Thursday 26 August 2010


Our main man passed away yesterday. He had recently stopped eating, lost a substantial amount of weight in a short period of time, and his liver was in bad shape. The vet assured me that none of these things were particularly good signs for a cat of Oreo's health and age. We had to choose between going through with a number of tests that would likely lead to procedures that we couldn't afford or putting him down. It was one of the toughest decisions we've had to make (or rather one of the toughest decisions we didn't really have the freedom of making). I now have a better appreciation for veterinarians that have to deal with hysterical pet owners. I knew this day might come, but I was still wrecked to find myself there in the middle of it.

Oreo had his problems before this incident. About 3 years ago we spent a small fortune to fix up his mega colon (which is exactly how it sounds). Even after this he had to take 2 forms of medication with each meal, and went though periods of, um, intestinal instability. Dennis and I got used to Oreo going through bad spells, and most of the time we could nurse him through them.

Dennis and I adopted Oreo from The Humane Society about 4 years ago. He was the most affectionate cat at the shelter, and all he had to do was look at me with that intense gaze of his and I was in love. As you can see in the photos above, he was an absolute champion of deep looks! He'd been at The Humane Society for some time, probably because of his rather rotund frame and his unfortunate history with urinating in places where one shouldn't be urinating. But it was love at first sight, and all the other cats paled in comparison. They were all too dissmissive, too physically fit, and far too potty trained (ha). Oreo wasn't exactly the most original or creative name for a black and white short hair, but it felt weird to change it on him (though it probably wasn't even really his name to begin with). Plus, it was an excellent name to work into all our various theme songs, of which we had many.

It took a while for him to adjust to our home. A bit aggressive at first, he didn't like to be touched anywhere near his stomach. I've got a little scar above my eye to show for this adjustment period. We frequently wondered what his life was like before - 8 years of absolute mystery! Or least an estimated 8 years of mystery, as we never really knew how old he was when we adopted him. But we worked with him slowly, and soon he became a master of comfort and affection, with a side of his sly attitude intact. Never skittish or scared, he ruled the roost with confidence, and over the years we've doted on him almost embarrassingly. He would lay on the couch on his back with all his weight spread out (a crowd pleasing position we called "cookies up") completely relaxed and happy.

And yes, like most cats, he could certainly be frustrating. We put plastic on our couch whenever we left the house or went to bed so he wouldn't pee on it. He woke us up every morning at 6:30 am for food. Ever the resourceful guy, he slammed on the kitchen cupboard doors to get our attention. If he wanted to be seen and heard, he made it his mission. He would sit on top of books or magazines I was reading to divert my attention his way. He was quite the drama queen, and his dedication was truly impressive.

Far from an independent guy - he rarely retreated to rooms that we weren't in. Much like a dog, he met us at the door anytime we came home and he always tried his best to steal our food. When I woke up Dennis in the morning, Oreo jumped on the bed and woke him up too. When he plopped his gigantic frame in my lap, I was always happy to be suffocated. And I secretly loved that, ever the opportunist, he stole my spot on the couch every single time I got up from it. I pretended to be offended of course - but it was our spot.

He had his flaws, but none of them really mattered - he was perfect. Our house already feels quiet and empty without him. I know that in time this feeling will soften and evolve, but for now we both feel understandably sad and confused. He will be missed, but at least it's nice to know, that in the end, he enriched our lives as much as we did his.


Amanda said...

I am so sorry to hear about your kitty. It sounds like he was one of the best kind of pals. I bet he loved living with you guys and I bet he was so happy to have had a family.


Candice said...

oh man. i'm so sorry. i actually shed some tears when tim told me what was i can only imagine what you and dennis are going through. to happier memories of such a dignified, good-looking fella! all my love xoxo


Aw, thanks so much you guys. xo