Sunday, February 04, 2007

Walkin' through My Pet Cemetery...

My old pal at Jessie's Girl is hosting a weekly theme extravaganza. This week's theme is a listing of your pets present and past. (How is that for alliteration?) But, as I started to think about my pets, I realized that many of mine have met a sudden or tragic demise, which leads me to wonder--am I pet-cursed? Read on, and you be the judge...

Crazy MomCat's Pet Cemetery

Pet Type: Siamese Cat
Pet Name: Mutt (I'm not kidding)
Years Lived: 14
Untimely Demise: Old age. This cat was decrepit by the time he bit the dust. A long life pet success story that didn't seem to repeat itself for many years after in our home.

My first pet was already a member of the family before I was. Mutt was a huge Siamese cat who earned his name due to his unfriendly demeanor. My father formally named him his "little Muttonchop" when the cat made it clear early on that he did not like strangers in his home. He was more guard dog than he was a feline. There was the time when he attacked a friend of my Dad's who was taunting him. And, when I say attacked, I don't mean he took a swipe at him or hissed. Picture the cat on Peanuts who goes after Snoopy and you'll understand.

Muttonchop left people behind in shreds. This was a good thing when my parents had a burglar attack their home though. My father was such a heavy sleeper that he didn't fully wake up and believe it when my mother said she heard someone breaking in. It was no matter, Mutt was on the job. The cat went after the guy breaking in and he was out of there faster than stink on you-know-what. My Mom called the cops for the military base on which they lived, they came out and filed a report, and it was all over. The next morning, when Rip-Van-Father woke up, he did not believe my mother when she told him what had happened. He had to go to the police station himself to see the report. Yep, if it weren't for that Muttonchop, my parents, nor I, might not be here today!
Pet Type: Siamese Cat
Pet Name: Runt (My parents were creative, weren't they?)
Years Lived: 3-4? Not sure
Untimely Demise: Death by icicle.

I don't remember a lot about Runt, except that she was the opposite of our other Siamese, Mutt. Feminine and petite, she was skittish and scared of a lot of people, but warm and loving to her family.

Runt kept going into heat so my parents took her to our rural veterinarian to have her fixed. She was to stay overnight and have her procedure the next morning and then we'd pick her up. We had a bad freeze that night and the vet's office apparently wasn't heated properly. The cat literally froze to death. My mother was heartbroken when she died. Why she didn't sue, I'll never know!
Pet Type: Heinz 57 Mix Dog
Pet Name: Sadie
Years Lived: 8-10 years
Untimely Demise: Intentionally Poisoned

My most beloved childhood pet was my dog, Sadie. A very strange mix of Basset Hound and German Shepard (don't ask me HOW this came about), she had an odd look about her that I never noticed as a kid. Her body was as large as a German Shepard's, and black and brown in coloring, but her legs were short like a Basset Hound's and her head looked pure Basset.

Sadie and I were inseparable from very early on. She loved to dig and we spent many afternoons in my backyard attempting to dig to China. When we moved to a new neighborhood, I taught her how to climb up the ladder and slide down the rickety metal slide on my swing set.

Every 4-5 months, Sadie would get out of the backyard at our new house--either when I opened it too wide or when her digging holes around the fence got big enough for her body to squeeze under and run for freedom. She would always run away like she was on fire, and then she'd come back a few hours later, happy to be home.

Unfortunately, on one of her escapes, she decided to visit my childhood playmate's house and dig in her mother's flower beds. Afterwards, my friend's mother called my parents and angrily informed them that if our dog ever tried to do that again, she would make sure she never dug anything ever again.

It was not until I was an adult that I learned how my cherished dog really died. I just remember my mother telling me she was dead and gone, and crying most of the rest of the day from a broken heart. I never missed a pet as much as I missed my dog, Sadie. As an only child, she really was my best friend for many years. I later learned that my parents suspected that my friend's mother had put poison out in her beds as they found her laying on our back porch with vomit coming from her mouth. I still shake with anger when I think about the cruelty of this.
Pet Type: Black cat
Pet Name: Smudgy (I named this one because she looked like someone had smudged black coal all over her.)
Years Lived: 2-3?
Untimely Demise: By dryer.

