I know I promised you a recap of my Wild Women’s weekend…and I will get to that, but I’m just not able to write it right now. Thursday evening one of my cats was killed and I need to give my heart at least one more day to heal before I can do a post about what was a riotously good time any justice.
Boris was my (not so) little boy cat. He hasn’t appeared much on the blog before because he was significantly less photogenic than his sister. Any time he was near me he was in my lap or climbing my leg (like the picture above), begging to be pet. It isn’t easy to take a picture of a cat when they are trying desperately to climb over the camera into your arms.
Boris and Vodka (yes, I have a Russian Blue cat named Vodka. Yes, it was a joke. No, I’m not going to go into it any more than that.) came into our lives about 7 years ago, not long after we’d graduated from college, while we were still living in the middle of nowhere.
The Mr. and I had been living together for a while, and I had told him that I would love for us to get a cat. For my Valentine’s gift that year, he found these two.
They had been abandoned on the side of the road as kittens (probably by a college student who had gotten them and then not known what to do with them when they went home for the summer) and found by an older couple in a nearby town. The couple had taken them home to live with them as barn cats, but because they were so social and friendly, they had moved their way into the house. The only problem with that was that the couple already had a cat…and an older cat at that…and our kitties were starving him to death by stealing all his food.
Because of their origins, we can’t be entirely sure how old they were when we adopted them from the couple, but the vet estimated they were around 8 months. At not even a year old, Boris already weighed 20 lbs and looked like a furry grey basketball.
Boris was an easy cat to love, but he wasn’t an easy cat to own. He had quite a few issues. We constantly struggled to keep his weight in a healthy range. He was a viking of a cat even fighting trim (the lightest I ever saw him weighed at was 15 lbs. For scale, Vodka, who you can see he dwarfed is a not-small 12 lb cat. He easily reached my waist with his paws when he stood on his back legs). We weren’t able to stick him on plain old diet food because he wasn’t able to digest it properly and it actually made him heavier. As well as his weight problems, he suffered from severe anxiety that led to fur cropping or pulling, howling and other symptoms that required we medicate him to keep him from self mutilating.
Despite his problems, he was always an incredibly loving cat. When G first came home from the hospital, both the cats were terrified for the first few days, but then Boris decided G wasn’t going to hurt him, and returned to his usual personality, which we had always joked was that of an especially dumb golden retriever stuck in a cat’s body.
He was always extremely good with G, not only tolerating the gentle (and not-so-gentle) pats he got, but regularly putting himself right next to him.
As the cats got older they developed some behavioral problems. They started wetting on the floors. We tried everything we could think of to discourage them, but the only thing we found that worked was to let them play outside. More and more it seemed like every time they came into the upper stories of the house, there would be problems. Urinating or stealing food from the tables or counters. They became almost exclusively basement or outdoors cats. They honestly seemed happier that way, but it meant the main time we interacted with them was when we were outside.
Thursday, Boris followed us across the street to the park. He’d never done that before, and I don’t know if it was because he hadn’t been getting enough attention or if he had just been outside for long enough that he felt comfortable in “his” territory. He followed us well back into the park, nearly to the play structure before turning to head back home. A group of little girls saw him and followed after him, wanting to pet the kitty. I thought to myself that it would probably be a blessing for him to discover the park full of children, my loving cat who craved attention more than anything, and I turned away to play with G.
When we walked home, we found him dead on the side of the road.
I can only assume what happened is that he was frightened by the number of girls following him. He was normally so friendly, even to strangers. I have to assume that having them behind him distracted him enough he didn’t see the car coming. …just last week I had laughed when I’d seen him come to the end of our driveway, look both ways and sit down rather than crossing because he’d seen traffic. It was such a human gesture. It led me to believe I didn’t have to worry about him with the street. Clearly that was misguided.
He almost looked like he was sleeping when I found him. He was bleeding from his mouth, but I couldn’t find any other marks on him. He was already cool. There was no question of if there would be any point in rushing him to the vet. I hope to god that means he died instantly and didn’t suffer.
G is too young to understand. I’m not entirely sure he has even reached the point where he actually differentiates between the two cats. I’m glad for that, because at least he still has one grey kitty, who he still occasionally mistakes for Boris. I suspect he may wonder a little why the kitty is never cuddly anymore, but aside from that, I don’t think it will affect him.
Aside from my taking her to the garage for a moment so she could say goodbye to her brother, Vodka has been locked in the house since it happened. She has been howling piteously, though I’m not entirely sure how much of it is sorrow and how much of it is just anger at not being let outside. I’m terrified to let her out now, but I’m not sure it’s fair to keep her locked in the basement either.
We buried Boris Thursday night after we put G to bed. We decided that him seeing us put a cat in a hole and cover it with dirt wasn’t something we needed to confuse him with.
I still haven’t come to terms with the whole thing myself. The stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance. I keep finding myself circling back to denial, expecting to hear his ridiculously loud yowl, demanding we come pet him, or feed him, or pet him while we feed him.
Rest in peace buddy cat. You were with us through a lot. Two houses, two apartments, an engagement, a wedding and a baby. You were a good, sweet boy, and we will miss you.