Sunday, January 9, 2022

RIP Popeye, ?-January 8, 2022

To many if not all conscientious pet owners, Nature provides the cruelest of ironies. When their time on this earth comes to an end, they lose us and we lose them. Except we don't get the reunions with departed relatives and pets. We don't cross over the fabled Rainbow Bridge with them. We're left with vet bills and the cost and hassle of finding a place to bury them. We're left in tears.
     Popeye passed away last night at around 11 PM. When I woke up yesterday, he was stretched out before the front door, typically, in a sunbeam. I was going to take him to the vet but when I picked him up, I immediately realized that he couldn't walk and that there wasn't any point in taking him.
     So Barb and I gently laid him on our bed, where our other beloved cat, Sweetie, passed away in November 2009. All day and night, we took turns comforting him and making sure he was comfortable. He died on the red fleece blanket you see above in  one of the last photographs I ever took of him, maybe the last. I got it for Barb on Christmas and, in the last week of health he had, Popeye, ever the hedonist, had taken an instant liking to it and we'd happily shared it with him. That picture was taken either right before or right after his final decline.
     There are those reading this who may sneer at my sentimentality over my pets, and have in the past, but I won't talk about them. This is Popeye's space. This time is his. And such people who would sneer at our grief and outpouring of love over our recently-departed little friend are just emotionally-stunted people who had never benefited from the unconditional love of an animal and my pity goes out to them.
     Popeye often had a waspish personality yet I ascribed that to what must have been a hard life on the streets of Hudson, MA. I knew nothing of his former life before I'd taken him in early June of 2009 and I never will. Yet, the nick that cleaved the tip his left ear gave me a clue. There was also his fear of thunderstorms that would make him crawl, his belly almost on the floor and seek our comfort or at least his little refuge under our bed.
     There was also his lack of litter box training. Many cats will spill their litter on the floor but I've never known one who would claw his litter liner over the litter then shit on the bag. I also never knew a cat that would regularly piss on a bath mat while the litter box was just feet away. In the last year, it forced me to put the bath mats on the floor only when I needed it then pick up and drape it over the tub when I was done.
     So, assuming he'd had a hard life before I rescued him, I gave him endless passes. Yes, he still drove us crazy these last 12½ years. Like all cats, he'd knock things off our bureau and sink, jump into cabinets and drawers conveniently left open and into, of course, boxes and bags. He'd claw our furniture to shreds while completely ignoring the scratching post I'd bought him in September 2009.  But Popeye was the kind of cat that desperately needed structure and routine. He was like a furry little Rain Man who needed to be kept on a schedule and, more importantly, to keep his human charges to that same schedule lest his orderly little corner of the universe descend into chaos.
     Mrs. JP brings me my coffee in bed most every morning while I'm still trying to wake up. More often than not, Popeye, long accustomed to the routine, would see Barb walk into the bedroom with my cup, he'd run into the bedroom, scoot around her, jump up on my pillows then onto my right leg so I could rub the top of his silky head with the bottom of my coffee cup. He loved it and was just one in what was an astoundingly complex system of habits and routines that made us wonder in amazement he could keep straight in his little head.
     I'd often work on one book or another until late at night and Popeye would patiently, sometimes not so patiently, sit on the table and watch me. When I'd pull the ice pack out from under my laptop, he associated that with my getting ready for bed, leap off the table and howl for his final treat of the day. He was the living embodiment of Pavlov's research. Then, once we were both in bed, he'd jump on and assume his customary place at the lower left corner, just beyond Barb's feet.
