Seven is usually my favorite number. But not today, because it’s been seven years since I’ve had a day like today, which is the fifth of its kind, and I could have gone the rest of my life without it, really. But there you go.
I had my Joey euthanized today. Such a nebulous way to say I killed my cat. My little man, who’d been with me through thick and thin these last seventeen-plus years. Oh, my God … this hurts. I can’t breath. Drove home in tears, pulled into the garage, shut the door, and fell apart. Cried that cry where no sound comes out. Soaked my shirt. Blew snot.
Cried like an abandoned child. Wailed. Sobbed. Howled. Begged his forgiveness. Told him to go find Benny, the last recipient of this toughest of loves from me, seven years ago.
But that time I had my Joey to snuggle, to ease my conscience, to ‘share’ my loss.
I remember the Spring evening I got Ben & Joey; May of 1992 … I picked up my younger cousin Melissa and one of her little friends to come spend the night, and on the interstate drive from my Aunt’s home in MA to mine in RI, we made a stop to pick out a new kitten for me, as my Sammy had just recently passed.
We got there, and of the four kittens available, two were male, black, polydactyls (double-pawed) … we couldn’t choose between them, so ended up taking both. I knew Benny was a ‘Benny’ right away, but we pondered on a name for Joey … he almost ended up a ‘Petey’, but by the time we made it back to my house his innate joeyness had made itself known.
That was the night we were stuck on the interstate in such a horrific storm that it literally brought all traffic to an absolute halt. You could hardly see the taillights of the car in front. I’d never experienced the like before, nor have I since. Dead stop. Due to rain. Rain, people.
Melissa and her little friend sat in the backseat and snuggled those kittens the entire time, not a care in the world, completely oblivious to the eminent death we were courting. I was terrified … and what was I going to tell my Aunt if anything happened to my cousin? Auntie Sue would kill me!
Joey moved with me from New England (a fairly HUGE event, as we New Englanders tend to stay in New England), then halfway across the country (a 22 hour drive he did not enjoy, with his three ‘siblings’ Benny, Maddie, and Annie). Joey was with me when we lost Benny. And Annie. When I bought my first home, and first became acquainted with that Bastard RA, and got laid off after almost 16 years with Ma Bell, and paid off my credit card debt, and finished my college degree, and started a whole new career.
I don’t remember not having my Joey around. He’d play the feline version of Marco Polo almost daily …. mrrowling at me from somewhere in the house, repeatedly, until I called him to me and put the pats on him for awhile. He sprawled in complete ownership across whatever perch he deigned to use, whether it be me, my bed, the desk, the windowsill, or the top of the stairs … the rest of us could just work around him, thank-you-very-much.
Joey has been noticeably winding down this past week, and completely stopped eating yesterday. I spent all day today filming him … mostly sleeping, occasionally talking to me (tried to upload one here, but blogger is not cooperating). Wherever I went in the house today, he followed, then lay down, then fell asleep. I’d try to quietly tiptoe out to another location for whatever reason, but he always followed. I don’t know how you’d interpret that behavior, but I believe he knew, and was saying goodbye in his own Joey way.
I popped him into his crate for the trip to Awesome Doc, and that little shit yelled at me the entire drive, then continued to grumble in my direction at the animal hospital, as I sat next to him with my arm stuck to the elbow through the top of the crate, rubbing his ears, chin, nose, cheeks, head, back, legs, etc … every part if him he exposed to me. And my Joey obliged, practically rolling around to ensure I hit all his ‘ooh yeah’ spots.
We waited 20 minutes for an open room (so much for scheduling a personal heart-rending during a slow part of the day, best laid plans and all), then Awesome Doc gave Joey a sedative, and he snuggled up into my chest and fell asleep with his big ole noggin in the palm of my hand. I thought he was gone then, after awhile, and lay my head on him, but he was simply deeply asleep (to be honest, I don’t think he could have recovered from that point, due to oxygen-starvation, if his blueing tongue was any indication). Then Awesome Doc came back in and gave him *the* shot.
She said not to worry if he spread out, because that tends to happen … but not my little man. Nope. He curled right up in a little ball, gasped a couple times for breath, and then relaxed. Noggin still in my hand. My Joey, my little man, my Joseph William, my Joe Willy Punkaliscious, my Guiseppe Guillermo, my Jobijo, my Bubbaloo, my Boo, my buddy … he was gone.
So now I sit here at my computer, telling you about my boy. And Maddie, my sweet little girl, is ey-yow, ey-yowing her way through the house, looking for someone who’s no longer here.
Oh damn, here I go again with the waterworks. Know what I’m going to miss the most? He’s never going to aggravate the living shit out of me, ever again, by sitting on the floor next to me when I’m on the computer and mrrowling at the top of his furry little lungs with the repetitiveness of a metronome until I give in and follow him out to bear witness to his next goofy adventure somewhere in the house.
I am really going to miss that.