Krazy, the cat
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
I had to kill another cat this week – an outside cat we named Krazy after the Patsy Cline song I used to sing whenever I saw him in front of our house.
We thought he acted crazy, until we got to know him and he became a regular resident on our front porch, and frequented our side porch feedings morning and night.
When cold weather set in two or maybe three years ago, we put a carrier on the front porch and installed a dog bed. This became known as the “Krazy House,” because he decided to use the accommodations. When Sammy, another outside cat came along, the two slept in the carrier together, and eventually, another kitten from a batch of cats that mostly died a short time after they arrived – joined them. Charlie survived when we fed him antibiotics which we gave to all three cats when they showed any kind of illness.
Krazy was already old when he joined us and skinny, and filled with worms we treated him for, although we noticed someone prior to us had caught him and had him fixed.
He took to getting pets right away, and Sharon would go out to the porch each morning to sit with him on her lap, a ritual he continued to enjoy even after Sammy and Charlie joined him on the lap as well.
I sometimes sat with him, too, feeling his bones as I petted him, knowing that life for outside cats is tough, and that whatever comfort we could supply we would, including warming up their food during the cold months.
Krazy might have feared other animals, but he wouldn’t back down, even from dogs, raccoons and possums, and often, we had to chase other critters away to keep our stubborn cat from engaging them – though we never saw him actually fight.
Thunder and lightning, however, terrified him, and more than once I went out to the porch to sit under our awning with him on my lap to keep him calm. This bonded us, and we became closer because of it.
Krazy often defecated in our neighbor’s front yard, causing even more friction with a man who already disliked us, and this resulted in the neighbor calling animal control on us once or twice, complaining about our feeding every critter than came to our door.
But what made Krazy a neighborhood legend was his habit of sitting on the hoods or tops of cars parked in front of our house. People passing would stop their cars to take pictures of him.
Then things changed, after two or three years of ritual, Krazy started to act vague and we found him often sleeping on the wrong door step as if he couldn’t remember which one was ours.
About two weeks ago, he got ill with a sudden drop of temperature, and we took him into our kitchen during the day to help him keep warm.
He resisted our putting him out, and one day last week, he broke through screen door on the side and was trapped between the two doors until I came home – after which we kept him in the kitchen. He was clearly fading, and needed warmth and company, and we gave him both.
The bad news came when he stopped eating and drinking, and stared down into both dishes with an increased vagueness we knew wasn’t a good sign.
I pretty much knew I would have to put him to sleep when I took him to the vet for treatment, but I hoped they might find a cure or at least a treatment that would let him live on with dignity. But when the doc said the c-word, I knew what I had to do.
After they gave him the sedative, I sat with him singing the Patsy Cline song, and then John Lennon’s good night song from The White Album, feeling his purr as I pet and sang. Then the doc gave him the needle and I pet him until he was gone, knowing that I had done the right thing, but feeling awful about it just the same, wishing he and everyone else I love could live on forever when none of us can.