Saturday, September 03, 2005

A little more on Mudpuppy

Many thanks to those who sent condolences on Mudpuppy's death. He'd lived with me very nearly his whole life -- when I adopted him he was only 4 weeks old and didn't know how to eat solid food yet, though he figured that one out really fast and was a pretty good-sized cat his whole life (around 15 lbs). When he died he was 18 years old; if he'd been a human I would have been sending him off to college this month. Unless he'd joined a gang or become a rock star or a professional athlete, of course, in which case I'd be retiring so he could support me in my old age.

He was diagnosed with diabetes in January 1996, and from then until his death I gave him insulin shots twice a day, every day. Since the shots had to be 12 hours apart and timing was pretty critical, I had to get up early on weekends and holidays (though I often went back to bed, being very much Not A Morning Person), and if I went out with friends for a drink after work, I had to make sure I was home by 7:30 at the latest. "Gotta run! I need to go stick my cat with needles." The shots themselves didn't bother him a bit -- in fact, after the first few when he sensed that I was nervous, I don't think he even noticed them. With insulin and careful dietary management, diabetes is something pets can live with long-term -- Mudpup was a fabulous example of that. His quality of life was excellent; in the last couple of years he wasn't very active, and was bothered by arthritis in his hips/back legs, but he spent many happy hours napping in his bed or on the couch or sitting on my lap purring up a storm.

I am heartbroken to lose him, and I will miss him terribly. But I know that he had about as happy a life as a cat can ever hope for, and I'm glad I was able to give him that for so long. House pets have one job in life -- to love and be loved -- and that's a pretty lucky life to have.

7 comments:

Trista said...

I didn't get to comment on the first Mudpuppy email, but I wanted to extend my condolences. I, too, had a cat that I got while still too young to eat solid food and I nursed him through that and through his final illness a decade or so later. Pets have such a special place that it can be just as devastating to lose one as it would be to lose a (human)member of the family.

Patty said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

early hours of sky said...

Sending you good energy, T

LKD said...

Oh, Anne, I'm so sorry to read of your sad news. I was just watching CNN, reading the trailer that snakes constantly across the bottom of the screen and there was an item about how, geez, I wish I could recall the name of the group, but it was a national physicians group of some sort, that stated they felt the stress and trauma of being evacuated out of New Orleans was exacerbated for those folks who were forced to leave companion animals behind--rescuers would not allow them, in most cases, to take their pets with them. I specifically recall an image I saw a few days ago that I wish I hadn't seen of a fluffy little white dog that had put his paws up on a bus just as it was about to leave New Orleans and a cop picking him up so the bus could depart for Houston. I know that the lives of every human being had to be put first, but I also know that for those people who felt a deep connection with their pets that leaving those pets behind had to be absolutely devastating.

During the wild fires last year in California, I recall reading about a man who'd escaped his house but ran back in to save his dogs and didn't come back out. He and his dogs perished in the fire. I've always wondered if I'd be one of those people running back into the flames searching for my cat. In the end, none of these material possessions mean a damned thing to me. I wouldn't be grabbing for cherished books and photos as I ran out the door. I'd be on my hands and knees dragging my cat out from under my bed as the house burned down. I just don't think I could leave him behind.

I'm so sorry for your loss, Anne.

LKD said...

I forgot to add that I'm curious to know how on earth your cat ended up with a name like Mudpuppy. (smile)

Reb said...

Very sorry to hear -- yes, don't feel guilty about mourning the death of a pet, even at times like these. I was planning for the "happiest" news of my life (I was 9 months pregnant) when Clyde passed and I cried for weeks.

aimee said...

hi anne--so sorry to hear of your loss, but yes, as you mentioned--mudpuppy was loved and well taken care of (all those shots!)-- i am certain he left as a happy happy cat and he was lucky to have your kindness and warm home.