     But before my coffee, Barb had to first tend to him. Canned food, fresh spring water in his bowl with the requisite two ice cubes regardless of the time of year, also made out of spring water (We were very careful about what we put into our beloved cat's body).
     There were other habits and quirks galore. If I tried to rub both his jaws at the same time, he would forcefully jerk his head back. Prior abuse? Again, I assumed so. He didn't like being chucked under the chin like most cats and he hated having his eyes wiped when discharge developed. Softly rubbing the tuft of fur between his eyes would almost instantly put him to sleep.
     These are just some of the quirks that loving pet owners note and respond to and I did whatever I could to make him happy. Of course I did. We both did. Because bringing an animal into your home means saying goodbye to your old life. It's the same as bringing a new baby into the family. As the old saying goes, "All conform to infancy and infancy conforms to no one."
     The same applies to pets.
    And, whether we know it or not, pets teach us valuable things- They teach us discipline, the necessity of routine. They continually reinforce our innate sense of humanity by having us care for them. In short, pets are powerful extensions of the best parts of ourselves. We would do anything for them, unreservedly, unconditionally. Because that is the only way they know how to love us.
     When it became obvious that Popeye was declining and he stopped eating and drinking and using his litter box, I prayed to whoever would listen, knowing that, as usual, no one was listening, to spare his life. If I could supernaturally strike a deal to spare his life at the expense of my own, I literally would have done it. That's love, when you would die for your pet.
     Desperate to get him to urinate again, I kept changing his water, dropping his beloved ice cubes into it, anything to get him to start using his kidneys again. I even put the bath mat back on the floor and, indeed, I saw him sniffing at it on a couple of occasions when he could still walk.
     He ordered us around like he was the boss because he was. He'd meow and yowl for his treats, of which we had several on hand from Sheba stick treats, to broth to dry Temptations treats to the moist variety. Sometimes it'd sound as if he was barking at us and we happily went along with it while wondering why we put up with it. But we spoiled him and indulged him in his every little demand and routine that, somehow, he was somehow able to keep straight in his little baseball-sized head.
     Because we had to assume there was nobody to do so or even feed him regularly before I picked him up and took him home.
     But I didn't rescue him. He rescued me. I'd moved into this apartment in March of 2009, having lost my family of 15+ years, my home and much of my property. It was time to rebuild, to move on but I had nobody and nothing to care for, not even a house plant. Then this Russian Blue runs up to me on a rainy night, having recognized me from when I bought him a can of cat food last April. By late that month, I'd invited Barb to come up from Florida and live with me. When I literally picked Popeye up off the street, it wouldn't be until the end of July that Barb would get up here. Popeye had provided me with that crucial seven week-long bridge because I desperately needed to care for another living creature, one in as much dire need as I. Popeye, like all cats, very rapidly got used to being spoiled.
     And now he's gone. I'd like to think he's awaiting me somewhere in whatever awaits us on the other side. But I have a tough, analytical mind. As much as I'd like to believe in a celestial reunion, I cannot. I'd have a lot of dearly-departed pets awaiting me. Our lives now seem formless, bereft of the comfort of routine, lacking a lot of the love, the love that Popeye had given us in his less waspish moments. He clung to us in his last full day of life on the 7th switching from my side of the kitchen table to Barb's. Cats get asocial when they're sick. Not Popeye.
    Today, I went to the bathroom and something told me to look under the bathmat. I picked it up, looked at the rubber backing and saw something: The telltale sign of a small urine stain that he had left in great abundance over the years.
     In trying to keep one of his own routines alive, the little devil had one last trick up his furry sleeve.


