on june 17th, 2009 i had to put my cat button to sleep. he was 14 years old. i got “yogurt” back when i was 9 and mercifully renamed him button after he tried to eat all of the buttons on my shirt. when i moved to raleigh a year ago he was too old and had too many health problems to come with me. he had mysterious off and on problems for several years, but our other cat, tang, had really severe asthma. taking care of tang occupied most of our waking hours for a long time before he passed away on june 26th, 2008, right before i moved to raleigh.
so i moved… and my mom and dad took great care of button who, at the time, had health problems that the vets were still trying to figure out. eventually he was diagnosed with colon cancer. he had surgery to remove a majority of the tumor in january, but we were told it would come back within 6-18 months. sure enough, 6 months later, it was back. i flew into pittsburgh to be with my mom, dad, and button to put him to sleep. he was suffering, but i got to spend one more night with him playing with his laser pointer and toy soldier.
i know a lot of people don’t understand the impact of putting an animal to sleep, but my cats have always had the personalities equal to any one of my human family members and are greatly missed. i also feel sad that i didn’t get to spend much time with him after i moved; we were constantly together for most of my life since i was 9. it is hard on me that we grew apart. like i said, most people probably won’t understand this, but my cats really are family.
today i started making a scrapbook for button just like the ones i made for tang. it is helping me remember a lot of things. i had made an online memorial for tang when i had a flickr account with a poem that reminded me of him. now it reminds me of both of them. i hope they’re doing well… i know they are.
BEAMED FROM THE BRIGHT CATTERY IN THE SKY
In case you have been wondering
Just how I am getting along
In my new surroundings
Or worry whether I have learned to cope
With the easy rhythm and pace
For which this place is renowned
Then listen: I have been chasing little mice again
Sweeter, lighter, infinitely more fragrant
Than any I ever brought into the bedroom
For your pleasure
In the old days.
That having been said,
I wouldn’t for all the world wish you to infer
That they stint the grub up here:
The celestial fish are not especially exciting
(Their natural zodiac ripeness has had to be homogenised
for the general run of feline palates)
But on the plus side
The nice cat-lady who comes round,
All gowned in blue (my favourite colour)
And with glory crowned,
Pours out a warm and creamy whiteness
That is literally
Someone usually remembers
To cut my claws
And tickle my ear
So that side of things is catered for,
One might say,
I think of you sometimes
Certain that you will come one day
To take me on your knee
And talk to me the way you used to.
When that day comes
I shall let you know
Loudly and unambiguously
That things round here have finally begun to go
Really very well indeed:
I shall add to ordinary space and time
My own particular dimension
Of thick, soft-throated sound.