Saturday, May 21, 2005

only the good die young

Last August, I came home to find yet another batch of little orange fuzz-ball kittens under the shrub in front of our apartment. This was batch number two for "Mamacita," and it was not a pleasant discovery. The first batch of kittens went like little hot cakes, but I knew it would be difficult to find good homes for these, since I'd be hitting people up to take kittens again only three and a half months after.

But they were so cute. Little baby kitties! One had a blind eye, though, and the vet diagnosed them all with Feline Herpes (FHV). FHV is not fatal, but is highly communicable, and the most severe symptoms include blindness and painful eye ulcers. These kitties would need to go to homes that were prepared to deal with this possibility. They would also need to be one-cat households, so the virus wouldn't spread.

It was indeed difficult to find homes for them. It was also difficult to let them go. I had quickly grown attached to them.

But they did all find homes by mid-September. The last kitty to go to a home was little saucer-eyed Leo. He went to live with my parents in Chattanooga. My mother had taken one look at his picture, and agreed to take him.

Leo was precious. He was full of personality, and my parents fell in love with him. My mother treated him like a little baby, and my father enjoyed playing with him. It was perfect. They live in the woods, so he got to start playing outside after the weather warmed up in late Winter. He loved to be outside.

He grew fast, and his feet were huge. He was going to be a big boy, and I was so proud of him. I was so happy he had bonded perfectly with my parents.

This past March, my parents' dog Cocoa died at the ripe old age of 13 (that's pretty ripe for a big dog), we all knew it would happen soon, and we all had plenty of time to prepare for it. She'd lived a long, happy life. And the void she left behind was filled by dear little Leo.

He was going to grow up to be so big and strong.

And then he died last night.

And I miss him so much. I can't fathom how much hurt my parents are feeling right now if it's hurting me this much. It must be unbearable. I've been crying since 8:15 this morning. My eyes are almost swelled shut.

I loved that little orange cat so much. If I was better with words, I would be able to tell you exactly how much I loved him, but the words escape me.

posted by Jennifer at 5/21/2005 08:18:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh i'm so sorry. you've got to tell me what happened.

5/21/2005 01:23:00 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was brianne, by the way.

5/21/2005 01:23:00 PM  

Blogger Jennifer said...

They don't know what happened. He was feeling puny last weekend when I came to visit, and didn't eat much at all last week. They took him to see the vet Tuesday, and he was running a fever. The vet said he probably just had a cold or something, but when it didn't improve by Friday, the vet kept him for observation Friday night, and he died in the night at the vet's office.

5/21/2005 02:35:00 PM  

Blogger The Kraken said...

He is one with the Force.

5/21/2005 09:22:00 PM  

Blogger J.P. said...

Animals really are members of the family. Heck, there were a few times when I was younger where I liked my dog more than my brother. The dog was better at conversation, too.

5/22/2005 06:34:00 PM  

Blogger The Tremulant Sings said...

I almost hate pets. You have them for so many years, and then they die after you're all attached to them. I've had two really awsome cats, and a few dogs, and it sucks to all hell when they go. I'm sorry.

5/23/2005 01:55:00 PM  

Blogger The Cat Pack said...

"If I was better with words, I would be able to tell you exactly how much I loved him"....

You did just fine. You did more than fine. I'm so, so sorry.

5/24/2005 05:44:00 AM  

Blogger The Kraken said...

If it's any consolation to you, Leo lives on in our broadcasting every day. Any time we have an electronics show, they find an excuse to use that tape of him to sell camcorders/DVD recorders/LCD televisions, etc.

5/24/2005 08:07:00 AM  

Blogger Becky said...

I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to Leo. I know what it is like to lose pets, two dogs to be specific. Shiloh passed away almost 10 years ago, and I STILL have dreams about her.

Norm is right, they truly are members of the family and it hurts like hell when we lose them.

5/24/2005 03:08:00 PM  

Blogger Penny said...

Damn. You made me cry. And, I am NOT wearing my waterproof mascara, today. I am sorry for your losses, both of Cocoa and Leo. I hope you are well.

5/26/2005 10:51:00 AM  

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