Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gone, Never Forgotten

This week I had to put my 19 year old cat Frasier down after a long battle with kidney disease. I’d brought him back from the edge several times in the past with doses of subcutaneous fluids and a special diet. But last Friday he started to decline and all of my old tricks weren’t working. By Monday he was obviously feeling bad and all the vet could recommend was more subcutaneous fluids, a heating pad, and an appetite stimulant.

By Monday night he had lost control of his bladder and was unable to walk. He spent the night caterwauling, letting me know he was in pain. Tuesday morning the decision was obvious. He was gone almost before the needle left his skin.

Regulars will recognize Frasier from his frequent blog appearances (notably here.) He had a lot of personality and after nearly 20 years together we had developed quite a friendship. We’d been through a lot together.

I got Frasier from a coworker back when I had a “real” job. He found Frasier at Shelby Park, hiding behind the tires of a parked car. When my coworker saw the car’s owner get behind the wheel and start the engine he ran screaming after her: “Wait! There’s a kitten under your car!” He saved Frasier’s life.

My coworker couldn’t keep him, so I bit. I’ll never forget the day Frasier came home. It was one of those unseasonably warm days in December; I watched through the window as my coworker carried him up the walk to my front door, just a tiny little ball of beige fluff. It’s no exaggeration to say I fell in love with Frasier instantly, through the window, before I’d even met him. My first words to him were, “Hi honey, you’re home!” I named him Frasier Fur after my Christmas tree. We were best friends ever since, despite his penchant for letting me know he was unhappy by peeing on things, like my bed.

Frasier and I went through a lot. Bad boyfriends. A move out of state to a lake in Kentucky ... and a move back to Nashville. Marriage. New cats, new dogs.

My favorite Frasier story involves his soul mate, Sylvie. Sylvie was a little fluffball who came into my life in a very long, convoluted way. The short version is that I got her from Metro Animal Control: she was maybe three weeks old and fit in the palm of my hand. She probably weighed under a pound, and that was mostly fleas and fur. I had to feed her kitten formula by hand her first few weeks with us. She was in bad shape: terrified, traumatized, and desperately needing a friend. Frasier was that friend.

One night I was awakened by a ... sucking sound. That’s the only way I can describe it. I turned on the light and saw Sylvie nursing on Frasier’s boy nipples. It cracked me up. Sylvie “nursed” on Frasier’s belly for months, and if it hurt, he never let on. In fact, she nursed on him so much that his boy nipples swelled and the fur fell off of his stomach. One weekend a neighbor saw Frasier’s belly and asked “oh, is she nursing kittens?” To which I replied, “HE’S nursing ONE kitten!”

Frasier and Sylvie were buddies for the rest of his life. You rarely saw one without the other, even right up to the end. Sylvie misses her friend, I can tell, and I suspect like any long-bonded couple she will be meeting him on the rainbow bridge soon.

I don't have too many Frasier pictures in a digital format, but here are a few:

Frasier On The Porch

Frasier & Sylvie

He Thinks He'll Keep Her