I shouldn’t have to write something like this again so soon. In a perfect world, I would never have a reason to write one.
Our oldest “child” Theodore passed away last night. At one point during the day he suffered a stroke and injured his head, probably from falling off something. We came home from work and I found him curled up in the bedroom closet under a rack of clothes. He was barely breathing and he couldn’t move. I am not sure how he got there. We instantly rushed him to the emergency vet where that is what they discovered. He had also lost his vision as well and was barely “still there”. I can’t even imagine how he felt, being able to hear, but unable to see and react to everything going on around him.
Other than he was losing weight, there wasn’t anything that made you think something was wrong, other than the fact that he went from downing treats, to eating half of them, to not having any those past two days. However he was alert and acting normal. Last night when we got home, I was planning to keep an extra tight watch on him to see a few things to bring him to the vet today, but that was not to be.
Sunday night, I remember getting ready for the CMLL show and he was sitting on the bed with Osha, watching me have dinner and purring loud enough to hear across the room. Monday night, got home, sat down on the chair to watch a little TV, and he came running from the sunroom, jumped up on my chest, and purred as I rubbed his back. Tuesday night I was exhausted and collapsed when I came home and when I woke up, both Theodore and Osha were next to me sleeping as well. Other than his not eating treats and looking thinner, there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
At the vets, when they said there really much that could be done at that point, I was crushed. I also feel like I let him down, maybe if we took him Wednesday morning instead, everything would be okay. I really don’t know. Even when you have the chance to say goodbye, it doesn’t help. We sat with him for awhile in the vets, holding him and talking to him. It was destroying me inside because he looked so scared, unable to see, but hopefully still able to hear and recognize our voices. Eventually the vet came in and put him to sleep while I held him. It killed me to be there for that, but it wasn’t about me. I was able to tell him I loved him one more time as his eyes closed. I hope he heard me, more importantly, I hope he lived his life feeling loved. No matter how “strong” you try to be in those circumstances, you can’t be. I lost it then and i’m losing it now as I write this. If there was a way to give up my life just so he could live even just one more day the way he was before this happened, I would’ve given it up right then.
Theodore was a surprise in my life. We went to the pound one Saturday morning in October 2002 looking for a pet, we had passed a mother cat and her three kittens, but ended up bringing another pet home. That really didn’t work out at all and I was feeling really bad about that. I was home Monday and I guess Wayne called in late to work and went back to the pound. Of those cats, only one was left, and that was Theodore. Theodore became the gift to our family that made me love both forever. He was our boy from that point forward.
Most all cats are crazy, but Theodore was crazy on a whole new level. I can mention a million of the crazy things he’s done and still remember more later. When we lived in the condo, during the winter, Wayne would put his winter jacket on one of the kitchen chairs. He loved to hide under the jacket, watching. Then when you walked down the hall, he’d run out, hit you in the legs and take off. He had a passion for warm laundry and when we bought a stack able washer/dryer, while emptying the dryer one day, he decided to just jump inside and sleep in the remaining laundry. He also enjoyed sleeping on the top of televisions, so he was not happy with the invention of the flat panel TV. One year we thought about putting up an x-mas tree and he would climb it, get stuck, then just fall asleep in the tree. Theodore also knew we would never get mad at him. At the condo, our parking space was right in front of our unit. We used to take two small palm trees in the window. As we got into the car, he would jump up next them, knowing we weren’t going to get out of the car, and as we backed up, he’d go onto the plant and start digging up the dirt while we stared at him. He knew…
I guess the two best memories I will always hold from the condo was we had people over for dinner one night, then went to the living room to watch a movie or something. I looked back into the kitchen, and Theodore was up on the table just licking away on the main course. For the other, every spring we’d have the newborn Canadian Geese walk through the property for food, with the adults surrounding them and watching out. Theodore had a staredown with one of the geese for like a half hour in the window.
From there we moved to apartment down the road. We were on the top floor, so he was really enjoying the view from there. He loved being in windows, and here he was able to look down and see a lot of activity. There was a long hallway from the second bedroom to the living room and we had a fish tank at the time. His favorite past time was getting a running start, jumping up at the tank, and scaring the shit out of the fish. He never tried to climb up and get them, he just loved making them all scatter and making the algae freak out and make a nice clean tank look like a sand storm just hit. He also enjoyed being the center of attention. We used to host fairly regular poker games. I guess he decided the attention should be more focused on him, so he decided to jump up on the table and just flop over into the pot of chips and stretch out like he was that was his bed.
From there, we moved down to Atlanta. This was the time when he went from being the only child to having to share the spotlight a bit. When we first got Ratty, we kept her in the laundry room to keep them apart as they got to know each other. We weren’t sure how he’d react to her, but eventually he got her to feel relaxed enough to come out. Though he had his moments, they never seemed to have problems. Ratty was Theodore’s shadow at that point. Even though we were never able to hold and love Ratty like we were able to with Theodore, he was there for her and they got along. Ratty always enjoyed when Theodore would put his front paw over her and groom her. When Osha entered the mix, it was a little crazier, but when Osha wasn’t rough housing and jumping on Theodore, they got along. They would nap together a lot and on rare occasions, I caught them grooming each other. Rare, but relaxing. Guess it was to show they really did like each other.
Theodore was also traveler. He was really good in the car (less going through the mountains) and really enjoyed the adventure of a nice hotel room. I think he traveled more than some people. When we’d we go to games, it was expected he had to go. From being a regular at the then Crowne Plaza in Montreal to Burlington, VT to Lisa’s cottage in the Cape, to eventually his move to Atlanta with stops at Baltimore, MD and Durham, NC. His last trip before the additions of Ratty and Osha was to Tampa, FL for spring training. It was just funny to sit back and watch him explore and have to see everything. His favorite thing always seemed to be the armoire in the Crowne Plaza. It had a hole cut in the back for wiring, so he’d go back there to get inside, push the doors open, come out, and just repeat that for like an hour, like one time he was going to find something new. It was also quite the sight to wake up at 3am and see a giant cat shadow over the room as he sat on the couch, just watching the city below him. Normally he’d come out slowly when new people were around, but he was different on the road. While in Baltimore, we had ordered room service and when the woman came into the room with the food, he was just stretched out on the bed watching her like she was bringing it to him.
It is going to be tough as Theodore has been a part of my life for the past 11+ years. Nothing really bothered Tiddy until we moved down here, then he hated thunder storms. I will miss laying down in the closet next to him to keep him calm and relaxed. I will miss him headbutting me in the morning trying to get some of my breakfast, I will miss him greeting us every day when we come home, I will miss watching TV in the living room and having him jump up on me so I can rub his back, I will miss that loud purr as I rubbed his ears (and he liked them rubbed to the point of being pulled off his head), I will miss holding him, and I will miss going to bed at night, looking over and seeing his face, most of the time already asleep next to me… I will just GREATLY miss Theodore.
To me, this is worse than losing a child because at least a child can communicate when something is wrong. I just hope that like Ratty, we gave him a happy life and that he never felt like we didn’t love him. He will always be in our hearts and memories. Tiddy boy, we will always love you!!