Post a Comment

<< Home

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

All Time Classics

  • Our Worse Half: The 25 Most Embarrassing States.
  • The Missing Security Tapes From the World Trade Center.
  • It's a Blunderful Life.
  • The Civil War II
  • Sweet Jesus, I Hate America
  • Top Ten Conservative Books
  • I Am Mr. Ed
  • Glenn Beck: Racist, Hate Monger, Comedian
  • The Ten Worst Music Videos of all Time
  • Assclowns of the Week

  • Links to the first 33 Assclowns of the Week.
  • Links to Assclowns of the Week 38-63.
  • #106: The Turkey Has Landed edition
  • #105: Blame it on Paris or Putin edition
  • #104: Make Racism Great Again Also Labor Day edition
  • #103: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Toilet edition
  • #102: Orange is the New Fat edition
  • #101: Electoral College Dropouts edition
  • #100: Centennial of Silliness edition
  • #99: Dr. Strangehate edition
  • #98: Get Bentghazi edition
  • #97: SNAPping Your Fingers at the Poor edition
  • #96: Treat or Treat, Kiss My Ass edition
  • #95: Monumental Stupidity double-sized edition
  • #94: House of 'Tards edition
  • #93: You Da Bomb! edition.
  • #92: Akin to a Fool edition.
  • #91: Aurora Moronealis edition.
  • #90: Keep Your Gubmint Hands Off My High Pre'mums and Deductibles! edition.
  • #89: Occupy the Catbird Seat/Thanksgiving edition.
  • #88: Heil Hitler edition.
  • #87: Let Sleeping Elephants Lie edition.
  • #86: the Maniacs edition.
  • #85: The Top 50 Assclowns of 2010 edition.
  • #(19)84: Midterm Madness edition.
  • #83: Spill, Baby, Spill! edition.
  • #82: Leave Corporations Alone, They’re People! edition.
  • #81: Hatin' on Haiti edition.
  • #80: Don't Get Your Panties in a Twist edition.
  • #79: Top 50 Assclowns of 2009 edition.
  • #78: Nattering Nabobs of Negativism edition.
  • #77: ...And Justice For Once edition.
  • #76: Reading Tea Leaves/Labor Day edition.
  • #75: Diamond Jubilee/Inaugural Edition
  • #74: Dropping the Crystal Ball Edition
  • #73: The Twelve Assclowns of Christmas Edition
  • #72: Trick or Treat Election Day Edition
  • #71: Grand Theft Autocrats Edition
  • #70: Soulless Corporations and the Politicians Who Love Them Edition
  • Empire Of The Senseless.
  • Conservative Values for an Unsaved World.
  • Esquire's Charles Pierce.
  • Brilliant @ Breakfast.
  • The Burning Platform.
  • The Rant.
  • Mock, Paper, Scissors.
  • James Petras.
  • Towle Road.
  • Avedon's Sideshow (the new site).
  • At Largely, Larisa Alexandrovna's place.
  • The Daily Howler.
  • The DCist.
  • Greg Palast.
  • Jon Swift. RIP, Al.
  • God is For Suckers.
  • The Rude Pundit.
  • Driftglass.
  • Newshounds.
  • William Grigg, a great find.
  • Brad Blog.
  • Down With Tyranny!, Howie Klein's blog.
  • Wayne's World. Party time! Excellent!
  • Busted Knuckles, aka Ornery Bastard.
  • Mills River Progressive.
  • Right Wing Watch.
  • Earthbond Misfit.
  • Anosognosia.
  • Echidne of the Snakes.
  • They Gave Us a Republic.
  • The Gawker.
  • Outtake Online, Emmy-winner Charlotte Robinson's site.
  • Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
  • No More Mr. Nice Blog.
  • Head On Radio Network, Bob Kincaid.
  • Spocko's Brain.
  • Pandagon.
  • Slackivist.
  • WTF Is It Now?
  • No Blood For Hubris.
  • Lydia Cornell, a very smart and accomplished lady.
  • Roger Ailes (the good one.)
  • BlondeSense.
  • The Smirking Chimp.
  • Hammer of the Blogs.
  • Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
  • Argville.
  • Existentialist Cowboy.
  • The Progressive.
  • The Nation.
  • Mother Jones.
  • Vanity Fair.
  • Citizens For Legitimate Government.
  • News Finder.
  • Indy Media Center.
  • Lexis News.
  • Military Religious Freedom.
  • McClatchy Newspapers.
  • The New Yorker.
  • Bloggingheads TV, political vlogging.
  • Find, the next-best thing to Nexis.
  • Altweeklies, for the news you won't get just anywhere.
  • The Smirking Chimp
  • Don Emmerich's Peace Blog
  • Wikileaks.
  • The Peoples' Voice.
  • CIA World Fact Book.
  • IP address locator.
  • Tom Tomorrow's hilarious strip.
  • Babelfish, an instant, online translator. I love to translate Ann Coulter's site into German.
  • Newsmeat: Find out who's donating to whom.
  • Wikipedia.
  • Uncyclopedia.
  • Icasualties
  • Free Press
  • YouTube
  • The Bone Bridge.
  • Powered by Blogger