and make eye contact with you to evaluate your consciousness. You were not alert at all until I tried petting you, and I could tell that you knew it and liked it from the minute movement of your tail and head. I was able to rouse you to consciousness to make eye contact, so I knew I was not too late.

Your kidneys were failing and your breath smelled of ammonia. Your immune system was failing and had slightly bloody and infected gums, with uric acid leaking onto my hand. But I didn’t care. I switched out of my professional clothes really fast and held you while sitting on the ground, with you now mostly alert, happy to be held by your owner. Almost an hour must have passed, and a thunderstorm was coming. I thought, "how fitting," and moved onto the back porch to hold you in a chair for the last time when it began to rain. I was informed that the veterinarian office closed at seven o’clock, and knowing that it was already passed six, I had very limited time with you. I held you, petted you, and told you my memories about you. I wanted to do what was best for you, and knowing that you were terminal, there was no better alternative. I concluded that it would be better to end your life that hour with me there with you, rather than me to go back to school and have you die a day or two later. I saved your life twice, but this time I couldn’t save you.

My father drove us to the vet while I concentrated on remembering every last moment of holding you. I noticed you looked out the window once, and imagined it from your point of view; the last visions of your life, a dark, rainy dusk. For the first time in your life, you did not meow in the car and were not afraid at all. You did not mind the rain at all from the parking lot to the lobby of the vet office. You were conscious for as long as I held you, but when you were brought into the lobby of the vet office, you meowed for the first time that evening, a type of meow I knew from you as a sign of helplessness and despair. “Roah… roah…” It was all I could do from breaking into tears in the lobby when the clerk lady asked what was the problem. “Renal failure…”

In the back room, the vet confirmed that it was renal failure and gave Cougar a 5% chance of recovery for a week at maximum. I had no hope before then, and knew I was taking him to give him up. I asked the vet where they do the euthanasia, and he was surprised when I told him I wanted to be with my cat as they did it. Cougar was again barely conscious as he was on the front porch, now lying on the veterinarian table. He lied there limp, like he was tired and ready to go to sleep even as I petted him. The vet and the technician came back, and Cougar momentarily roused awake, looking backward to see what they were doing. Uninterested, he lied back down to his semi-conscious state. He was lying on a towel for comfort and the vet needed to turn him to access his vein, breaking my eye contact with him. I repositioned to maintain eye contact, still petting his head. I looked at the vets just before they were to put the injection in, and maintained eye contact with my dear pet. He did not respond at all to the prick of the injection, and his semi-conscious stare into my eyes became an unconscious stare just as quickly. I was still petting him, and the vet said that he was already gone before the injection was even complete. I put my forehead on my arm on the table for a moment, just letting it sink in that Cougar was gone. That moment did not hurt so much. The dying part was much worse than the already gone part. It was a mixture of sadness and relief.

I will miss you, dear Cougar of 19 years, my lifelong friend. You were family and I grieve your loss. It is impossible for me to forget you.

Frostbite
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 10:42 PM
Oh I'm so sorry :(


edit: now i'm crying. it's so hard when your pet dies.

Linden
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 10:52 PM
You provided Cougar with love and care. Thanks to you Cougar had a quality of life many domestic cats never experience.

Of course, I was very sorry to learn of your loss, and hope that both you and your family recover from this sad loss quickly.

velvet
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 11:07 PM
I'm so sorry, AV :|


You had wonderful 19 years with him, that's a proud age for a cat.

I know all too well how it feels to lose such a long time furry friend... :(

Germaid
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 11:18 PM
AV, I'm sorry for your loss. People who have never had a pet they loved cannot understand how painful their death can be. Pets are not "only animals", they are faithful and loyal friends and for lots of lonely people the only source of affection.

I know how it feels. The day I had my dog euthanised was one of the worst in my life. Your brain knows it's the right decision, but your heart bleeds nonetheless, especially when you've had your pet for so many years. When my birdie died this year (after 20 years), it was a very sad day with lots of tears. I gets better as time goes by, but once in a while when I think of my late pets I might shed a tear or two. :~(

BritishLad
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 11:22 PM
sorry, i remember how sad i was when Suky died, Suky was me first cat i actually remember (mum had a cat called Gizmo but i was too young to remember Gizmo). Me second Flixy also died at around 2-3 about 5-6 years ago now, she got ran over, i wasnt as sad as i was with Suky because i was expecting something like that ,it was still sad though! And now we have Ruby and touch wood shell live for at least another 15-20 years!

Wychaert
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 11:26 PM
Sad..A few months ago our cat Nina died as well.. also with such a long lifespan..19 years...

Take care AV, You will pull through!!

Huginn ok Muninn
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 11:43 PM
Sorry to hear about Cougar's passing... he had a long life, but those who do just ingrain themselves into our hearts that much more.

Thusnelda
Thursday, September 29th, 2011, 02:44 PM
I love cats and I have a deep connection of friendship to my cats. They´re like family members who´re always there for you and who like you unconditionally, regardless if you have done something wrong or right. They got their own will but know where they belong to and know which people have earned their deepest trust.

I feel your pain and misery and I´m really sorry! :( But you loved your cat and always cared for her, and I´m sure she knew it and hasn´t forget about it until the very end. :kitty: We can´t do more to our kittens than this! :)

Wulfram
Thursday, September 29th, 2011, 03:15 PM
I'm sorry to hear that. I grew up in the country and lost a couple to coyotes when I was a child, both of them very dear to me(This prompted my father to build extensive fencing around the property). I still think of them from time to time. The one I have right now I'm very attached to and hope to have her for as long as you had yours.

Ælfrun
Friday, October 7th, 2011, 05:50 AM
I hope you are doing okay AV! My condolences.

Todesritter
Friday, October 7th, 2011, 01:15 PM
Sorry for the loss of your friend - yet it sounds like a great run of years was had.

Primus
Friday, October 7th, 2011, 03:47 PM
I don't know why so many people are so callous about animals. The passing of an animal friend is as hard to deal with as the passing of a human friend. It's happened to me once, a pooch that I loved that was put down due to age-related complications. I still think of her, fondly of course, best friend a rowdy little boy ever had. :D

Condolences. :)