We finally had to have our fat old cat Dylan put to sleep on the weekend. After many, many vet visits and scans and tests, the vets just couldn’t figure out why he was refusing to eat. He got thinner and thinner and reached a point on Saturday morning where he was obviously in distress, heart pounding and breath laboured. It was time. The vet was wonderful, we cried, and Dylan went quietly between one breath and the next.
Dylan was originally our neighbours’ cat. He started showing up in our back garden, obviously auditioning new families; we fed him and he stayed. They knocked on the door asking where their cat was and we quickly pushed him out the back door into the garden where he screamed and yowled to be let back in (I’d honestly thought he was a stray). We came to an agreement with the neighbors, and he stayed. He was a huge, fat cat – just under 28lbs at his heaviest. The photo to the right shows Dylan at his finest: put a beer in one paw and a remote in the other, and he’d be the perfect couch potato. He’d eat anything, including vegetables, potatoes, tortillas (grimacing if it was something that he hated the taste of, but still getting it down). He once ate a plate of leftover brussels sprouts and I was afraid that he was going to fly around the room afterwards like an escaped balloon.
Laurence, one of the other cats, hated him. It was as though Dylan was born with a big “Kick Me” sign taped to his ass that the other cats could read. Laurence has a streak of dickishness in his personality a mile wide: he would sit behind the door of any room that Dylan was in, ready to jump out, smack him, and say Boo. He’d sit there for hours. He’d guard the food and water dishes, knowing that Dylan was afraid to challenge him. We would squirt him with a water bottle when he was being really horrible and he would still go after Dylan, ready to give him a kicking.
After Dylan was gone, both of the other cats seemed a bit bemused and lost. Laurence had lost his whipping boy, and I had lost my feline labrador, the cat that wanted nothing more than to curl up with me (or lay on top of me) and be petted. I kept expecting to see him every time I sat down in my reading spot, every time we got the chopping board out in the kitchen to cut up meat, every time I woke in the morning. He was always so there, and it seemed impossible that he now was not.
Yesterday Laurence fell down the stairs. We live in a tall, narrow Victorian terrace on three floors, with a winding staircase turning back on itself in the centre of the house. Now, Laurence is a clumsy, derpy cat – but he is well aware of his athletic shortcomings and is the most careful cat on the planet. He doesn’t risk anything.
I was downstairs when I heard a KA-THUMP! on the landing at the bottom of the stairs and ran over to see Laurence in a heap, totally stunned. From the sound of it he might have hit once on the way down, but it was pretty much a straight drop all the way down. I can’t think of a situation which would have involved this scaredy-cat actually leaning over the drop between the railings, so I have to wonder…what actually launched him?
If there is any justice in the world, it was Dylan’s ghost, giving Laurence a big boot to the hindquarters. “Not so tough now, are you? How’s it feel?”
Payback’s a bitch.