“If it were my cat, I would put her down.”
Uhh Shit. That’s not what you want to hear a veterinarian say. I gesture to the x-ray lit by the lamp on the wall, sensing the chaos of disease inside of her tiny body.
“Her lungs are bad,” the vet went on. “This is a fungus, it could be cancer, we’d have to test it to find out. Her intestines are all on one side, we can see them here” he circles the air above the left part of her body. “There’s a mass, that I can’t identify just from looking at, but it’s pushing everything over while it should be balanced between both sides.”
I called Chase to let him know the news. He asked what I meant by such a grim analysis, and I told him that it would be over $800 to even begin to attempt to resuscitate the family pet. “Shit!” he answered, “that really sucks.” He knew I loved the cat, but probably most hated that we would have to break this news to Tegan. She considered Tasha a friend, and had unfortunately already lost a number of pets.
I pocketed a fistful of gloves and lifted Tasha back into the cat carrier.
I took her home with antibiotics and made her a bed inside of a laundry basket. I filled the gloves with warm water thinking she might live comfortably for the next few days. She seemed weak but okay. It was later that same night, though, that we bundled her in a towel and brought her to the emergency animal clinic.
Tasha was a great little cat friend. We only knew her for seven months, but she was a beautiful soul, and we’d all looked forward to having her around for a few more years.
She first came to live with us in the peak of a very hot summer. Her fur was shedding in handfuls. Each evening she would lounge on the rug in front of the couch and purr, joyous to be indoors and with access to food. Despite vacuuming in the morning- when breeze traveled through our house- big silky fluff-balls would float across the wood laminate and we’d shout, “tumbleweed!”
One day I told Tegan about how some people spin the fluff that’s been shed and knit out of cat fur!
She was interested.
“You can make puppets of your cat, out of your cat!” I went on.
“We should do it.”
We went to the library that week.
“Hi, can I reserve ‘Crafting With Cat Hair?’ – or is it ‘Fur…’” I asked at the front desk.
“It’s Hair.” The librarian leaned over to correct me from the next computer over.
I stifled a laugh but elbowed Tegan. We decided that he was probably the type of person to craft with cat hair!
Eventually the living room rug was relocated to cushion the play space around Tegan’s Barbie Dreamhouse. Tasha resettled onto a dining room chair. She would sit in one specific spot, even if that chair had stuff on it and the other three other chairs were empty.
“Tasha why don’t you just pick another chair?” I laughed.
We we would come home, she would lift her head up and look at us. Maybe she was checking to see if we were burglars, in which case she would more than likely equally not care too much, and that was her whole hello.
Tasha discovered that in the bathroom existed a toilet, and that this was a cooler place to get drinking water.
“Ew, no,” I said as Tegan giggled at the sight of Tasha delicately balancing her two front paws on the toilet bowl. I turned on the faucet for her, and unknowingly created an enchanting cat water source that Tasha became obsessed with overnight.
(She loved to let the water drip on her forehead to catch it with her tongue when it fell onto her nose, and at first I yelled at Tegan because I thought she had been dunking the cat under the water.)
She now lived in the hallway, rushing forward when anyone walked by to persuade someone to go into the bathroom and turn the water on. Eventually she just slept strategically inside of the sink. She was so often there that we’d have to hug her fluffy body against one side of the basin to rinse off our toothbrushes.
Tasha was a social and confident cat. The only loud noise she shied from was that of a new garbage bag. Whenever two or more people were talking she would come and sit down nearby. She would even follow a conversation through several rooms, daintily observing from a couple of feet away.
For a while she would jump on the bed in the morning, kneading the blankets around me and purring methodically. I played “cat music” from YouTube while she lavished in kitten-like comfort.
Tasha was funny.
In her life she had birthed several litters of kittens. I think that it was this maternal instinct that provided much of the patience she showed while being subjected to the eager after-school companionship of a 4th grade girl. It brought to mind the old knowledge that a proper horse will raise a child, and I think that some cats do what they can as well.
As Tegan played in the bath, Tasha would sit next to the tub with her paws tucked underneath herself, never minding the wayward splash. Afterward, she’d follow Tegan out to the bedroom. I don’t know what was on her mind, but Tasha took up sitting very close to Tegan at night, staring straight at her while she slept.
Tasha never seemed thrilled to be playing dress up. She did gracefully accept her position as President “of all the citizens.” She would be pushed from room to room stacked on top of the carpeted cat-tower, to supervise the building efforts of Tegan’s stuffed toys. She also gave Tegan a lot of leeway when it came to the hugs and kisses.
Chase’s original plan of regarding the cat with a traditional masculine indifference was a ruse that didn’t last long. On her last night, at the animal emergency care clinic, he went over to her to say a goodbye. “I don’t care what they said about you,” patting her tiny forehead. “You were always a mess.”
Tasha was a very good cat. She would come when you called her name. She’d be content to let you pet or brush her for as long as you wanted. She was independent and down to hang out without asking for anything. She was also adorable.
It was great fun to have her as a pet for a little while. It was very sad that she fell sick. A lot of people liked and loved her. I’m thankful for the little while that we were able to give her a nice home. She was a really good cute cat. She’ll always hold a little place in my heart ❤