March 31, 2012

Farewell, Winston, my wonder cat



Jacob and I put our cat Winston to sleep earlier this afternoon. He was only four and looked like a kitten his whole life. Jacob called him a wonder cat, cause he would let you hold his paws, he'd let you stand him on top of your head, wear him like a scarf and was completely trusting of humans in every way. He liked to eat heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers and butter. He purred like a motor -- all the time. Being near a human -- any human -- made him happy. I'd often wake up with him sitting on my chest holding my hand until I got out of bed. He'd sit on your lap while you watched tv. He always sat on my desk while I worked, with his paws tucked and tail wrapped around his body. His posture was always neat, tidy, and tucked in. He seemed to mock our other, more plump and uncouth cat, who has a tendency to splay herself inappropriately and lose her balance. He was dainty and graceful. He liked wearing scarves, and ascots. He loved people, and in big groups, always sought hugs and rubs and nuzzles. And people also loved him, without fail. He was gentle and sweet and adoring -- always ready to be your buddy.

Winston had kidney failure, which may or may not have been developing his whole life. 3.5 years ago, when he was just a kitten, he'd had acute kidney failure, and against all of the vets predictions, managed to survive. The problem seemed to dissolve, and we blamed it on accidentally eating a lily or plant, but never really knew the cause. Whether this is related, or not, we'll never know, but blood tests showed that his chances of recovery were painfully low, and even in the best case scenario, he'd have a drastically shortened life, and would require IV fluids for as long as he lived. We didn't want to put him through that, or put ourselves through that.

Winston, and our other cat Paloma, had been upstate with my parents the last 2 months while we were on tour so I didn't get to spend a lot of time with him towards the end. My parents grew to love both of them enormously.  After 8 happy weeks in their house, my mom called on Thursday night saying he'd stopped eating entirely and had rapidly lost weight, so I decided to bring him back to Brooklyn. I wanted to bring him to doctors who'd treated him before, and deep inside, I think I had a sinking feeling this could be the end, and I didn't want to say goodbye without Jacob there too. It had been his idea to get Winston in the first place, and he was our cat, together.

I headed upstate abruptly on Friday morning, gathered both cats and brought Winston straight to the vet. He spent one last quiet night with us in our apartment in Greenpoint. We found out only this morning about the severity of his condition. The doctor said he was as deeply uncomfortable now as he was going to ever be and recommended we act quickly so we brought him in during the early afternoon and said goodbye.

My face hurts so much. I've been crying all day. I will miss him so much. His ashes will be spread, very appropriately, in a field of flowers here in Brooklyn. Thanks to everyone who has already sent kind words. Hug your kitties extra tonight.