Happiness Time Bomb Kitty

Usually my morning procrastination frustrates me to no end - I always find JUST ONE MORE THING to do before I leave, but I was thankful for my difficulty in adhering to time constraints on Wednesday morning. I was also thankful that I didn't feed Oscar before my shower when he was crying for food (again), but decided to wait until just before I left for work so he wouldn't have to wait QUITE as long until his next feeding (when Shannon returned home 'round 5PM). I was all ready to go, as usual, I was ALMOST on time, and the last thing I had to do was feed OzKat. I pulled out a fresh dish and shook the packet from the top so all the food settled at the bottom - an action in itself that usually brings him running - but he didn't come. I filled his dish and called him - no answering ascending thunder of quick paws on hardwood floors. Needless to say, I knew immediately something was wrong, even though not 20 minutes before he had been calling for food.

I went looking for him and found him under the bed in our back bedroom lying very still. After a few moments of hysteria in separate room so as not to alarm Oscar, I called work, called the vet, and called Shannon while wrapping Ozzie in a warm towel and bringing him up front where it was warmer, brighter, and we could both sit comfortably. I held him there for about an hour - he didn't appear to be in any distress, but he was incredibly still - just talking to him and petting him. Shannon advised I give him some Karo syrup - he had diabetes and had suffered a hypoglycemic attack two weeks ago resulting in a trip to the Kitty E.R., and though the Karo revived him enough to start purring up a storm, and stimulated his muscles enough where he could get more comfortable, he never regained his strength. Now, we knew he didn't have long, but we'd only found out conclusively on Monday that his diagnosis - in addition to his diabetes - was liver (and possibly pancreatic) cancer. His liver was about four sizes too large. I can't believe how quickly he declined after that diagnosis, but I am thankful we knew what we were dealing with and what to expect.

Oscar T. Kitty and Shannon snoooooozing on the futon

Oscar was a fabulous cat. I got him about 5 years ago when Earl's (my other kitty) then-vet's technician, knowing I was a sucker for strays (all of my animals have been strays (cats) or "hand-me-downs" (ferrets)), advised me there was a cat patient of theirs who would soon be in need of a home. His biped was an elderly woman who would be moving to Oregon to live with her son who had 7 cats of his own and didn't want to take on hers, too, so she wanted to find him a good home before she moved. I had very little intention of taking in another cat, but agreed to meet Oscar, who was then named "Stripe". Stripe and I hit it off immediately. He had his biped trained to open a can of food at the first syllable of the shortest "meow," and though I knew I'd have to break him of that demanding little habit, I also knew I was taking him home and renaming him Oscar Wilde for his confidence, attitude, and ability to command a room with little to no effort.

Oscar on "Shannon's" chair - or so he let Shannon believe.

Little did I know that I'd have given my left arm to see him eat half as lustily not 2 years later as he had when I first got him. Turns out he was one sick kitty. He had a heart murmer that was a "time bomb" according to one vet. And his blood was wily - it took 2 years to positively diagnose his diabetes. By that time he was all skin and bones and patchy fur with absolutely no appetite. He'd only eat because we begged him to. When I first moved in with Shannon, Oscar was at death's door and his second vet - this one out in Mt. Prospect - was stumped. "Inconclusive" would have been a good back-up name for Oscar - all of his tests came back that way. Dr. Gil, a wonderful vet at A Central North Animal Hospital in Mount Prospect for those of you northwest suburb dwellers - finally concluded that Oscar's blood sugar level had been consistently rising. At this particular visit it was over 500, and he wanted to try Oscar on insulin - 2 units twice a day. Though Oscar's appetite didn't return right away, whenever he heard one of us open a can of food he'd come running, knowing it was time for the injection that was helping him feel better. Eventually his appetite did return with a vengeance though he never exceeded 8 pounds.

Anyone who has met Oscar knows how confident and friendly he was. He LOOOOOVED to be petted, but didn't need to be the center of attention. He loved being petted so much he'd forget he was eating, or would come out of a full snoooze to stand up and get the most out of the petter. If he didn't feel you'd petted him long enough he would grab your hand by the wrist and guide it back to his head with his paw- a game that kept Shannon amused for countless hours. He loved getting his belly rubbed so much he occasionally fell off the bed or couch he was being scritched on - his desire to be scritched far outweighing his sense of mortality. If you held our hand out above his head, he'd jump to rub his hand on it. Sometimes he'd do that if you were just standing with your hands at your sides.

Though he was an excellent birder/mouser (I found at least a dozen mice and birds on the stairs at my parents', often with a pround Oscar sitting over his gift), Oscar held a terror of cat toys with bird feathers on them. Perhaps he felt they were his prey come back to haunt him.

