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1. If I ever have to move again, I'll have more options because finding places with one cat is easier than places that allow two.
2. Cat litter will last twice as long. (I fully expect that $Oldest_Cat will start peeing more just to spite me.)
3. There will be half as much cat hair cluttering up my house. Or: I can procrastinate longer between vacuuming.
4. I can go back to buying the good, healthy cat food instead of the garbage that was all $Stupid_Cat would eat.
5. I won't have to yell at the boys to stop fighting anymore, because the 3am spats will no longer be waking me up.
6. No longer have to play 'Ok, what $!@$^ impossible space has he found to hide in today?' or panic that he's somehow escaped into the Big Blue Room without me noticing.
7. No more being woken up by the Worst Kitty Halitosis In The World.
8. No more "KITTY! Don't eat that! That is not food!" ($Oldest_Cat, not being a little kitty retard, doesn't try to eat things like kleenex and q-tips.)
9. Half as many claws to clip, ears to clean, puddles of hairball to clean up after.
10. Half as many vet bills.

I keep telling myself these things and more, trying to see light through the dark. I'm alternating between the anger and acceptance stages of grief. I keep trying and failing to find something funny to say. About as close as I can get is "I'm thinking about replacing him with a Naked Mole Rat, since they are immune to cancer and can live up to 30 years." but nobody seems to find that funny except me.

Anger, because over four years and thousands of dollars of vet bills (multiple vets as well), "there's nothing wrong with your cat", "If I saw the test results, I'd think you had a perfectly healthy cat, because his numbers are perfect. But I've seen him. I don't know what to tell you, other than it might be a food sensitivity." There was clearly something wrong with my cat. He'd go in cycles where he'd lose most of his body weight, I'd play Musical Foods until I found one he'd eat again, he'd gain the weight back and then two years later do it all over again. This last time was the third cycle, and it was the worst, where he was down to literally skin and bone. My own internet sleuthing told me it was either hyperthyroidism (and his thyroid was "fine" on ultrasounds), or chronic kidney disease (and his numbers were also "perfect").

For anyone else who has a cat that suddenly starts looking like a model for anorexia, I highly recommend this site. It not only gives more specific examples of symptoms, but lists pretty much every test to have and things to do to maintain a cat with CKD. CKD is almost impossible to diagnose until a good chunk of the kidneys have *already failed*. In the case of $Stupid_Cat, it was never diagnosed, but I treated him as if he had been, and watched his food and fluid intake, added baking soda to his food to stave off metabolic acidosis, gave him gushy food - anything to keep him eating and drinking. In the end, I was right, but that's not really comfort. I'm trying not to be angry. I'm trying to acknowledge that it's just a stage of grief, this anger. It's hard. It's hard not to start the blame game, and it's impossible to not blame myself, even though there's nothing I could/would have done differently even if I had received an official diagnosis.

$Stupid_Cat went into acute renal failure two days ago. He died yesterday morning. He went peacefully, at home, which is about all one can ask for a 14 year old cat. That's where the acceptance part comes in. This long, frustrating fight is finally over. He didn't suffer. He wasn't in pain. He just.. stopped. He was planted in the back yard of my sister's house - the house I grew up in - yesterday, in a spot chosen because there was a random catnip plant growing there. The serendipity of that appealed to me.

The night before $Stupid_Cat died, $That_Guy called and asked to speak to him. I put the phone to $Stupid_Cat's ear. $Stupid_Cat heard his name and turned to look at the phone, and when $That_Guy started talking, $Stupid_Cat started purring really loudly. That, and the way he and $Oldest_Cat touched noses and purred at each other the final time, are the two memories I am choosing to keep from this death.

August 8, 1999 - June 20, 2013
Went out of my world the same way he joined it, curled up in my arms and purring.

$That_Guy and $Stupid_Cat head-booping, during cycle #2 of "why the hell is my cat wasting away". $Stupid_Cat did not have stegosaurus spines, those are the ears of $Oldest_Cat, who is far too dignified to head-boop.

"Rainbow Bridge" comments not accepted or appreciated. Seriously, keep that glurgey fucking nonsense as far away from me as possible.


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