The second and last Cat, Risky died last week, heading towards his nineteenth birthday, which is quite long for a cat. I suppose this post is about erasing a long time pet and family member from your life. Risky was an odd cat, so maybe my erasing him seems a little odd in itself.
I knew when I came home Wednesday eveningt and found blood pools around the living room and hallway, Risky was running his last race. He had been throwing up for about five months, but nothing like this. Not this amount of blood. There was so much blood I thought it had to be half of what was in his body. It looked as if a knife fight had taken place in the living room.
I found him on the bed, his normal spot for that time of day. Laying there he looked normal, eyes clear, and indifferent in that cat sort of way. When he atood, I knew it was as serious as I was afraid it would be. Instead of standing, Risky shivered, tilted, and wobbled as he tried to stand up. By late Thursday evening he seemed to have quit drinking, and by Saturday morning I was on my way to the vet to make arrangements for him.
Risky didn’t come back home with me after his first car trip in almost fifteen years. The erasing process has started. One empty pet carrier and no Risky inside. I emptied Risky’s cat box as there was no need for it now. I put it in a plastic bag with the scoop, and put it in the garage. I swept up what clay litter pieces there were to sweep. I gave the floor a quick wipe.
I picked up Risky’s cat beds, three of them, where he slept in the daytime depending on the time of year, all three beds by windows. On my hands and knees, I scrubbed at the blood stains in the carpet for the second time. It made little difference, the blood stains are semi-permanent I think. I washed his food and water bowls. I could not put them away yet.
Sunday I worked. When I came home, I started collecting whatever cat toys were in sight. There were a couple dozen toys, hidden under the couch, in the corners, under things. He was given a lot of toys over his almost nine-teen years. I collected leftover cans of soft food and the partial bag of dry food. I bagged them to give them away on Monday to someone with a cat.
Tuesday, I collected the last of Risky’s toys as I vacuumed the carpet to clean it again, for the second and where the spots were, the third time.
Wednesday, I steam cleaned the carpet, picked up a few more toys that hidden away. I vacuumed the curtains to remove his hair from them. I need to do this a second time, just not right now. I washed and dried the throw Risky slept on when he was on the bed, and the blanket that was below it.
I cleaned out the freezer of a half dozen small baggies of hamburger meat, and “on special” trout fillets Risky doesn’t need any more. I threw out his cardboard scratchers. Every day I wonder, where he is, or what is he doing when I hear a noise, followed an instant later by remembering – Risky is dead.
As this happens I think about my two trips to the vet on Saturday. Standing outside the closed door each time, once by myself, and once with Risky in his pet carrier. How painful I found it to take two final steps, open the door, and take two more steps to the desk. It was even harder to talk.
I don’t know how long it will be before Risky is erased from the house. Every room, most of the furniture, and so many small noises, and lack of small noises have his memory in them.
I think this is a good thing. It reminds me I am alive, and I have feelings. It also reminds me I am mortal, someday it will be me, and this is how life works.
It has been two weeks now and company has arrived. It was a simple thing to tell them Risky died. I skipped the details. As the outside door opens and closes over the last few days, I keep thinking, Risky is going to get out. Then almost as quickly, I remember.