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2006-02-15

I grieve

My 15-year-old cat Poco developed a growth in her jaw last November. X-rays and biopsy showed that while it was non-malignant, it was eating away absorbing the bone on both sides of her mandible, so that her chin was essentially gone. The only option was surgery that might give her another 6 months but she would have to have a feeding tube in her stomach and be kept inside - Poco could never have handled not being able to go out.

She lost weight slowly at first, and her grooming suffered. Then she lost weight rapidly, but was still climbing the fence to our cat-lady-neighbour over the back to loudly nag for treats, she was still bright-eyed and still affectionate. Cat-lady-neighbour was concerned, but I let her know that I was taking her to the vet regularly for monitoring.

I gave her pain-killers, mashed her food and gently syringed pet-milk and broth down her throat. I bathed her for the first times in her life so that her fur would not get too matted with gunk. But she still kept getting thinner. Last weekend I decided it was time to say goodbye, and that on Monday I would tell the vet to send her to sleep.

I saw her climb the back fence in the morning, and when I went to call her to me so I could put her in the cat-carrier, she didn't come. She didn't come in for her evening meal either. I can handle the thought that she decided to find a quiet place and never wake up.

Today I spoke to my neighbour. She called the RSPCA on Monday without consulting me and told them to take Poco away to be put down. She told me that she told the RSPCA that the cat had an owner, the RSPCA person knocked on my door and couldn't raise me, so they took my cat away. I was horrified, and what's more I knew she was lying.

I rang the RSPCA, and they were told to come and collect an injured stray. Their policy is to contact owners in such cases and give the owners the option of being with their pets while they are given the injection. That bitch over the back fence stole that moment from me, where I could stroke her softly to sleep while remembering all my cherished times with Poco from the very first time she danced out to sniff my fingers while her sibs hid nose-twitching under the daybed in the house full of children who gave her to me.

I hate my neighbour.

9 comments:

Emily said...

I'm so sorry. That's horrible. It's hard enough saying goodbye to a pet without the intrusion of this kind of... I was starting to say "pettiness", but there's nothing petty about having control of the death of someone you love being coopted by an outsider.

I hope you can confront cat-lady-neighbor about it, because she needs to get beyond her self-righteousness to understand how out of line she was. I suspect she already knows, deep down, or she wouldn't have felt the need to lie to the RSPCA folks.

In any case, I know how worried you've been about Poco as she declined, and I'm very sorry she's gone.

Becca said...

Fuck.

Carolyn said...

That is SO wrong. She stole from you and to Poco as well as lied to officials. You would have grounds to sue but it wouldn't bring your moments with Poco back.
Maybe a yard sign saying liar and murderer with an arrow pointing to her house would give some relief.

tigtog said...

Thanks for the support, y'all. I still see a black piece of clothing around and for a moment I think it's her.

Susoz said...

How awful and how interfering of that woman. Is this her way of alleging that you were mistreating the cat? or her way of expressing that *she* can't cope with mortality and illness? I can imagine how rotten that would make you feel. But at least Poco is out of pain now.

tigtog said...

I think it was her way of alleging mistreatment - she said "oh, she's been suffering for months".

Certainly she had been losing weight for months, and her jaw looked icky with her tongue hanging out dry, but I was feeding her mush and fluids with a syringe after giving her painkillers, and until last week I'd been keeping her stable. She was still climbing a 6 foot fence several times a day after all!

The last decline from frail but stable to catachexic was very rapid, just like it was with your Harry. It was time for her to go, I just wanted to be there with her when she went.

Andy said...

Sorry to hear the sad news about Poco. Felix passed away some yrs ago + i wasn't able to say good-bye to her either. (Occasionally she'll appear in my dreams, say 'miaow', do a circuit or two around my legs, and then disappear...)

Peace,

@ndy.

tigtog said...

Earlier this evening I called my daughter's cat Molly by Poco's name. I've got over the worst of the grieving period, but I still hate my neighbour.

Anonymous said...

Oh god that story brings me to tears. I am so sorry for your loss. That woman had no right to interfere. Who does she think she is?

I would send a lawyers letter to let her know how she offended you. Get documentation from the RSPCA, who you spoke with, what the lying neighbour said IN WRITING. Even if you don't sue for personal injury and damages it will scare the crap out of her and let her know to stay away from you.

Then google the poem "Rainbow Bridge" because whenever I lose a furry friend I find comfort in these words.
Blessings.