Friday, June 6, 2008

Haunted House

A few weeks ago our last cat died. Her name was Zeebo and she had been sick for quite some time with a thyroid condition. We tried to give her medicine but it just made her scared to come near us. Also she was 16 so it wasn't it a huge shock that she was declining.

On May 18th KosherCook found her laying in the middle of the basement floor, unable to use her hind legs. KosherCop and I said goodbye to her as he took her off to the animal hospital in the carrier she made no protest getting into.

Now, I have to admit, I never really developed as much affection for this cat as our others. She was sweet but way more aloof than our males - she wouldn't sit on my lap or even next to me. And when she did let me pet her she could never just stand or sit still - she was always wiggling around as if annoyed and disappointed: "Pet me! Pet me! No! No! You aren't doing it right."

This was the 4th of the quartet of cats KosherCook and I had owned between us - both before and after we got married. We each had started with two - I had Zak and Sneezy (who had died before we even met) and he had Zeebo and her brother Wiploc. Wiploc died shortly after we moved in together and I had the grave misfortune of finding my new fiance's cat, dead on our apartment floor. In a massive display of denial I took his already stiffened body to the animal hospital and asked them to check if he was really gone. They actually humored me and attempted to take his pulse.

Then when KosherCop was about 2 we walked into the diningroom and I found my own beloved cat Zak exactly the same way. Only this time I had to pretend nothing was wrong - "No don't touch the kitty, he's sleeping" - and quietly insisted that KosherCook deal with it this time.

So that left Zeebo, who became increasingly vocal and insistently whiny as time went on. I begged KosherCook for close to a year to put her down - citing everything from it being more humane than letting her suffer to it being more humane than letting me suffer finding yet another deceased pet.

So now she's gone and the house feels really really weird. I had considered all the possibilities that a cat-free house would offer - a windowsill herb garden, drapes, new furniture, less cleaning. But we had both lived with one or more cats for the last 18 years. Turns out the house makes all sorts of noises that are apparently not made by any cat. I didn't realize how much I relied on the cats' moods for my own peace of mind. They were the barometer by which I measured the "all's well-ness" of the house - calm cat on the couch meant no intruders, agitated cat meant start looking for a problem.

But now I have to trust the locks on the doors alone and I keep seeing her quick little black body out of the corner of my eye. A bunchy black lump on the couch nearly gave me a heart attack, until I realized it was just my sweater. Until recently, a sweater - especially a black one - would never be on the couch for the cat hair. Several times I was sure I could still hear her meowing outside our bedroom door.

I feel most uneasy in the house at night, but I have to resist the urge to run out and get a kitten. Despite KosherCop's lobbying for it or his new game pretending to be a kitten and insisting I'm the mother cat. Despite KosherCook's refusal to throw away the litterbox - he cleaned it out and left it where it was. Despite the fact that I haven't picked up her empty water dish yet...

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