Sunday, 2 August 2009

Am I cursed?

There are two beings I will always love more than anyone in this world: my cats Randy and Sassy. Randy was brought into my life via a newspaper hunt for a cat 'free to good home' when I was nine-years-old (1994). Randy was three, going on four, when we found him. An outdoor kitty rescued by a family who rescued cats for a living (they had 30 cats!), he was adorable, easy-going, and was found sitting atop a Little Tykes art easel when we walked into the family's home. We knew he was the cat for us the moment we said hello. We took him home that night and from then on, he was my best friend.

(Me and Randy, 2005)

About five months later, on a warm winter's night in January 1995, we went to Petsmart to buy Randy some of his fancy food (Science Diet) and while my parents went to look for his food, my sisters and I were overcome with joy and curiosity as we say the adoption center had cats to adopt that night. We walked in, just expecting to look at some cute kitties and then we found her. A tiny little six-month-old kitten named Snuggles. She greeted us as soon as we came up to her cage. We were allowed to hold her and apparently, she bit my little sister. My twin said she knew right then we had to have Snuggles because she bit our little sister. We sent the youngest to guilt the parents into coming over and looking at Sassy. Needless to say, as soon as they met Snuggles, they knew she was the best kitty to add to our household. After all, Randy needed a friend.

Snuggles came home with us and was content to stay in the parents room while we waited for the right time to introduce Randy and Snuggles. Oh and we changed her name real quick from Snuggles to Sassy. Probably the next day. My twin was obsessed with 'Homeward Bound' and named our cute new kitten after the cat with Sally Field's voice over. Sure, my twin denies this but I think she's just forgotten. And boy oh boy, was she a Sassy. I remember a few days after she moved into our home, she jumped on top of the washing machine and tried to bite me when I attempted to move her off of it. I remember saying "You sure are a Sassy..." when I finally got her down.

(Sassy, 2008)

And from that day forward, Sassy became my twin's cat and Randy was mine. We moved a lot and Randy and Sassy were our constant companions as we learned to adapt to a new schoolyard of friends and new neighborhoods. There were plenty of times when my asshole of a father tried to get rid of the best cats in the world just because he didn't want to pay a pet deposit, but they stayed with us. I would have probably gone out on the street with Randy as opposed to loose him.

You see, Randy was my best friend not only because I never had a stable best friend throughout my childhood; but because he was there whenever I was upset. Upset that I was being ignored by my family; upset when I had a bad day at school; upset that my parents were fighting yet again. He was always there to greet me with a head-butt and a purr. I could never imagine my life without him.

In 2002, Randy became ill. He had a urinary tract infection. We spent the next few weeks rushing him to the hospital to get IV fluids and getting special food to make sure he was okay. His UTI became so bad the only option to make it stop was to re-route his urethra (apparently boy urethra goes in a loop and a girl cat has a straight one, which they wanted to reroute his to be straight) - a $1,000 surgery. My parents wanted to give up and put him down. He was only 11-years-old at the time. After everything he had been through in the first four years of his life before he met us, I knew we couldn't give up on him. My whole family pitched in to get the surgery done.

To this day, I still think something went wrong in the surgery. Something affected his kidneys. We took him to different vets for opinions, but no one had anything to offer. The one year I didn't take him for a check-up (2004-05) is the year things became much, much worse. By March 2005 I knew something was wrong. And by April we were told 75% of his kidneys had failed. He couldn't go to the bathroom, he wouldn't drink or eat anything, and it killed me. We had no choice but to put him down. A decision I will regret the rest of my life. I didn't try hard enough to save him. Maybe I did and maybe I didn't. He was 14 going on 15-years-old when he left me.

And now Sassy just had her 15th birthday. She's had her health problems over the past few years. Pancreatitis, IBS, and other stomach issues. My sister has spent so much money on making sure Sassy's pancreas and IBS was under control that we never imagined any other health problem would pop up. But a new health problem has popped-up. A bone tumor, about the size of a candy Gobbstopper, sits on her lower jaw. On the jaw of a cat who has been as tiny as she was the day we took her home. What was once a little nodule has become huge. It's grown tremendously over the past three weeks. Where did it come from? Why is it so big?

On Monday, we will find out if this bump is bone cancer. If it's bone cancer then my other best friend will be sick with something just as deadly as Randy was when he was about 15. This would mean my cats are all cursed to fall to some awful peril at 15. It's silly to contemplate I'm cursed, but I feel like it. I feel like I'm being smited for trying so hard to take care of my cats. For loving my cats above anyone else. I can't help it.

An indoor cat who has always had their immunizations, been seeing the only internal medicine vet in Southern Washington state every six months for a check-up, and been fed the best food should not become ill at 15. It's not fair. Randy may have not been taken care of as well because we never had the money to take him to the vet every six months. I only have myself (and my parents, really) to blame for that. But for Sassy... it just doesn't make sense. It just comes down to the fact I'm cursed.

I'm hoping and praying I'm wrong. That 15 may be a time when something bad happens, but it isn't the cause of the downfall. It isn't the time when they'll leave me forever. I'm hoping this bump - cancer or not - can be treated and soon. Sassy deserves to live another five years. Besides, I told her before she has to live til she's 20. And she owes me the five years Randy lost (he was also meant to live until 20), so she has to be a minimum of 25 when she leaves this Earth. I refuse to settle for any less! And I refuse to be cursed!

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