Skip to content

Grief is the Price We Pay for Love

The house is so quiet without Fred’s boisterous personality. Even when he was sick, he still had a tremendous presence. Immediately after his death, my son was beating himself up with what ifs. What if he hadn’t missed those evening doses of pimobendan here and there? I put a stop to that. But then I did the same to myself, internally. Wondering how things would have been if I could have convinced/forced Fred to take his aspirin more regularly. Or if I’d caught the kidney disease sooner. It’s been just over a week without him. My usual after-work routine involved relaxing on the couch with the bulk of Fred pinning me down. It was often the highlight of my day. We love our Olive, the 17 year-old cat Fred left behind. But she is aloof and not nearly as affectionate or even as approachable as Fred. We’ve loved her from a distance since 2007. We always joked that, if our cats were human, Fred would be a frat boy and Olive would be a stereotypically prim librarian. It’s the little things. When I sweep the floors, Fred would stomp right through the filth pile before I could get it in the dust pan. Or, worse yet, roll around in it. Olive will always walk around it. Now that our Giftmas tree is up, I find myself thinking “can’t put the wrapped gifts where Fred will reach them.” Because he would shred the shit out of them immediately. Olive delicately sniffs them. Maybe she’ll rub her face on the corner of a box. But that’s it. And after Fred ate wet food, it looked like Pigpen had been on the scene. When he was young, I had to buy him a puzzle feeder so he wouldn’t wolf his food down too quickly and barf it back up. Olive is a slow and dainty eater. Two wildly different cats.

Olive is also puzzled by Fred’s absence. Even in their twilight, they still had daily zooming sessions up and down the hallway, ending in some light wrestling in the dining room. Then intermittently grooming each other and/or napping on the bed or the comfy chair in the living room throughout the day. Or perched together on different levels of the cat tower. Mornings involved Freddy yowling for food well before my alarm went off. Then struggling to keep him from eating Olive’s food, and keeping Olive from eating his prescription food. Followed by the day-long bummer of trying to get various prescription medications into Fred’s system. There was a liquid drug we administered by syringe. The poor guy developed a gag reflex before we even brought it to his mouth. Just seeing the syringe caused him to gag. The other drugs we tried in multiple forms. At the end, we’d found some transdermal meds I had to rub into the skin inside his ears. One diminished his appetite and the other was an appetite stimulant. Then I worried about Olive licking it off while grooming him. On top of all that Fred had awful arthritis. I’d gotten him pet stairs to help him safely reach my bed and the living room couch. But he was clearly struggling with both strength and balance. It was heartbreaking to see this once hale and vibrant boy so diminished and in pain. That very last morning he refused to eat. Not even his favorite cat treats. And there was a raspiness to his breathing. The emergency vet and our own vet concurred. Fred was experiencing congestive heart failure. It would be possible to continue treating him for a little while, by regularly dragging him to the emergency vet to be put on oxygen. But he was a very sick cat and the kindest thing would be to give him peace. I know I did the right thing but my heart hurts. We miss our constant companion. Grief is a real motherfucker.

Freddy claiming me
My boys, pink-haired human son holding our orange and white cat
Two orange cats, a real tabby with a ceramic tiger
Two cats sharing different levels of a cat tower, in a sunny window
The whole family is hanging out in my bedroom / office, my son with both cats
A beautiful orange and white cat posing on a bed
Orange and white cat sitting on a blue blanket
Two beautiful tabbies lounging in bed on a colorful bedspread
An orange and white tabby named Freddy lounges on top of the cat tower

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *