Jul 24, 2017
I have been distracted the past couple of weeks which has gotten in the way of my column. You see Mr. Peabody (my cat) had come in from some nocturnal activity two weeks ago and he was missing his right front canine tooth. He had a kind of tangle toothed look but in every way seemed perfectly content to go about his business as usual. A day later he stopped eating his food and began lying in one place throughout the day. This was pretty unusual behavior for him. He normally finds two or three perches throughout the day where he can look down on his kingdom. On this day he chose to lie under my desk and it didn’t seem that he moved at all through the day. He seemed alert and responded to my calls, but he did not come over to get his usual pets. By Wednesday he was completely listless. I finally decided that there was something wrong with him, so I took him to the vet (his first visit in 10 years). He perked up during the examination, so much so they had to put a collar over his neck and he still howled and hissed and clawed me. All-in-all the examination proved inconclusive and he was given a pain-killer and antibiotics for me to administer a couple of times a day. I was actually fairly pleased to see him react so strongly, it gave me some hope that he was getting better.
Throughout the next week he continued to lie in one spot under the desk and became more and more lethargic. Finally I brought him back to the vet since he hadn’t been eating and had intestinal distress for an entire week, They sedated him this time and examined him. They were concerned because they could feel things in his abdomen so they scheduled an ultrasound for him the following day. It took fifteen minutes for the pictures to come back to me. It was clear through this examination that he had many tumors. I had prepared myself to make the decision to euthanize him if they gave this verdict, but still it was a very difficult moment for me.
I had been with Mr. Peabody for 14 years. He came to me as a stray kitten. I had never lived with a cat before. I found him both frustrating (he would knock things down from counters; he would throw up hair balls; he ripped up furniture with his claws; and his hair was everywhere). Yet in the same amount of time he grew under my skin. Every morning when I would open my door he would come in and jump in my lap and expect me to pet him for at least a half hour before he would go about the business of the day. He would greet me at the door like a dog always does. He was just a part of my daily routine.
Last Wednesday I said goodbye to Mr. Peabody. I couldn’t say his name the first day without getting a catch in my throat. I was grateful that I could distract myself through work. The days after that got better. I am grateful that he was part of my life for these past fourteen years. I am not sure if I will get another pet yet. I know I won’t consider anything until the rectory is built and I am living in it, but that will take its time, so I am not sure how I will feel then.