Friday, December 07, 2007

once upon a time

There was this really cool cat, who first started as Opie (what an insult). Then we renamed him and he became Wyckett.Eventually that was interchanged with Mr. Wyck, to truly indicate what a gentle cat he was, well the birds might have had their own name for him like silent but deadly, it was survival of the fittest and he was practicing Darwinist. He was a very polite cat, he never scratched when he played with you, and loved the outdoors. You knew it was going to be a cold one if Mr. Wyck was snuggling in for the night. His only fault if you could find one was his need to be a bed hog, he never really curled up in a ball when he slept, he slept stretched out and long, like huge cat log in the bed. Initially he shot our waterbed a wary eye, but soon got over that.It was often a place he would sleep when the weather was chilly.

He was the first four legged pet we owned when we bought our house, we had always owned fish before in our apartment, but they for some reason don't really like to be petted.So when we bought a house, the next week, my son and I went to the Auburn Cat Hospital, to adopt a cat. We looked at a couple of yellow cats, one was too fresh, he bopped my son in the head,so he was definitely out. But Mr. Wyck, just waited, purred when he was patted, and we made our decision.The ride home was pretty uneventful, but I believe it was my son's coaxing at his wary meows, that helped him get through the ride.

When we arrived we brought him in the house,where he promptly hid behind the couch, once he came out, we showed him the litter box, from there he explored all aspects of the house, the room we were doing over, the crinkly tarps on the floor.He was able to open doors ,understood the theory of cause and effect, meaning if I push against this door it'll pop open. Which worked well the first night we had him, when he open one door into what was our now living room, and preceded to walk loudly across the tarps, and pop the door on the other side of the room to exit, which until I looked down, and saw his yellow tail, I was sure we had a ghost.

For our goodness of releasing him from the cat hospital we were rewarded with various mice, moles, etc, along our stone porch, as mere tokens of affection, I also sometimes got to share in the bounty in my Vegetable garden when he proceeded to eat a mouse in front of me, I just pretended the skull crunching was another noise , I may have had to hear it but I couldn't watch...ew!

He had developed into quite a character, he loved the snow, was out in all types of weather. He was very good when a few years after that we adopted Wilma our often nervous dog, he held his ground with her, never ran from her, always walked. He made it hugely easily to introduce a cat to a dog, who really wasn't sure she shouldn't maybe chase him. It was when his Zen Master qualities came to light, no matter how crazy the dog ran at him he would be still, which would make Wilma calmer, but also allowed her to sniff him all over. Which later on would leave some cowlick like furrows in his fur, from the intensity of the sniffing, but he never dignified that with anything more then a cat bath, to smooth all those spots back down.

He also wandered our neighborhood. One morning while waiting for the school bus with my son,
we observed him,coming down the hill across the street, stopping and looking both ways before crossing, the busy road, and greeting us from his nighttime journeys. I never feared his safety near the road after that.
Eventually though he must have had some mishap crossing the road, luckily he also had the strength, and size to survive this unidentified hit and run, was it a car, or a motorcycle, or someone unable to see him , going really slow, we will never know. He was missing for a weekend, but showed up on a Sunday night before I left for work with a few scratches on his nose, and either an abscess or a hernia, bulging out of his side, plus he was hungry! Off I went to work leaving instructions, don't let him back out, I'll call the Vet in the morning when I get home.The next day when we brought him, the Vet decided to keep him over night, so he could give him a thorough exam. It turn out once they shaved his belly he was bruised from chest to belly, with two fractured ribs, and a big hernia. With all that he was till healthy, purring, he just was shaved and purple. We waited a week to let the swelling go down then he had surgery, which my husband and my son, did perfect post-op care on him, as I was in London for the first time in my life.They gave him antibiotics, kept him inside, which from what they tell me Mr. Wyck didn't really push the going outside issue. When he finally was able, he never went out the front door again toward the street, it was always out the back toward our own wooded acre.

From there Mr. Wyck lived his life pretty well, there we still a few bird bodies, and he taught our "new little cat", as my husband like to call her still, even though she's not new or little anymore, how to hunt, and she eventually took over as hunter cat , under his cat tutelage.
He lived his years in cat naps, and walks, he still continued to go outdoors often and would roll in the driveway or the snow to great me. He also had taken to sleeping in at night.

I was looking forward to him being a very old cat. In September we noticed he was bony, and looking raggedy around the edges, I hoped he was just showing his age, unfortunately he was and he wasn't the vet told me the kind of belly mass was common in older cats, and once you could feel it there really wasn't much they could do. They never pushed the euthanasia issue, they told me to take him home, and call them if I thought it was too uncomfortable for him. Honestly aside from the recent scruffy old cat look he took on, he still was eating and purring , and going outside until the very end. After finding out his prognosis, my husband and I, and our son, talked about our views on how heroic and how long we should let this progress. We all decided we should do right by Mr.Wyck and not let it get to the point of discomfort for him , we owed him that , being he was a very special cat, and deserved, nothing but that.

I can tell you I was with him until the end, I liked to think it was good ,he departed seeing someone he loved, when we him brought to the Vets for his last visit.
It was quick, and they were so wonderful, with the dignity, they handled putting our Mr. Wyck to sleep, I know the word is euthanize, but until you have to choose to do it, sending a beloved pet to sleep, makes the heart ache a little less horrible ,just a little.

Now it about 3 months , I don't cry much now unless I see the mysterious yellow cat walking around, the neighborhood, and it makes me tear up, oh and there's that one song on my iPod, that has nothing to do with cats, or death, but makes me cry a little too, when I hear it .

I missed him at Thanksgiving as I boiled the turkey neck, he would stay close to home when that was happening, for there was a enough meat on that to make a cat all drooly and purry, and a permanent fixture in the kitchen for a few days.

I also missed him alot today, when it started to snow, and Wilma and I noticed the yellow stranger cat again, walking in the snow, exploring things. I know from just looking at him, that it's not Wyckett, but the view blurs as one tears up, and the shorter cat looks bigger and more sleek, and it tugs a little at those heart strings.Which loosens my eyes into a river of tears and makes me able to write about our Mr. Wyck.Who I like to imagine is enjoying his life up there, amongst the endless serving of turkey and catnip.Stretched out on a warm waterbed.


Mrs. G. said...

OK, could you hand me a tissue? What a sweet story about a sweet cat. It amazes me how much we come to love these furry creatures. Do you ever think about an orange kitten?

Marie said...

Oh, this made me water up too. Our special cats leave such an mark on us. It's hard to let them go. It's been almost ten years since I had to put my Hutz to sleep, and I still tear up telling his story.
Mr. Wyck sounds like a lovely cat. I got a very strong sense of his personality (kittenality?) just from your telling.

CraftyGuy said...

What a stunningly beautiful and fitting tribute. I had to hunt down some Kleenex myself upon reading it.

Tracy said...

mrs.g- maybe sometime in the future.

marie-he certainly is.

mike-thank you.

sorry to make you all cry.

~Sheryl said...

What a wonderful tribute to Mr. Wyck.

I often think of my Zombo kitty. I had him for 13 years before I had to have him put down. It was a week before I got married, but he let me know it was ok and his journey was done. But still, it was easily one of the worst days of my life.

Now my little white kitten sleeping statue in the garden by the front door is a nice reminder of my friend.