Sometime either right before or right after Charles and I declared our union in front of friends on a Washington State Ferry in January 2004, we adopted two seven-week-old kittens from the Tacoma Humane Society, feral-born fosters, brothers who had already been neutered. They were absolutely adorable. The one with the white feet and white splash on his face we named Tom Sawyer and his brother, who didn't have the white markings, we named Huckleberry Finn. Tom and Huck for short.
Pest earned his name by insisting on stropping everyone and everything that came into his household. He and his brother would often scrap with each other, holding onto each other with their front legs while scratching with their back ones; Tom is the larger and more dominant but it was often Huck picking the fights. Half an hour later, they'd be washing one another's faces and snuggling with each other on the sofa.
We got two Pootie Pads, one apiece, but these two boys shared; usually they'd prefer to sleep in the middle of both of them, taking up as much room as they possibly could on the sofa in order to prevent (oh, horrors!) a dog from getting onto the sofa and sharing it with them.
How do I write this hardest to write of diaries? Usually the words flow like music, the thoughts dancing joyfully along. Today they drag down, towing me under.
Pest is gone.
A couple of months ago, his left hip started jutting out. We thought that maybe he had injured himself fighting with his brother; it wasn't likely to be damage done by a car. One day he was okay and the next, he wasn't. I examined him thoroughly for abrasions, wounds, but not even a bit of fur was ruffled. At least, this is how it seemed to us. We diligently started saving to take him to the vet. Today he went. I had been getting more worried about him this past weekend, because his left foot had become swollen to nearly double the size of his right.
There were a couple of possibilities, the vet said: an infection caused by a puncture, maybe a thorn (and maybe a brother's back claw, I thought), or something a lot worse. She did a needle aspiration of the affected area, which included his abdomen and his left hip: it was bad. Really, really bad.
I had gone down there with him prepared to not bring him home because of him needing to spend time at the vet hospital healing up. I hadn't gone down with the expectation of not bringing him home alive at all. But when the vet gave me the diagnosis of inoperable cancer, incurable cancer, I walked outside and called Charles, who came down straightaway from work to be with Pest as he walked on.
We gave Pest to the Bridgekeepers and the Gods at a little before 12:30 this afternoon.
How do I write of who he was, how he was ceiling cat incarnate, of how not one person who met him didn't love him, about how he was a homebody and a loverboy, the snuggliest of kitties? How do I write so that you can see it, of the fun of watching him chase pieces of paper or rubberbands across the kitchen floor? I have no pictures of that. How do I let you hear his loud purr?
Goodbye, Huckleberry Finn, Stropalopagus, our beloved Pest. Go meet up with the spirit guides who have been sent to wait for you. We'll catch up again... someday.