Tuesday, January 21, 2003

While speaking to my mother today, I learned that she had to have my cat, Boo, put to sleep this weekend. Okay, I really shouldn’t call him “my” cat since he wasn’t mine specifically, but of all of the members of my family, he and I bonded the most. Boo was about fifteen years old when he was put down so today is rather sad.

My mother brought Boo home in 1989. She had heard about him at work from some friends and was moved by the story to give him a good home. Boo was brought into a vet’s office after he had been shot in the leg. The vet worked his magic and fused the rear leg back together in order to give him the mobility he would need to walk around with ease. However, he refused to give him back to the people who brought him in because he suspected that they were the ones who had shot him.

When we got him, we were told that Boo was about one year old. Originally, he was called “Boots” because his paws up to a quarter way up his leg were white and looked like boots on him. However, being that we’re Southern, we condense everything down to shorter terms and he became known as Boo. When we got him, he had a thing for crawling up your body and licking on your earlobes which would alternately make you laugh and squirm. Additionally, he would climb up on top of you and knead your stomach with his paws until he was comfy and would finally settle down.

Boo was also a big cat. At his heaviest, he weighed about nineteen pounds and had a fond affinity for standing on a person’s crotch and then jumping off from there. I remember my sister taking him to have his picture taken with Santa Claus each year and getting stares and comments just over Boo’s size alone.

In the past few years, Boo started showing the signs of his age. He was moving slowly and had been diagnosed with diabetes. He lost his vision in one eye and you could tell that he was coming down with a form of arthritis as well. My parents could no longer allow him to go outside because he would sit in the middle of the street and no move when cars would head in his direction.

This weekend, Boo disappeared and my parents couldn’t find him. They searched for hours on Saturday thinking he had gotten outside and again on Sunday morning before they went to church but he was not to be found. After my father left to go to a conference in South Florida, my mother found Boo curled up in the back of the pantry. She didn’t know if he was still alive but he was and she rushed him down to the animal hospital where she was told that he was practically in a coma and the best thing to do was to put him down.

Boo had done what animals do when they know they are about to pass – he hid and, sadly, suffered quite a bit as his kidneys were failing him. My mother took this very hard because she knew that either way he was going to have to be put down but if she had just found him soon enough he might not have suffered as much. Her only solace was that he went peacefully after so much pain. I told her not to blame herself for not finding him because she and my father had actively looked for him for two days without any luck. He had a natural animal reaction since he knew he was going to pass away soon.

The other cats in the house, Max and Sonya, know that something is amiss and apparently things are a little quieter without Boo’s loud purr being heard throughout the house. Sometime this week, my mother and sister will have sit down my nephew and explain to him what happened to Boo and why he’s no longer around. Talk about learning about life and death at an early age.

So here’s to you Boo. Thanks for fifteen loving, wonderful years. You will always be my favorite pet.
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