Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cody

Cody was pretty cool, very mellow. He came to us from a neighbor when she was moving away to Florida about 14 or 15 years ago. When my neighbor asked if we wanted to adopt one of her loved ones, I turned to my wife and told her it was her decision. My wife sort of cringed, felt compelled to say yes to her friend and neighbor, and we had a cat named Cody. She was pretty mad at me later on, and demanded to know why I had left it up to her instead of just saying no. I don’t know why for sure, maybe I just figured she and Cody would be good for one another, and besides that I liked cats – and liked Cody. Cody was already about 5 or 6 years old when we got him. All these numbers are as best as I recall, I may be off on how long ago we took him in, or how old he was when we took him in, but the one set of numbers I have pretty much right is his age. He was either 19 or 20 years old, when much to the sadness, we had to have him put to sleep.

Over the past 2 year, Cody was a thin eating machine. He could eat 3 full cans of cat food a day and not gain an ounce, some sort of old age ailment he had for the last 2 years of so. In fact he was very thin, very skinny. The vet could not figure exactly what was wrong with him. Maybe a cancer, maybe thyroid, maybe this or that, but the tests all came back okay a few times. So for the past two years we just fed him more than we had over all the other years he was in our company. Yet he got around okay though slower, was still friendly, played with the dogs, loved his catnip, and had a fairly good life right up through and including his old age.

That was until lately, a few weeks ago, when he started having some problems. He would sometimes do his dirty deeds in odd places in the house, and he looked dazed and confused oft times lately. He walked right into the fridge a few days ago. So my wife, Linda, had scheduled a trip to the vet for today to euthanize him. No one in the family, of course, was happy about it. I guess we were all sort of dreading it. As it wound up, Linda found out she had to work at the time of the appointment, so I was going to be the one to bring him in tonight. So yesterday, since I had off for MLK day, I spent some extra time with him in the house alone except for the dogs and us, and I fed him a nice meal of solid white meat tuna fish, and I gave him some cat nip to enjoy.

It is funny how fate takes a hand in things. No one in the family, not Celina, Brendan, Linda or I was ready to see him depart – he seemed okay most of the time, but I’ll admit that all to often he was failing in his abilities. Then yesterday, while he was eating his tuna dinner, he fell off the ledge where his cat bowl was kept to be out of reach of the family dogs. I went to investigate the tumbling noise on the stairs that had set all 3 dogs to yapping; and I saw him struggling to right himself. Cody seemed dazed, but he went right back to the tuna. He finished most of it. Then he went into the living room and I noticed he was swaying, he did not seem able to control his back legs all that well. That was one of his symptoms a couple of years ago when he first got ill and lost weight, but we had not seen that in quite a long time. After awhile he went back to finish the tuna. Some time after that I noticed he was really walking/falling like a drunken sailor. I picked him up and I laid him in one of his favorite spots for a nap. Soon after he was up and stumbling again. I got him, held him petted him, and he slept for while.

Somewhere in there my wife called me and I had to pick her up from work. I told my wife she must have had some timing to have made an appointment for Cody for the following day because he had gotten really bad that afternoon. On the way back home, Brendan, our son, called to say Cody was at the bottom of the cellar stairs not moving. That was where I had left Cody sleeping. Brendan had gotten home from a friend’s house while I was out, and found Cody in his poor state. Linda told Brendan to call the vet, which is what I had figured to do when we had gotten home, but since Brendan works there I guess it was better for him to call.

When Linda and I got home, Brendan and I were soon off to the vet. We checked in, were told we would have to wait a long time, then decided to wait at home for the vet to call us in since we only lived a few minutes away. This gave Linda and Celina a short while more with Cody, and gave Cody a short while more in the comfort of home. The call back to the vet came too short a time later; and Brendan and I found ourselves back at the vet’s office. My wife had tears in her eyes each time we had left with Cody, and my daughter seemed pretty upset too. We waited in the reception are a short time, then Brendan was called into one of the examination rooms with Cody. He came out a few seconds later. A minute or so after that he was called back in to see Cody, already gone then, for the last time. At least it was very quick, and I suppose painless.

It is hard to lose a friend of many years, even when the friend was just a cat named Cody. Remember how I said Linda had cringed, then got mad at me, because I said it was up to her as to whether or not we took in Cody from our neighbor. Well guess who cried the most that Cody was gone? She loved him an awful lot, they had been good for one another indeed! How could we not love him? Cody was a good cat, friendly, and he loved my kids a lot. He used to sleep with each when they were younger. As one grew older, he slept with the other. Then last year he started to sleep downstairs. I guess old age was catching up, or was it because our newest dog, a baby Chihuahua slept downstairs, and Cody wanted to sleep with the youngster in the house. I think that may have been it, because that is where he slept, with the puppy. He always got along pretty good with our dogs too, once he was introduced to them. He liked to curl up on our laps when we watched TV; that is when our Dachshund was not already in his spot. He was just an all around good family cat. It may have been our imaginations, but yesterday even the dogs seemed to know something was afoot with Cody. They seemed to be paying more attention to him just before we left for the vet, and seemed somewhat skittish. We are all going to miss him very much, but we will also remember the long and good life he had with us with some happiness in our hearts.

All the best,
GB

1 comment:

GreyBeard said...

We've gone though "pet grief" a number of times, it's rough. And, not everyone understands.