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Ode to a Macho Man

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My husband is a softie. I know he would loathe to have this secret revealed, but he really likes my current cat Valyum. As I write this, he has taken her to the vet for me; I can’t bear any bad news when it comes to my kitties, and he generously and sweetly does this chore for me.


His true colors came out, however, eight years ago when my previous, most beloved cat, Eemy, was euthanized. I had had Eemy for almost ten years. She was most definitely my cat. She tolerated the others in our household, including long time feline Moira, but preferred me to everyone. We were like biscuits and gravy, Eemy and me. While I worked at home, she would sleep beside me in “her” chair (with cushion, naturally), or if she wanted to be even closer to my hands, on the printer table right by my shoulder. She wasn’t much of a talker, however, knew how to get my attention if she felt neglected for any period of time (walking across the keyboard bottom and “slipping” onto the keys was her favorite trick). I would find myself fighting her for control of the mouse, or simply allowing her paw to guide me to her chin, giving in to her need for a “scritch,” and allowing myself a respite from work for a minute or two. 


Eemy got me up early on weekends, especially after she was diagnosed with diabetes. It was important to regulate her insulin injections and meal times, though sometimes I stumbled out of bed at 3:30 on Saturday thinking I was working that morning. My hubby was concerned enough about her blood sugar control that he would often call me on his morning break just to check her “number” from the BG check at 7:30. He would call her all sort of derogatory names to disguise his concern (“flea bag” being his all-time favorite; “hang belly” was another frequent name until she lost so much weight with the diabetes). 


During Eemy’s last days, she was quite ill, with us making several trips to the vet and the emergency room.I could awaken him at all hours, and he was there for me each time, driving me, wiping my tears, holding my hand, and even trying to soothe Eemy. 


The morning she died, she started slipping away from me starting about 10:00 a.m., but had a massive seizure just as we put her on the table at the vet’s. I was hoping for forty-eight hours of IVs and a fourth miracle, but God and Eemy were telling me she was urgently needed elsewhere. The vet kindly clipped some of her beautiful beige fur for me; my young adult daughter stoically stayed by her side as I crumbled in grief in the waiting room … coward to the end, I’m ashamed to say. I didn’t want her cremated, I wanted to bury her at home, under my hammock in the back yard, so her presence would always be with me. My husband, bless his heart, picked up her shrouded body from the vet’s office after work, brought her home, and in the pouring rain buried her exactly where I wanted, taking great care to place her favorite toy atop the shroud. He then meticulously replaced the patio tiles under the hammock so as to shield me from any emotional pain of a fresh-turned grave.

He has done many kind and thoughtful things for me, but none has meant as much to me as this single act. 

“Forever in my heart, you bootiful, bootiful blonde. Who’s the prettiest kitty in the world?” 

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