We had to put down our Tommy cat today. He was nineteen years old.
Tommy was born in our house. His mother, Isabel, was my daughter’s cat. My teen and my youngest adult kid don’t remember when he wasn’t part of the household.
He’s been through a lot, Tommy. Someone swung him around by the tail once, breaking and paralyzing his tail. He lost the use of his bowels for awhile and my husband had to squeeze him just right so that he could urinate.
Then he was mauled by an unknown animal. The wounds healed quickly. But since we did not know what mauled him, and since there is a strain of rabies which can lie dormant for six months, Tommy had to be quarantined in a cage for six months. My husband made him vet-recommended eggs and fed him.
While transporting Tommy to the vet one time during that six months, Tommy started biting at the box we were carrying him in, and he connected with my husband’s arm. Since we didn’t know yet whether Tommy had rabies…my husband had to have a series of rabies shots.
Tommy did not have rabies.
He always bounced back as though he didn’t even remember the troubles. We think that was because he didn’t. We all knew Tommy wasn’t the sharpest animal in the drawer, but that was OK. He was clueless and it was endearingly funny. Until old age caught up with him, he always acted just like he was still a kitten.
He was a good mouser though! Mice who wandered into our house didn’t have a chance, and many moles on our property were found headless. We said he was trying to get smarter by eating all those brains. It didn’t work.
I say he loved to hunt, but he was otherwise the most passive male animal I’ve ever seen. Other cats felt free to wander our property, stopping first to challenge Tommy, freezing in their scary pose and staring with their low-throated long growl. He was oblivious; he would lie there and look into the distance. “Oh hi. Whatever.”
Cho-Cho lived with us for awhile, a semi-feral cat who’d been owned then abandoned. He was street, and dominated Tommy totally. I’d find Tommy underneath a cozy Cho-Cho, serving as mattress. Tommy was OK with it.
When he lost his hearing, he would go off to the cellar and moan. There would come a loud, resonant Wow-wow-woooowwwww…Wow-wow–woooowwww. He couldn’t hear himself anymore and that’s how a cat sounds when he’s stone deaf.
Deaf, almost blind, arthritic. Today he seized and we thought he was dying right in front of us. After awhile he seemed to rally, though he still looked bad. We took him to the vet who diagnosed dehydration caused by kidney failure. As he lay on the table, he became very still and unresponsive. He was going into shock.
We put him down. It was very quick and he was comforted til the end.
Tommy lived to eat, nap, hunt, and go through doors. If there was a door, he had to go through it, even if he’d just gone through the other way one minute ago. In and out, all day. He had a long, full life.