Eight years ago I stumbled across a post on craigslist.org under the “moving/garage sale” section. It read “Being Deployed, Need a Temporary Home for My Cats”. Against my better judgement, I clicked on it.
I lived alone at the time and my childhood cats, who were growing old and dying, were at my parents house where they belonged. I had love and time to give, and the fact that it was short-term was intriguing.
The cats’ previous owner and I typed up a make-shift contract that stated that I would shelter, feed and care for her cats for up to one year, at which point she would return for them. My mom and dad forewarned me that she wouldn’t be coming back. Turned out, they were right.
My new cats came with the names Kitty and Neitzsche. Kitty’s name suited her. However Neitzsche’s never did. Because of her cute and compact size, my brother dubbed Neitzsche “Nugget.” Nugget or Nug, quickly turned into “Bug.” How her nickname became “Dee Dee,” I can’t quite recall, but she wore that name well.
Dee Dee was an ultra-independent cat. She didn’t demand a lot of food, nor did she require a ton of lap time, either. What she loved most in life was running water. A lot of cats love running water, I know, but Bug’s affinity for water was like no other. It started at the bathroom sink, where she would hang her head under a strong stream and literally sop herself soaking wet. When she became bored with the bathroom sink, she moved to the bathtub. Bug sharing the tub with us while we showered, pretty much became par for the course. And most recently, since we moved to our new apartment, it wouldn’t be strange to find Dee Dee sitting all zen-like, on the back deck during the middle of a rain shower.
Bug despised every dog – no matter how unassuming the pit bull or how tiny the chihuahua – who passed through our home. She wasn’t big on food, but Dee Dee had food quirks nonetheless that I adored. She didn’t care for meat and had a thing for vegetarian Chinese food. Specifically the mushrooms and tofu from my hot and sour soup. Explain that one, because I certainly can’t.
Nor can I explain how she suddenly fell sick this past weekend. She was likely coasting through renal failure for quite some time and this past weekend it hit her like a ton of bricks. The vet said that her skyrocket kidney levels may also mean cancer. When I touch Dee Dee’s frail little body her boney spine and unkempt coat is not lost on me. But what is, is the golf ball-sized kidney, protruding out from her side.
I feel terrible that she is in pain right now. Bug is on the bed with me but unable to sit in one spot for more than a couple of minutes at a time. Strange fluid seeps out from the corners of her mouth and the smell is wretched. Her body is shutting down.
Tomorrow the vet will come and we will say good-bye. Mylo, who only calls her “Dee Dee” – who calls all cats “Dee Dee” because of her – won’t remember Bug when he grows up. This makes me sad.
I’ve had to say good-bye to four cats in nine years. My heart is heavy right now. Real, real heavy.
This blog post about Bug and penned by my husband, reminds me why I love this man so. He captures his relationship with the Bug so well and I love him for it.