12/26/2017-I'm a huge Futurama fan, which has recently been playing on the SyFy network. Once again watched the ending to the "Jurassic Bark" episode. I'm not going to go into detail about it, except to say its a heart breaking testament to loyalty, and the saddest ending to a comedy I've ever seen. Every pet owner should check it out. It brought me back to thinking about Poopy, and pulled the sadness to the surface. As we head into a new year, we're both missing her a ton. I'd give a lot for a couple minutes of lap time. But even more, I'm seeing things. A calico flash. A curled tail tip. A blur across the floor, an image in the corner of my eye that's not there when I look right at it. And of course, nothing's ever there with a second direct look. I generally don't give any currency to ghosts and such, but these flashes are both unsettling and hopeful. If there is a realm where some part of her essence exists, and it's intersecting with ours, it gives me some hope. It's a comfort to imagine that she's somewhere, free of her Brokedown Palace, playing with new friends, wowing the boys, and waiting for me to show up. |
10/3/2017-Been two weeks since Poopy departed. We've been thinking about her a lot today. Wanted to thank everyone who took the time to make such kind and supportive entries to Poopy's Guestbook. We're happy you enjoyed her story. I see I have a lot of letters to use, so there will be additions.
9/27/2017-Let me introduce you to Poopy. She became a family member in 2000. My wife and I decided we wanted to bring another cat into our lives, and visited our local animal shelter. We peered into the cages, looking for that lightning bolt. Had some interest in one kitten, but learned she'd been promised to another family. Disappointed, we were on our way out, when this kitty bulled her way to the front of her cage, stuck her paw through the bars at me, and yelled "Take me! Take me!" We were impressed by her enthusiasm, and decided to take her on. By god, as it turned out, she adopted us!
We took Poopy home a few days later after the required spaying. Took a while to get our relationships figured out, but as with all good cat/human stories, it worked out. As a kitten, she was kind of cute, nothing special. Her card ID'ed her as a "muted calico". If you saw her as a kitten, there was no inkling she'd turn out the way she did. She was, by any standard, a beauty, a real Fancy Cat. We believe Poopy was totally aware of her looks. She didn't walk, she strutted into the room. When she saw a camera pointed at her, she worked it like Heidi Klum. To the very end, even the night before she left us, I took some iPhone shots, and she was doing it like it was Fashion Week.
Poopy's personality was a kaleidoscope. Loving, standoffish, demanding, opinionated, headstrong, vigilant, territorial, demonstrative; you name it, she expressed it. In other words, total cat! She terrorized veterinarians wherever she went. She was one of those cats with special notes in her chart. She always had a special place in her heart for food. But amazingly, it turned out she was great with kids! Patient and never lashed out at a child, like she knew children were something more delicate and precious than us.
Poopy got more affectionate as she aged, with a lot of lap time for us. She always escorted me to bed. Made sure I got tucked in and safely asleep before she went off and did whatever deviltry cats do when you're not awake, though by and large, when me or my wife woke up, she was curled up in between us.
As Poopy aged, as so many of us know from our shared experiences, she declined. It began with orthopedic problems, like arthritis and sprains. We treated her with pain meds, and in the last year of her life, cannabis drops (highly recommend!!!). She developed kidney disease, and in the last few months, tested for hyperthyroid. She got stiff as a board, and it gradually got more and more difficult for her to get around. We were keeping her afloat with her kidney food, a weekly pain shot, and her THC drops.
The turning point was the hyperthyroid diagnosis. We put Poopy on medication prescribed by the vet, and she went off a cliff health-wise. We'll never know if it was a reaction to the meds or just a rapidly escalating disease process, and at this point, it doesn't matter. But 10 days ago, on Sunday night, we watched as Poopy stumbled for about six feet. She stopped in her tracks and sat there with her chest heaving for a long while, trying to catch her breath. It was then we know she was dying from heart failure. There was no way we were going to subject Poopy to such a horrible death, drowning in her own fluids. I called one of our nearby Rainbow Bridge vets the next morning and made the appointment.
I have to hand it to our little gal; a fighter to the end. Her last morning, Poopy got herself up and to the litter box to do her business, like a proper cat. Her entire life, she never, ever went outside the box. Way too much class. She then forced herself to limp into our kitchen, where she stretched out on the cool tiles, which she enjoyed.
While I sat with her in the kitchen, I sang her a Grateful Dead ballad, Brokedown Palace, a loving and heartfelt farewell to departing loved ones. Copied the lyrics below for you all. After that, Poopy got up and made it back to her bed. Shortly thereafter, the vet arrived. At 10:40 AM on September 19, 2017, we sent Poopy over the Bridge. I am glad that the last thing she was conscious of was being in my lap, encircled in my arms. It was a serene and beautiful death. I can only hope the same for myself. We buried her in the side yard; covering her grave with large, beautiful stones from the Lake Tahoe area. I commune with her often.
I've taken lessons from Poopy over the years. Loving, caring for something and someone, being happy together, and making the difficult decision. But the most important and final one she imparted to me was never, ever take anything for granted. I will keep that (and her) with me for the rest of my days. And with that, I'm happy I was able to share a bit of Poopy with you.
BROKEDOWN PALACE (Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter)
Fare you well, my honey, fare you well my only true one.
Going to leave this brokedown palace,
In a bed, in a bed, by the waterside I will lay my head.
River going to take me, sing sweet and sleepy,
Goin' home, goin' home, by the riverside I will rest my bones,
Going to plant a weeping willow,
Fare you well, fare you well, I love you more than words can tell,
I'm gonna listen to the river sing sweet songs, to rock my soul...