Today I had to put to sleep my dear friend, and pet, Norman. What we thought was just a persistent infection, was in fact feline fibrosarcoma. That is a fancy word for a really aggressive form of kitty cancer, sometimes caused by the vaccinations we use to keep them healthy. If they are caught when they are small, there is a 50-50 chance that they can be successfully removed surgically. The doc gave us some options, such as amputation or radiation, but all were likely to only prolong his suffering with little to no chance of saving his life. I made the only choice that I could, in good conscience, make. I told the doc to end his suffering. The worst part was trying to explain to my nine year-old daughter why daddy had the kitty killed. I HATE cancer. This is the second pet I have lost to one form or another of cancer. The insidious part is, that it presents as a small, hard nodule without any outward symptoms. By the time you can see the problem, it is already likely to be to late. I love my pets. I think of, and treat them, as my furry simpleton children, so his loss is pretty devastating to me. I urge all my cat loving readers to every month or two, examine your cats for nodules. If one cat can be spared Norman's fate, then he will not have passed in vain.
While I am sure that none of you care, it will be cathartic to remember his life. The wife and I rescued Norman from a Human Society shelter in May of 2004. He was a two month old fluff ball that when I first held him, rolled over in my arms and started batting at my hand. I could not resist, how could anyone when a little kitten looks up at you with those big eyes that say, "Take me home and fight with me Daddy." Which is just what we did, much to my room-mates' consternation. Russ, my old room-mate, is a closet cat lover with pretensions of hating any and all things feline. When we brought him home, he started to explore his new home. He sniffed my room-mate's shoes, a bio-hazard if there ever was one, puffed up with all the furry of a baby cat, and growled, hissed and other unsavory behaviors. I went to pick him up to comfort him, and the little bastard went right for my eyes. All I can remember seeing is ginormous kitty paws with claws prepared for battle. Being substantially bigger, I quickly over powered him, but since that moment he was never quite right in the head. My wife and I swear that the devil previously contained in those Converse took him over, and made him into a psychopath. Remembering one of my favorite movies, we quickly named him Norman after Alfred Hitchcock's terrifying serial killer.
Norman never gave up his psychotic tendencies. He would go from calmy purring while you pet him, to requiring a prybar to remove his fangs and claws, which he had just sunk into any tender parts of your hand or arm that met his fancy. Norman had a special place in his heart for my wife shely, unfortunately for her it was locked in his flesh tearing embrace. He had regal disdane for my oldest daughter, but was protective of my youngest. He would lay in her crib, I cannot say that did not make me nervous given his homicidal tendencies, and purr to her until she fell asleep. Later he would lay or walk with her as she crawled around, and growl at the other cats to stay away from her. The only time he swiped at her was when she tried to tear a patch of his fur out, but it was obviously without malice as his claws were velveted, and the strike had no real power behind it.
Norman loved to play with my other cats, and adored my sausage kitty Oliver. They were always wrestling or grooming each other, to the point that we called them our little homo kitties, always out of ear shot of he oldest who was likely to earn a trip to the principles office for repeating something as politically incorrect as "homo." In the last year and a half or so, Norman decided that he would graciously share the head of my half of the bed with me, and many was the night that we would fall asleep with his head resting on my hand, just waiting for me to move ever so slightly, so that he would have the chance to lightly reprimand me with a serious laceration requiring somewhere in the neighborhood of a million stitches.
When I was laid up with MRSA, he was the only company I had while everyone else was at work or school. I am very fortunate that my wife broke down when she went to pack him into the carrier to go to the vet or I would not have been there to make the tough choice, or for his last moments. He passed with his head cupped in my hand, purring. I will miss him terribly.
I was fortunate to receive the gift of Norman from You
Now that he has left this life,
please help me cope with my loss with strength and courage.
I know that my beloved companion no longer suffers,
and will live on in many fond memories.
May they be treated with the care and respect
As he has enriched my life,
I pray that I may enrich the lives of others.
God rest you Norman. Sleep in the arms of angels