Oscar looking over The Sparrow, waiting patiently for the promised bird to show itself.

Oscar was definitely a one-cat-kitty. He didn't mind other cats living in his house, just didn't want anything to do with them. When I got him, I already had Earl who is an EXTREMELY neurotic cat. At the time, I was living in my parents' condo and Earl would have to be on my lap AT ALL TIMES. If Oscar somehow got up there, Earl, the big bully, would his and growl at him and force Oscar down. OzzKat didn't mind - he just bode his time until he could exact his revenge. One night, I was reading in bed on my side with Earl curled up under the covers against my tummy. Oscar jumped on the bed, landing squarely on the hidden Earl. Earl let out a surprised yelp. Oscar jumped to my other side, then off the bed. Then back on the bed, over me and onto Earl, who let out another yelp. Oscar jumped up onto Earl, over me and off the bed... *thump*"YELP!"*thump*thump*.....*thump*thump*"YELP!"*thump*....*thump*"YELP!"*thump*thump*
This went on about 4 times before Earl finally vacated his spot and Oscar snuggled in his spot at the curve of my back. From then on Oscar slept at my back and Earl at my tummy. Good thing I don't move - at ALL - in my sleep! Later on I moved back in with my parents who had 2 cats of their own. I also had 2 of my ferrets by this time. Oscar, much to my mother's chagrin, could be found any time of day squarely in the center of the dining room table. He wanted to be away from the other animals, but squarely in the center of the bipeds worlds. If you tossed him off the table, like a paddleball he'd spring right back up. You could toss him off 70 times and he wouldn't bat a whisker, maybe just sigh heavily and squint at you.

Oscar, Oscar Wilde Toxic Kitty, Platinum Kitty, OzzKat, Oscar Poo Kitty,
Boojah (not the nasty "urban" definition of "boojah," just a nonsense word my friend Cle made up) Kitty, StinkKat Oscar T. Kitty, Stripe, Punkin' Kitty, FuzzButt, Sphinx Cat

Almost exactly a year ago, Shannon was at Shecky's watching the Chicago-Niners game. I took the opportunity to pick up the hassock that matched his wedding gift - The World's Comfiest Chair. As soon as I got it home and out of it's wrapping I knew there was going to be trouble. Oscar sauntered over from whereever he'd been snoozing - he had the best walk, by the way, paw over paw like a runway model, NEVER in any hurry - sharpened his non-existant claws on the hassock, and hopped on. It was the beginning of a war that lasted for months - the war between Shannon and Oscar over the glider hassock. Every so often Oscar would grudgingly allow himself to be nudged to one side allowing Shannon's feet to occupy the other, but usually he's perch himself dead-center and close his eyes as though he were sleeping and not to be disturbed. Shannon would never shove him off. I also bought Shannon a triangle from a nearby toy shop to use when he was too comfy to get up from his chair. The ONLY time he used it was when Oscar was sitting on his lap. Though OzzKat loved to be near his bipeds - up until the last 2 months or so he could almost always be found in the same room as one of us, or sitting directly between us in the hallway if one of us was in the front room and the other in the kitchen - rarely did he use us as furniture. When he did, 9 times out of 10 it was Shannon who loved Oscar as much as I did. Shannon's ringing of the triangle was absolutely and completely justified.

Though we knew the end was near, and though he was never in any distress from the time I found him until we brought him to the vet, putting Oscar down yesterday was incredibly sad, and the sadness still lingers. We're going to miss being awakened at 4AM with loud, staccato "MEOW!"s, and greeted after work with loud, staccato "MEOW!"s. Thank all of you who ever took care of Oscar: Peepster and Papa Schuetter and Naomi who dosed him whenever we were away, and Drs. Gil and de la Navarre - the most amazing vet, in my opinion, on the planet. Just one example: Dr. de la Navarre startled us out of bet at 11PM one day last week to tell us Oscar's AGAIN "inconclusive", lab results. He had shipped the results off to 4 colleagues around country to determine whether their conclusions aligned with his. As soon as the last one called back - from California - he couldn't wait until the next morning to let us know he didn't think Oscar had FIP after all. His staff and his wife, Tracy, another veterinarion on staff, are also wonderful. They each came in to wish Oscar goodbye and offer their condolences as we were holding him. Oscar had made an impression on all of them. Thank you again, Peepster, for introducing us to "Dr. Byron". He made us know, without telling us directly, that we were doing the right thing in putting Oscar down.

Thank you, Oscar, for choosing us as your bipeds. We were so, SO lucky to know you!



Rev Transit said...

Oscar hit the jackpot when he got you and Shannon for bipeds. God knows you both made great sacrifices for him. I know his friendliness made that easier for you, but still...

Anonymous said...

Bye Oscar.