Smudgy was the first "new" cat I remember getting as a child. She was actually brought home by my father. Another salesperson at his dealership brought in a bunch of kittens that he'd found barely alive. Someone had put them in a trash bag and thrown it out on the side of the road out in the country ranchland near where we lived.

Smudgy was a very frightened cat, for good reason. Aside from that near-horrible demise, we suspect she had been abused by a male in her life before coming to us. She was terrified of all men, even my father. The minute he would come in the door, she would run and squeeze herself underneath my mother's china cabinet or behind the couch out of reach.

She was a very sweet kitty to my mom and me though. Sadly, Smudgy took a liking to laying on warm clothes just after they came out of the dryer. This would have been fine, had my mother not had a habit of using the dryer to do her ironing. She had left the door open long enough for this sweet kitty to climb in and not be seen on top of the black clothing inside. My mom started up the dryer to get the wrinkles out of her pants and went to the back of our house to get ready for work, so she never heard the sound of the cat. When I think about this still today, it makes me feel sick inside. I can't imagine how my cat-adoring mother felt when she opened that dryer up.
Pet Type: Mix-breed stray cat
Pet Name: Skittle(s)
Years Lived: 12-13
Untimely Demise: Old age.

Skittles was the first of a long line of cats that my sister rescued and brought home to my parents. When an annoying family who lived near us had a cat with kittens, she arrived for a playdate to find the bratty youngest son of the family holding poor Skittle by his tail from his loft bed. My sister whisked him away and told the family that she was SURE my mother wanted another cat and the rest was history.

Skittle and I had a love/hate relationship. I named him Skittles--which became Skittle--after the Skittles candy commercial. I would sing "Skittles bite-sized candies" and the cat would jump around frantically. He was a crazy and interesting cat, but had a lot of annoying habits, like digging out all of the papers from my parent's antique old desk with cubby holes to let us know that he wanted to be fed, or scratching incessantly on my door when he wanted me to get up--no matter what the time.

Skittle also holds the honor of being the first in another long line of massively obese cats raised by my feline-loving mother. When my then-boyfriend-now-husband first saw him he blurted out, "What in the world?" because he had never seen a cat that big before.

Skittle lived a long life and eventually went into organ failure at a ripe old age. I was already out of college and living on my own when he passed away.
Pet Type: Mix-breed stray cat
Pet Name: Spook
Years Lived: 11-12
Untimely Demise: Old age.

Spook was a stray cat who adopted us when I was a teenager. He was the opposite of most of the cats we'd ever had. Snobby and a fluffy white-and-gray looker, he definitely did not act like a stray kitty. Spook had to approve of you as a person, to allow you to pet him. He felt soft like a rabbit and took an immediate liking to my sister.

Spook used to sleep ON my sister and wake her every morning by nipping at her chin lightly with his teeth. Spook was the beginning of my mother's "cat lady" years, which continue on today. By the time I'd gotten out of college, my Mom (and to be fair, sister, since she rescued them and brought them home) went from a two-cat house to a 4-5 cat house and things have never been the same.

Spook warmed up in old age and actually became needy-friendly. He was a beautiful cat and never went the way of obesity that the rest of my mother's brood went. In his final years, he had many health setbacks and trouble keeping enough weight, which always made me sad when I saw him. He lost that fluffy white and gray bunny look but he was more loving and less snobby as he grew old.
Current pets:

Pet Type: Maine Coone/Mix Cat
Pet Name: Simba (after The Lion King, but she's a girl.)
Years Lived: 11 (this may be slightly off)

Simba is the first of my pets that I've owned as an adult. She has just about done me in for having a cat ever again, although I do love her.

Simba came to live with me after a friend of mine's cat had kittens. From the litter, I took Simba and one of my other pals too two of her sisters, Meeka and Phoebe. All of these cats have an unfriendly streak to them, and each kitten in the litter looked slightly different (aside from the two sisters my friend too). We wondered if they were the result of a wildcat/domesticated feline union, or worse yet a gang-kitty rape, by their strange nature.

Simba was my companion when my husband had to start traveling very early in our marriage. It was crazy, but having a little kitten in my house somehow made me less scared of living alone all week while he was away. My husband traveled close to two years and she became my shadow in that time.

