I know I should have written this post sooner, but I kept putting it off. I didn’t want to think about how I had lost someone else that was dear to me.
But I did. I lost someone else… On October 27, 2013 I lost my sweet Mr. Man kitty, Picasso.
To this day Mr. Envoy and I aren’t really sure what happened. He had seemed fine after we moved into our apartment. He was lively and friendly, and loved to hang out with us. In fact, he was almost always assisting Mr. Envoy with whatever game he was playing at the time. Or if we were watching television. Pretty much whatever we were doing, he was taking part.
I swear, that cat must have been part dog or something. Because for as long as I can remember, he would always be at the front door waiting for you to come inside after you got home. Hell, he’d even come when called! Which was more than my dog Sophie used to do sometimes :P
But he was always a strange cat, ever since the day my parents and I brought him home. He never showed any fear in his new home, and his tail stood straight up in the air like a flag pole. He was never afraid to show that everything belonged to him, even if he had only stepped paw in that house 5 minutes beforehand. He wasn’t even (that) scared of Sophie at first lol
But the Thursday before he passed away I noticed a change in him. He had secluded himself to the house part of his kitty condo, which was very unusual for him because he rarely went in there. Every time I removed him from it he’d go racing back to it as fast as he could. I was really concerned, but after talking to my friends and family it seemed like maybe he was just feeling under the weather and that I should give him a few days. I mean, he was still eating, drinking, and using the litter box which were all really good signs.
On that Saturday Mr. Envoy and I brought him to the vet because he still wasn’t acting like himself and I was growing more and more concerned. The vet examined him and couldn’t find anything seriously wrong with him. He said that Picasso seemed slightly dehydrated so he gave him some fluids, and he also felt a lump in his stomach but figured it was probably just a hairball he hadn’t coughed up yet (Picasso was the king of hacking up hairballs thanks to his long fur). He gave him a shot of cortisone and a shot of pain meds that would last him a week and told us that if he was still not acting like himself to bring him back in on Monday. But Monday was too late…
That Sunday, which also happened to be the last show of the musical I was playing in the pit orchestra for, proved to be awful. I didn’t recall seeing Picasso much that morning, but by the time I started to get dressed I noticed Picasso was sitting in the closet staring at the door. He moved around the apartment and did this in various spots and staring at walls, shoes, etc. I grew really concerned, until he started coughing. The coughing seemed harsh, but remembering that the vet had said he felt a lump in his stomach I thought he was finally coughing up a hairball and would feel better shortly.
Little did I know how wrong I was…
As the coughing continued, he hunkered close to the ground with his mouth wide open and tongue out. He even started drooling. I was trying really hard not to cry as I finished up my makeup so I could leave for call time for Pippin. But as I was finishing getting ready, I saw he was starting to try to disappear. He had crawled under the bed, but then made his way to the office where Mr. Envoy was. I was hesitant to leave, but I had made a commitment and couldn’t let everyone down. So as Mr. Envoy walked me outside he promised me he would keep an eye on Picasso all day and let me know what happens.
As I started my car and got ready to back out of my parking space, Mr. Envoy called my cell phone and told me I needed to get back inside immediately. When he returned to the office after walking me outside, he had found Picasso fallen over on the floor, coughing and crying out in pain. I rushed back inside with tears streaming down my face and tried to comfort Picasso as Mr. Envoy called the emergency vet near the theater where Pippin was playing. They said they needed to see him immediately, so I got Picasso in his kitty carrier and buckled it into Mr. Envoy’s car so he could get him up there.
With Picasso strapped in I headed back to my car and started to back out so I could make it to the theater. Thankfully I was still going to be on time, but as I was once-again backing out, Mr. Envoy honked his horn at me and waved me over to his car. He said that Picasso had stopped breathing, and I lost it. I crumpled to the ground and started sobbing uncontrollably. He was my baby, my sweet orange kitten. I had already lost my mom and my dog, I couldn’t lose him too!
I felt Picasso body, and could feel a faint rise of his chest, so I told Mr. Envoy to get him to the emergency vet as quickly as possible, and that’s what he did. He got back in the car and flew out of the parking lot to try to save my poor baby. I followed him up most of the way, but he ended up losing me on the freeway because he was trying to get there in time.
