This is Oscar. We got him and his brother, Marty, about nine about nine years ago when one of the cats owned by our former downstairs tenants had a litter of four , which proved to be just too damn much for them to handle (understandably, I might add). They spent the first four months of their lives living in separate cages in our basement while they were — uhhmmm — “de-worming,” but as soon as they got a clean bill of health we brought two of them up to our home to stay with us. Our lives were never the same — and that’s a good thing.
Marty was pretty quick to claim my wife, Deinell, as “his,” and that made Oscar “mine” by default. Until we lost Marty to a urinary tract infection on Christmas day four years ago, and Oscar started to spread his love and affection equally between Dee and myself. He was a crazy little guy who never did anything that made a lick of sense, but fuck it — we loved him anyway, and he let it be known that he was pretty fond of us, too. He was the kind of cat that would jump up on your lap or stomach anytime he wanted — even when you were fast asleep in the middle of the night — and jut purr away. I’d sometimes get pissed at him for waking me up, sure, but that was before I had to come to grips with the fact that he’d never jump up and sit on me again at any time, day or night. Now, of course, I miss it like crazy. Hell, I miss him like crazy.
In case you hadn’t figured it out already, we lost our little guy earlier this evening. He’d been shedding a dramatic amount of weight in recent months, despite eating like a horse and drinking like a fish, and didn’t look much like the fat and happy little fellow you see in the photo above. It turns out he was diabetic. Irony of all ironies, we actually picked up his first insulin prescription earlier today — good-bye $300 — but it was too little, too late. Oscar seemed to lose interest in food and water yesterday, and today he wouldn’t eat a bite or sip a drop. We took him to the emergency vet and it turned out his kidneys were failing. He put up a heck of a fight and did so silently and bravely. He didn’t make a bunch of noise, throw up, or even wince in pain. He just sat there, silent and listless, his little heart beating away even though he could barely stand up. A real trooper right to the end.
It wasn’t an end any of us were ready for, though, to say the least. 48 hours ago he was running around the house without a care in the world, mewling for Fancy Feast at the top of his lungs and generally doing all the stuff cats do that drives us nuts until they’re not there to do it anymore. Now, in less time than it takes to smoke a goddamn beef brisket, he’s gone. And there’s no other way to put it than this really sucks.
People use the term “fur babies” a lot these days, and Oscar was definitely that. Deinell and I don’t have kids, but even if we did, I think it’s safe to say that this little guy would still be front and center in our family unit because he’d make sure of it. He wasn’t always the easiest cat to love, that’s for certain — he was neurotic, demanding, pushy, and would shit on the floor when he was mad. But the fact that nobody else in their right mind would probably put up with him made us love him all the more. He needed us, you see — even if you’d never be able to get him to admit to that.
And you know what? It’s more than fair to say that we needed him, too. I guess you’ve got to be an animal lover to fully understand the bond that develops between humans and their hairy four-legged friends, but the weird thing is, I was never the world’s biggest animal lover myself until Marty and Oscar came along. They won me over without even trying, and now they’re both gone and I honestly have no clue how to process how lousy that makes me feel. They had good lives, to be sure — trust me when I say that neither one of them ever lacked for food, affection, or attention — but it’s a raw-as-all-hell deal that both of those lives were cut waaaaayyyy too short.
All you can do is move on, I guess, and be thankful for the good times. There certainly were a lot of those. Here’s what it all boils down to, though — yeah, cats cost you money in terms of food, vet bills, litter, all that good stuff, but they do a lot more for you than you do for them. I was a better person with Oscar sitting on my lap, purring away while I read, watched TV, or wrote blog posts like this one. Don’t ask me why or how that works, it just does. And now there’s an empty spot on my lap — and in my heart. We’ve still got his psycho step-sibling Trixie (seen with him in the photo below) to keep us company and make us pull our hair out, sure, but I’m seeing the ghost of our Oscar scurrying along the kitchen floor out of the corner of my eye already. That’s sort of comforting, I guess, but I’d rather love a real, live cat than his shadow — or his memory — any day.
Our memory is where he lives on now, though — as well as in our hearts. And those hearts are a heck of a lot bigger and better thanks to him. We’re going to miss you every day for the rest of our lives, little buddy, just like your brother. You guys were the best thing that ever happened to us, and while you may not be here to feel it or to hear us say it, we’re gonna keep on loving you crazy hairy monsters forever anyway. RIP Oscar, Sept. 9th 2006-Aug. 22nd, 2015.