Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rest in Peace, Darling

July 1st, 1998- November 29th, 2010

We adopted CK back in 1998 when our parents finally told us we could have a pet. The rules were it had to be a cat, and it had to be female because males were notorious for marking their territory. My siblings and I were ecstatic. We had never had a pet before and all we could talk about was getting a kitty, what to name her, whose bed she'd sleep in, who got to clean the litter box (we all wanted to do this because it seemed exciting and new and we were stupid, now that I look back I should have let my brothers do it- what was I thinking?)

We went to the Denver Dumb Friends League and looked around at the cats needing adoption. We saw one that we all liked. She was a very pretty white cat and we asked if we could play with her in one of their private rooms. Once we got her into the room though, she was very skittish and didn't want to come near anyone. We decided she wasn't the family cat we were looking for and left, discouraged.

We came back a couple days later because they always have new cats in. (PS- fix your pets and adopt from an animal shelter.) My mom went to go look at some of the dogs while I browsed around at the cats again. In cage C23 I saw this black and white furry kitten that had not been there a few days earlier. He was sleeping with his belly and paws up directly in his litter box. I put my finger through the little hole at the top and he woke up to hop and nibble my finger. I fell in love with that little guy right then and there.

I ran to find my mom and siblings and dragged them to the cage so they could see him too. They all thought he was adorable, until my mom noticed it was a male and said absolutely not. I then began the process of begging, pleading, and crying to at least get him into a private room so we could see what he was like with everyone. The pleading worked, and eventually she gave in and agreed to have him join us in a private room to see how he got along with everyone. Me and my siblings all sat in different sections of the room and waited for him to be brought in. Once he came in, he hesitantly checked out everyone and then spent a little time playing and rubbing up against all of us. We all loved him, including my mom.

We put him on hold until we could get our dad to come in the next day to see him as well for the final decision. The next day he remembered all of us and seemed really happy and excited to be with us again. My dad thought he was great, and we all agreed he was the kitten for us.

CK spent the next twelve years providing us with endless joy and the occasional pulling of hair. I will always remember the following memories of him:

Before he was declawed, my mom came home to find him clawing and climbing one of her expensive tapestries. He managed to pull the entire thing off the wall as a tiny little kitten. The removal of his front claws was scheduled the next day.

My mom was right about male cats marking. CK peed, and he peed everywhere. All of our imported rugs from the middle east in the basement were peed on- not once, not twice, but multiple times. The couch and pillows in our living room were peed on when he was upset with us. He also designated every plant in the house with dirt in it as his personal litter box. If you came over to our house during this time, you may have noticed all the random orange/lemon slices in the house plants, an article online told us to do this but I don't think it really worked as he still peed in everything. Eventually, the peeing was too much for my mom to handle and CK was designated to live primarily in my room (nobody else wanted a room full of pee and I was the sucker who agreed to deal with it) Thanks to him, my room became known as the stinky room and I don't think I will ever be able to get the smell of cat pee out of some of those corners.

The year we opened our pool for the first time, my siblings and I thought it would be great if CK could hang out there with us too (that and we were young and thought it would be funny) so we put CK into one of the enclosed pool rafts and let him float with us in the water. He seemed to have a jolly time until the raft got close to the edge of the pool and he tried to jump out. The force from his jump pushed the raft back so that he had underestimated how far to jump, and he ended up with his butt in the water and the front of his body on the patio. He made it out but he was super pissed at us. I'm pretty sure he then peed all over the house and honestly I don't really blame him.

We used to buy these little mechanical toy mice that you could wind up and they'd dart off so that CK could chase them. One morning before school, I saw CK hobbling across the floor with his belly on the ground. I went to pick him up and noticed that he had sat on one of the mechanical mice while it was still spinning and it managed to tangle his fat pooch in between the wheels. We tried to pull it off ourselves but couldn't so we took him to the vet right away and they got the mouse off for us. Mechanical mice were never allowed in our house after that point.

CK had his first encounter with candles as a kitten and got a little too close to one. He managed to singe his eyebrows and a bit off his whiskers. A week later he was walking across one of the staircase banisters and jumped from the top of the stairs! He landed on his feet and went to take a nap. We couldn't believe he had fallen that far and wasn't injured. We also learned that whiskers help a cats sense of balance, and we didn't light candles around him anymore.

He was also the most territorial pet we've ever had. If he saw another animal outside, he'd start growling and hissing at them immediately. We once brought a lost German shepherd inside our house until we could find out who its owners were. CK sauntered downstairs into the laundry room where the dog was and literally started speaking to this dog. The sounds that came out of him were insane and I had never heard him meow like that. The poor dog started whimpering and went to hide behind my sister! Whatever CK said, he managed to terrify this 60lbish German shepherd as a 10lb cat. We still joke that even though we have 4 dogs in the house, CK was the only real "guard dog."

CK was an incredibly smart cat and discovered that he could get pretty much anything he wanted in the middle of the night. He realized that knocking every single item off of my shelves would wake me up, and would keep me awake, until I got up and gave in to get him what he wanted. I also eventually learned that if I wanted to sleep through the night, I would have to knock everything off the shelves before bed so that he couldn't do it.

In June of 2010 we discovered CK had a cancerous tumor on his leg most likely from vaccinations. The cancer specialists told us we could put him to sleep or we could amputate his leg. We were hesitant to do the amputation, but after reading a zillion articles on cats who do just fine with 3 legs, and realizing that he was mentally too young to go, we decided to do it. We were told there was a 20% chance the cancer would return, but we were willing to take that risk. I remember bringing him home and just crying because I felt so bad for doing it, but after two weeks he was back to normal. He was acting exactly like a young kitten again and was back to his mischievous ways. He could do everything he did before and soon we all forgot he was even missing a leg. A few days ago he started to act differently again- he wasn't eating as much and began to hide under my bed. We scheduled him for the vet and took him in to see what was going on. After the X-rays were done, the vet came in to tell us that his cancer had spread and there were tumors in his lungs and surrounding his heart. She told us we could try some kind of medication to make the tumors smaller and to extend his life a few months longer, but we agreed it wasn't fair to him since we had already put him through one treatment. CK was put to sleep peacefully at 4:15pm on November 29th, 2010.

He drove me insane, he interrupted my sleep every night, and some days I wanted to just lock him away in my bathroom so he couldn't bother me- but I loved him and if I could have him back, I would let him wake me up several times every night and he could pee all over my carpet as much as he wanted. I'm not a religious person, but I now understand why some people are and I hope that wherever he is, he's happy and he's not alone. I'm relieved that he's no longer suffering from cancer and hope he's sun bathing and eating salmon wherever he is. Thank you for being the most amazing cat anyone could ask for. I love you CK, and I will never forget you.

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