Thankfully I still managed to make it to the theater in time for call, but after uncovering the harp I saw Mr. Envoy calling and stepped out of the pit to get the verdict on Picasso. He had gotten there as quickly as he could, but Picasso had died on the way there. There was nothing the vet could do…
Once again I lost it and crumpled to the floor sobbing. Why couldn’t I have been there for when he died? How could he even have died? He was fine just a few days ago! My mind just couldn’t grasp any of it.
Some of the guys from the pit tried to console me, but I’m sure they felt more awkward than anything. Although I did appreciate their attempts. Once I had managed to take a couple of deep breaths, I asked Mr. Envoy if he could bring Picasso to the theater so I could say my goodbyes since I couldn’t be there with him in his final moments. While I waited I went outside the theater and called my dad to let him know. And I cried some more.
While talking to my dad, the violinist from the pit (and also the assistant conductor for my youth symphony) brought me tissues and hugged me for a long while. She and her husband (the trombone player) were so kind to me that day, and they helped me get through the show. But before I could do that, I had to say goodbye to the first cat that had ever been truly “mine”.
It didn’t take Mr. Envoy long to get to the theater, and when he did he held me as I opened up the kitty carrier and said my goodbyes. I pet his soft, orange fur. I kissed his sweet little forehead. And I cried a bunch more. Mr. Envoy cried too, because although he hadn’t known Picasso for very long, that damn cat had won him over too.
That last show of Pippin was one of the hardest things I had ever done. But I did it. Even though I sobbed through the whole first act, and felt numb through all of act two, I finished it. And I hope I never have to do it again.
Coming home that night was hard. There was no orange fuzzy thing waiting at the door to greet me and meow complaints about how dare I leave him for hours on end. There was no lap snuggles while I sat at the computer checking my Facebook. There was just Mr. Envoy. And me.
It was the first time I had never had an cat or dog in my home. I was devastated when Sophie passed away, but I had Picasso to cheer me up. This time though… this time I had nothing.
Coming back home from class the week after was hard, as was practicing harp. Every time I practiced he was always right there. Just like Sophie with bringing her toys up where the piano was whenever I practiced, he was always around rubbing up against my legs or trying to get in my lap when I played.
Picasso was with me through the hardest times of my life. He was my best friend, and I knew I could always turn to him when I was feeling down. But although I disagree with it, I guess it was just his time. I don’t know if he was sick, but he’s up with my momma and with his twinsie, Sophie (as my mom called them).
I will always miss you Picasso. Even now, 3 months after you left, writing about you still brought tears to my eyes. I tried to write this post while Mr. Envoy was out so he wouldn’t see me cry, but he came home not long ago and saw tears streaming down my face just like the day you left us Mr. Man.
You were my sweet kitty, but now you can be mom’s sweet kitty once again. And in your honor, Mr. Envoy and I rescued two kittens from an animal shelter so we could stop being sad and learn to love again instead. There’s even a little orange kitten, just like you. He’s not long haired, and has no white, but he’s sweet. And he and his sister are helping to heal the hole that was left in our hearts the day you passed away.
Before I finish this post, I want to share with you all something a Facebook friend of mine shared with me. It made me cry, but with a smile on my face. It’s a poem by Mark Lewis titled CATLANTIS (it’s copied/pasted directly from my Facebook since I can’t seem to find it anywhere else online).
By Mark Lewis
All Rights Reserved
Our old cat’s been sick and she’s not feeling well,
And she’s tired and cranky and we think we can tell,
That her time on this planet has come to an end,
and we know that we have to say bye to our friend.
Where do our kitties all go when they’re done,
With playing and purring asleep in the sun?
What happens to them when they’ve been put to sleep?
I’ll tell you the secret you don’t have to keep.
They go to Catlantis, a wonderful place,
Where they wake with no worries with smiles on their face.
It’s a purr-fect location – it’s clean and it’s sweet,
A cat habitat and a feline retreat.
Here your cat doesn’t hurt and they’re young and they’re free,
To run and to play and to climb every tree.
And they lounge and they stretch and they purr and I vow,
In Catlantis there’s never an “ow” in “meow”.
And your cat’s on the right side of every door,
They can hide up inside of the top bureau drawer.
There are feathers and strings and ribbons to chase,
And warm spots to sleep in all over the place.
I’m sad that you’re gone and I’ll miss you a bunch,
But I know in my heart and I just have a hunch,
That you’re happy and smiling and purring a lot,
For Catlantis is now your most favorite spot!
I love you Picasso. Furever and fur always.
<3 and harp strings,