Darqstar (darqstar) wrote,

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How do you say good bye?

I've been on a crying jag for the last half hour and it just won't stop.

I was doing some site work and I had the Pokemon CD on. Yes, juvenile I know,but it was a gift from Nickie and mostof the music is chipper and uplifting, so when you're doing boring conversion work, it can keep you going.

The song The Time Has Come came on and that's when I just stopped and started bawling my eyes out.

You see, that's the song that was running through my head the day I had to put Zaphod, my cat to sleep.

We've gone so far
And done so much
And I feel
Like we've always been together
Right by my side
Through thick and thin
You're the part of my life
I'll always remember

The time has come
It's for the best I know it
Who could've guessed that you and I
Somehow someday
We'd have to say good-bye.

Two of a kind
That's what we are
And it seemed
Like we were always winning
But as our team
Is torn apart
How I wish we could go
Back to the beginning

The time has come
It's for the best I know it
Who could've guessed that you and I
Somehow someday
We'd have to say good-bye.

Yes, the song is a tribute to slush and goo, but it was just perfectly fitting. I'm the one that made the decisision to put Zaphod to sleep. And I know, that it was the best thing to do for him, but it doesn't mean I miss him any less.

We had a rough time at the beginning. He was kept in a cage at the vets office from birth to about 6 months old, when I adopted him. I brought him home and he was nothing like any cat I ever owned. All he did was hide under the bed. I pushed food under there to make sure he ate. After two weeks of this, I decided I had to do something, so I moved my bed to the middle of the room. Every night, I would crawl under and take him out. For a half an hour, I would hold him in my arms. In the beginning, he would burry his face in the crook and shake. Then, after a couple months, he would lie there calmly and even purr a bit. But the moment I put him down, he would run under the bed.

Finally though, he learned that the world was not such a bad place, at least when I was around. I would pull him out from under the bed and I got it so I could go to sleep with him in my arms and he would spend most of the night there.

Little by little, I was able to convince him to give the world a try when I wasn't there. I started by putting the litter box out from under the bed, but right beside it. Then moved it a little further and further.

Eventually, he started to like the world, at least the house I was living in. He started exploring it. Then, every once in awhile, he would start to run up and down the stairs, sometimes for hours at a time. Me and my roommates laughed, but I always figured it he did it because he finally knew, the bars were gone, the cage was gone. He was free.

But he never really wanted too big a world. My roommate decided to let him out once and when I came home from work, I found him crying pittifully in the bushes, afraid to move. The outside might have seemed interesting, but once he got there, he was scard. So, I picked him up and carried him inside. For two days, he hid in my room again.

Eventually, Todd came out to live with me and we found our own place together. There was no question of allowing him outside when we moved. The city is too dangerous for a whimp cat like Zaphod. That didn't bother him at all. As long as he could look out the window, that was all the outside he needed.

He never liked strangers and their presence in the house was the signal for him to disappear completely. In fact, we had friends that joked that we didn't even have an orange striped cat, because they never saw him.

Every night though, he slept on my bed. Preferably in my arms. I had a perminant bruise on my chin from where he would "head-butt" it, rather hard. Every bit of dark colored clothing I owned always had orange fur on it.

We held conversations too. I would come home and he would run to the door. I would say, "Hey there, Phod!" and he would answer. "Mrup!" This would go on, sometimes for hours. I'd say whatever was on my mind, and he would respond in cat. While I would like to think that he understood and was trying his best to give me advice, I'm sure the real conversation to him, was more like this:

Me: Blah blah blah

Zaphod: Are you going to feed me?

Me: Yadda yadda yadda

Zaphod: Some tuna fish would be nice.

Me: Blah blah blah

Zaphod: Okay, I'll settle for canned food.

Me: Yadda yadda yadda

Zaphod: All right, I'll even take those terrible crunchy things.

But he loved me. I know he loved me.

When I went through the fainting troubles, I was pulled out of work. At the same time, our appartment building was being renovated. One afternoon I blacked out going from the living room into the kitchen. When I came too, two of the guys who were working on the house were there to make sure I was all right. I asked them how they knew and they told me, "Your orange cat came to the window and started screaming and howling so loudly, we knew something was wrong." Yes, Zaphod had alerted them. Zaphod, the cat that was terrified of other people, ran to the window and screamed until he caught their attention. That's love.

I had that cat for fourteen years, almost to the day. He came to me just before Christmas and just before Christmas we had to let him go. It was as if he became old overnight. On Thursday, he was his same old frisky self, on Friday, his coat was dull, his eyes were dull, and he moved like he was a million years old. We wern't able to take him to the vet until Sunday, and Saturday I did whatever I could to make him comfortable. I bought canned shrimp and tuna fish, just to get him to eat. I dribbled water in his mouth to make sure he drank.

The vet said that it would cost over 300 dollars just to deterimine what was wrong with him. He also told us that considering his age, nothing would be simple. His kidneys were swollen and he was showing signs of either kidney failer or cancer or likely both. Either way, there would have been no cure. He would have had to undergo expensive, uncomfortable proceedures or risky surgery.

The vet left the room to let Todd and I discuss it. I held Zaphod in my arms and wondered what to do. Zaphod looked at me, with this look he so often had. The look said, "I trust you; I love you." But there was another look as well. This look said, "I am in terrible pain. I am miserable and sick and I'm trusting you to do what is best for me."

It was then that I knew that to try to prolong his life would be something done purely for my own selfish reasons.

I told the vet I wanted to be there when he was put to sleep. I held him tightly in my arms, while the vet first gave him a relaxant, so he wouldn't feel the pain of the final needle. We put a towel on my lap and I held him while the vet gave the final shot. Before he even took the needle out of the vien, Zaphod was gone.

If I have one comfort, it's knowing that Zaphod died probably the way he wanted to. Being held and comforted by the one person who he trusted and loved above all others, me.

My chin has healed now. But oh, what I wouldn't give to have that bruise again, and to see orange fur all over my black dress. Or to wake up in the middle of the night, huddled in a tiny corner of my bed because a 12lb cat had taken up the other 90%

Does the pain ever go away?


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