I turned 30 at the beginning of October and I can't say that this age has treated me very well so far. Three years ago on my birthday I brought home a feline fluffball named Hootie; she came to me from an acquaintance who was moving to Ireland and couldn't take the cat with her. I knew next to nothing about Hootie except for her name, her presumed age (11?), and the fact that she came with two litter boxes (but no Blowfish, thankfully). I brought her back to my apartment in Over-The-Rhine in Downtown Cincinnati where she promptly hid in one of the many nooks and crannies of this loft space and did not emerge for a week. This was OK because the morning after I got her I had to go on a business trip for four days, which later became the "how I got a vacuum cleaner in Boise, Idaho" story.
Hootie was a great cat. She was low maintenance, aside from that two litter box thing, and aside from the fact that she peed in places that she shouldn't when she didn't feel well (like the roommate's suede couch!). She was also loyal and would often follow me from room to room and just sit there because I was there. She hated to be held or to sit on my lap, but she made up for this obvious cat deficiency by BEING INCREDIBLY CUTE and very photogenic.
The annual ritual of getting Hootie shaved for the summer months proved to be comedic relief for nearly everyone involved. One hour of discomfort for her yielded days and days of laughter and photos for the rest of us. It was called a "lion cut" because she looked like a tiny lion when she was done. A tiny, very peeved lion. With boots!
This year, right before my birthday, Hootie started peeing in all the wrong places. I took her to the vet and we got her some anti-biotics for a urinary tract infection. I also found out that she had kidney disease, and that this struck persian cats at a high rate. She had also lost almost half her body weight, which scared me. Things started getting a little hairy after that. She wasn't eating regularly, and she wasn't going to the bathroom regularly. She wouldn't eat the prescription food, then she wouldn't eat her regular food, then she wouldn't even eat her favorite food - peanut butter - in the tiniest amount. We tried to give her fluids, we could tell she was dehydrated, but she just deteriorated quickly from there. She stopped drinking water and she started wailing constantly. It was heartbreaking. So I had to make the excruciating decision put her down.
Hootie stretching out during a nap
I don't know why this cat affected me so much. Maybe it's because she kept me company in my last three apartments and made the gigantic move to the West Coast with me, a long ride that she handled like a champ, even when we dragged her to the Grand Canyon. Maybe it's because she was so fun to take pictures of ...so fun, in fact, that she is now internet famous because I've plastered her picture all over the place. Or maybe it's because she was just a great pet.
Hootie at the Grand Canyon!
In any case, she's gone now and I'm a wreck. She may have been just a cat, but she's been there with me for the last three years, through thick and thin. And today I'm really sad.
This blog is an outlet for me and a way to communicate with many people that I don't see very often; most of the time, I'm thinking about issues that relate to my studies or those that I just find important. Today, I'm just really missing my cat and putting up pictures of her here made me smile. Rest in peace, my little kitty.