Because I didn't do a lot of social gatherings at home at this time, Simba's formative years were spent with just me and then my hubby on the weekends. I think this messed her up for life, socially speaking. Simba does not like other people, but she adores me. As I type this, she is sitting inches away and purring.

Simba hisses at most everyone and runs and hides. She has never warmed up to even my family members, a fact that irritates my in-laws greatly. She is slowly warming some to my daughter because she gives the cat treats every day, but she keeps her distance from my son. The only way they can pet her is if they sneak up on her.

I've posted before one of Simba's very bad problems that has almost lead me to get rid of her before. But, I can't do that at this point. I'm emotionally attached, even though she drives me crazy at times. Instead, we fanatically buy this stuff and get our carpets cleaned professionally often. We make plans for when she's gone and the new carpeting we will quickly buy soon after her demise.

Simba is a difficult cat, but I do love her. Every night she sleeps at our feet and purrs. She loves to be near me and I feel like I can put up with her high-maintenance issues because she was there for me when I needed a companion. The way I look at it, I owe her some happy years as she grows older.
Pet Type: White Labrador Retriever
Pet Name: Molly
Years Lived: 8

Molly is my children's cherished pet, as well as my husband's favorite. We got Molly when she was a puppy and she was quite possibly the cutest puppy that ever lived. We went through the usual rough "chewing" times with a lab puppy in our other house. She literally chewed off a window sill by our back door at one point. She is frisky and friendly and will lick you to death.

She has some bad habits, by way of "crotch sniffing" to greet and chewing up any blanket or bed you lay down for her on a cold day. She is too strong for me to walk her without her jerking me all over the place.

She smells of "outside dog" and that drives me crazy and she sheds worse than my long-haired cat. In fact, I swear some days that when these pets die, I won't ever have another again because I get so tired of cleaning up pet hair and pet poop.

But, with all of that said, Molly has managed to turn me from cat-lover to at least a dog-appreciator with her wonderful nature and love of her family.

Molly has worried us for many years with unexpected and violent seizures. We have not found a cause for them at all and she goes through long periods of normalcy between her episodes. The only thing we can assume is that they are stress-related. The dog is right at about 70 pounds and I cannot lift and move her when she goes into a seizure, so my greatest fear is that she'll hurt herself on the concrete as she seems to have them when she is deep in sleep in our garage.

My kids love Molly and she loves them. This dog would spend every waking moment with us if she could. She really is a sweetheart and I know that when she does leave us, I will have to be the person who handles things because the rest of my family will be devastated.

There you have it. A walk through my pet cemetery and a visit with my current four-legged friends. While I had a bad run there of violent pet deaths, I am hoping our two current ones escape that fate and live long and happy lives.

Thanks to Lisa at Jessie's Girl for the theme!

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Blogger sophie said...

I have some bizarre pet deaths as well. One cat ventured too close to the very large attic fan and died of severe head trauma. I guess due to their curious nature they really do need those nine lives!

10:00 AM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger Nicole said...

Wow. Your list is very interesting and disturbing. You and Jessie's Girl have great memories. I can hardly recall but 2 of my cats. I still need to post my pet stories...

1:06 PM, February 05, 2007  
Anonymous Angela said...

Oh my heck, you've got some horriyfing pet stories! I can't imagine how your mother must have felt when she opened that dryer... how horribly sad.

2:51 PM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger Masked Mom said...

We've lost one to the dryer too--it's horrible. The freezing to death thing, though? That's some gross negligence right there.

7:24 AM, February 06, 2007  
Blogger LadyBugCrossing said...

We've lost too many to count... Hamsters who drowned in the mop bucket, guinea pigs who succumbed to the heat, rabbits who just went toes up, and fish... oh the fish.... I'm amazed that I still have 2 cats and a dog...

7:33 AM, February 06, 2007  
Blogger Katie Ann said...

Awwww :) and Sad :( Pets are such an interesting/integral part of our lives.

7:05 PM, February 06, 2007  
Blogger Lisabell said...

ok, in the category of most creative pet deaths?? you win! geez...

2:57 AM, February 08, 2007  

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