My friend Suz Redfearn (not this Suz, a different Suz) sent an email to some of her friends today. It seems that Habbib, her old cat, is in his final days. His ninth life is drawing to a close.
Suz has a way with the written word (which is a good thing, because that’s how she makes her living - Google her, or just read her here and here and here and here), and this message really touched me, not only because it’s well-written, but also because I, too, have an old cat.
Oh sure, we joke about how Chuckie “won’t die” and is such a noisy, high-maintenance pain in the ass, and there’s a grain of truth to that. But, when it comes down to it, I kinda like knowing he’s always where my feet belong at the foot of the bed every night except when we accidentally lock him out of the house and will miss the heck outa him when he finally meets his maker. And so will Curt, and even though he’ll deny that he won’t miss the twice-daily MEOW! MEEOOW! MEEEOOOOWWWDAMMIT! demands for food, I know that when that day comes, he might actually get a bit misty. (Shut up, Curt, you know it’s true.)
Anyway, I’m reprinting Suz’s email below, as kind of a guest post, as well as a way to honor a very cool kitty. If you’re a cat lover, you’ll appreciate this. If not, tune in later. Photos below the post. Enjoy. And, as Suz has requested, say a little incantation for Habbib. And, send good thoughts to my friend Suz, her husband Marty, and their daughter, Eve.
(My apologies about the formatting – I’ve been messing with it for way too long and it is what it is at this point.)
It’s a sad day. Furbee come to life, Gremlin of
goodness, and my cat-like creature since, oh, 1994 or 1995, has
two large and unfortunate masses in his abdomen. At his age, and given
the fact that there are two tumors and not just one, the doc said there’s a
less than 10 percent chance it’s anything benign or fixable, and a greater
than 90 percent chance that it’s cancer, and not the curable kind.
Only symptoms at this point? Abdominal distention.
He looks pregnant and makes a weird grindy noise when he eats. I avoided taking
him to the vet for a few weeks after I noticed the swelling because I
knew this wouldn’t be good. I don’t know how
old Habbib is exactly, but the answer is likely around 18. No point in
putting him through surgery and chemo at his advanced age, just to give him a
few extra months or weeks, and so we aren’t. We’re just going to let him stay at
home and be Habbib, and have all the catnip and pork (he loves pork, that
weirdo) that he wants. At this point he doesn’t appear to be in any pain
and we just hope that continues.
Habbib isn’t just a cat to me, he’s the embodiment of an era. He’s been through, what, like five boyfriends with me (sorry, Marty) and one husband; five apartments/homes in two states and four towns; three jobs, and luckily for him, seven years of freelancing during which he could walk across my keyboard and delete files whenever he saw fit. He’s endured life with a giant golden retriever, a curmudgeonly beagle, and Poots the crazy cat who was
never really a friend to Habbib (sorry, Habbib). He went through five years of infertility with us, and then the arrival of Eve. And he’s a been a gentleman and a quiet eccentric all the while. He’s been the neatest cat I could
ever imagine having, and in all likelihood he will be the last. Because, my god, what cat could live up?
Sadly, Eve is really into him these days. She chases him around and proclaims him “soft” or “silly.” She tells me I need to pet him. Or she stops meals half way through because she needs to go over and pet him herself. She puts her blankets on him if she finds him sleeping. Today Eve said to me, “Mommy, Habbib has an owie. Mommy, fix Habbibi!” I’m not sure what to tell her.
Poor Habbib. He used to be the center of my universe, as evidenced by this tribute to him from 2002 (which then ended up in the 2007 essay collection: Cat Women: Female Writers on Their Feline Friends). But then along came Marty, and then along came Ike [a Golden Retriever], and then along came Eve, pushing Habbib further and further onto the periphery. Rest assured, though, in the weeks or months to come — however long with have with him — he will be front and center again, on his new heating pad, with as much smelly canned food and pork as possible — oh and, before it gets too cold, walks in the yard, which he has always craved and mostly been denied. We are going outside right now.
I now feel so bad about all the times I thought, “God DAMN it, when will the day come that I never have to clean another kitty litter box??” Now I just want to stop doing everything and devote myself to Habbib. The doc said he has four months max. More like weeks, he said. So, I’d better love on him now.
Filed under: cats, guest post, Tributes | Tagged: cats, feline, habbib, ode, Suz Redfearn, tribute | 5 Comments »