This morning we made the very painful decision to euthanize Comet, whom many of you know as my furson and boy cat. Comet had developed a gallbladder blockage and jaundice. People can have their gallbladders removed. According to Dr. Sox at the Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center of Hawaii, cats don’t survive the surgical procedure very well. We tried antibiotics and prednisone (yes, I guess animals can be treated with steroids, too), but Comet didn’t improve. The gallbladder could burst at any given moment, so we made this decision based on what the outlook would be for Comet’s quality of life. Days and nights were spent under our bed, with trips to the water bowl and kitty litter box, and back. Minimal socialization. Kitty Girl hissed because Comet smelled “different.”
Three weeks ago when we took Comet in to see Dr. Sox we were informed that our Comet was a GIRL. Comet and her two sisters were born in our garage 10 years ago. I caught them in the have-a-heart trap one at a time, took them to the Humane Society and promised to take care of these feral kittens. In exchange they were spayed. Comet’s paperwork indicated she was a he and neutered. Go figure. Everyone makes a mistake with paperwork, right? It never occurred to me in all these years to part the fur and see for myself. And when cats are kittens it’s really hard to tell if there are fuzzy little balls or just a butt down there.
It was quite a shock for us to receive this news. Not that we were disappointed, it’s just that Comet was such a boy in our eyes. Comet came with a frisky trot when called, could never pull off being aloof, and enjoyed sneaking up and pouncing on Kitty Girl whenever the opportunity presented itself. When tom cats would come into the garage and eat their food, Kitty Girl was the one who mixed it up with them. Maybe it was because she was in charge of security, but Comet rarely opened more than an eye when the toms came by. And I was pretty certain Comet was one of the guys, so to speak, as they’d hang out in the backyard together. Tom cats stink, so I always chased them away.
So after Comet was outted as a she instead of a he, we adjusted our pronouns. We couldn’t care less. I just think we would have raised her differently had we known she was a chubby chick instead of a big guy. I always gave my boy cat extra brisk full body massages. Maybe I would have been gentler had I known Comet was a she.
I’d lie if I didn’t say I cried all the way home. Losing Comet — this cat who stood on her hind legs to stroke her face along my hands, the cat who always gardened with me, hung out with me while I wrote on this computer (verklempt this very moment), and loved me unconditionally — has brought me to a very sad place today.
Our world gives us gracious companions. When I rake the backyard the lizards watch as I stir up bugs for them to eat. When I walk into Kid2’s room, her betta fish swims excitedly just to get me to make duck lips at him. When I go out to harvest some of my vegetables from the garden, Kitty Girl inspects the pots and brushes up against the rosemary. When I swim, ride my bike, or run, I am always watching for the lovely creatures with which we share this planet.
And I cannot help but be certain that their souls live on and that we shall meet again. Good-bye, sweet Comet. You were our gift.