Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Adams Pussycat Hairypaws Hickman, 2004 - 2016

On October 11, my two cats and I were enjoying a nice, quiet afternoon in the front room reading (me) and snoozing (them). Adams was on the couch. Suddenly he started a sneezing barrage. It woke him up. He stood up looking grumpy, and I said, "Gesundheit!" and he turned his sweet face to me, all bright-eyed and interested, and I know he was thinking, "She's talking to me! Ima gonna go get some pettins!" I said, "God bless you!" (in case he didn't understand German).

And he turned around and jumped down off the couch, now hidden behind the lounger. He started making noises like he was going to puke (he did that several times a week) so I grabbed a sheet of newspaper and leapt over there to try to catch it - but he wasn't vomiting, he was seizing. In the one second it took for me to get to him, I could see by his eyes that he wasn't there any more, even though his body was still seizing. I ruffled his fur and spoke to him - I don't remember what I said - then raced upstairs to get my shoes and back down again - and in those 5 seconds (I was *really* moving), he had gone for good.

One second, peacefully, happily sleeping in one of his favorite spots. 5 seconds later, gone. Not really knowing what I was doing, I called his vet. She came right on line, and then I realized there was nothing she could do. I apologized but she kept me on the line for several minutes, sympathizing and oh, just being so kind. She had pulled up his records, and said the last time he was there, in July, for his lion cut, he was in perfect health. They did blood screens for him every time he got shaved, because they had to sedate him else he wouldn't tolerate the process. And that day when I picked him up, the other vet who handed him over to me exclaimed about what good shape his teeth were in: "He's got the teeth of a two-year-old cat!" So on October 11, the vet told me it was most likely a stroke that killed him. She assured me emphatically that they could tell he was well-cared-for. 

I live alone (except for my cats)(er, now, cat) and I held my sweet Adams in my arms and just howled. I cried until I couldn't anymore. For the next week I went around in a daze, crying when I saw his kibbles bowl, a patch of his fur, when I cleaned the litter boxes. I kept expecting him to be coming around the corner, talking to me. Whenever I was doing stuff in the kitchen, he would get up on top of the microwave on its rolling cart, and do a little Adams dance with his front feet, and talk to me demanding pettins. And he always got them, he was so damn cute I couldn't resist. In the couple of months before he died, I was *finally* getting to where he'd allow me to brush him all over - for a few strokes. He loved me brushing his cheeks, but it took a long time for him to realize the all-over brushing felt pretty good, too. (His sister gets brushed every morning and loved it from the start.) I called him my Eeyore cat, because when O'Keefe would barge in between us, jealous of my petting him, he'd meander off to the other side of the room and sit there, his head down, looking dejected (I always made it up to him). He was timid, and quiet, and so loving.

On the night in early 2014 when I had an infection go septic, the only image I remember of the moments the EMs were in the house bundling me up to go into the ambulance, was Adams' worried little face, looking at me between their legs, trying to get to me (my dear friend who'd come when I called her, mostly delirious. kept having to pull him out of the way, she says). That image, and the last, bright, happy look just before he jumped down off the couch, will stay with me until I die.

I can still feel his fur, the muscles in his back, the delicate bones in his front legs, his whiskers tickling when he rubbed his face on mine, his warmth. It still doesn't seem quite real. But, he's gone. Another loving little soul tucked deep in my heart that I will treasure there forever. 

ETA: Well, really to subtract the "last month" since I only just realized that we're already in December, so October is not last month. - T.

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