Saturday, January 15, 2011

why am i telling this story?

this is going to be a dark one with maybe a few funnies tucked in around the edges. abandon ship if you're not up for it.

when chris & i were first married, we got a cat. she got kitty aids & died really soon after we got her. it was awful, foaming from all facial orifices. (you were warned!)

shortly after she went to kitty heaven, we got another cat, named onyx & she was my furbaby. she was the one who i snuggled with & adored while i was going through infertility crap for a couple years. she was gentle & friendly and she liked to be nurtured by a needy, wanna-be-mom, or so i told myself.

one night, chris & i were hanging out, taking turns playing on the computer & playing with our little onyx before retiring for the evening. we were in a really good mood, lots of laughing & a general sense of wholeness and contentment. we had just crawled into bed & were still giggling when we heard a noise from the other room. i thought it was probably the kitty knocking something off the dresser. it wasn't a big noise, more of a little thump. but chris, being manly, stood up, thumped himself on the chest & declared, caveman style, "i am MAN! i investigate noises in the night! OOG!" i clapped appreciatively and bounced around a bit because that's what cavewomen are supposed to do when their man saves them from scary noises.

he was only gone for a few seconds before he yelled, "oh no! come here, quick!" all fun and games vanished in those five little words. i dove out of bed & into the guest room where he was crouching down. he was leaning over the cat, who was lying on the floor, motionless. the noise we'd heard was onyx falling off the window sill. she was dead. with no warning, she went from frisking about the house with us one minute to dead on the floor the next.

we were beside ourselves trying to figure out what we should do. we'd never had a pet die in our house before and neither one of us really wanted to touch her. we held a mirror up to her nose to check for breath. we called 911 to see if they'd direct us to a number for an all night animal hospital (they did. don't mock me. it felt like an emergency to me.) because we were too spastic to find it in a phone book. we debated giving her mouth to mouth, but by then, it had been at least 10-15 min & surely it was too late, plus, ew. frenching our dead pet somehow seemed like too much even to us at that point.

we finally decided that our poor kitty baby was really gone and we needed to figure out the next step. um... i couldn't bear the thought of her being in the house all night. i knew i wouldn't be able to sleep knowing there was a dead family member in the laundry room who might possibly have gone grossly stiff & have her legs straight up in the air when i awoke the next morning. she needed to go away. immediately.

but it was 2am. and it was raining. and it was cold outside. but she needed to be out of our house. i knew that sometimes coyotes ran through our neighborhood at night because i could hear them howling on occassion, so we couldn't just put her outside. the thought of waking up to find bits & pieces of her carcass spread around the yard complete with teeth marks and blood spatters was too much for us, so we decided that we'd bury her. but again, it was the middle of a dark, cold, rainy night.

we bundled ourselves up in dark clothes. we put our kitty baby into her favorite bed & then double bagged her into garbage sacks in hopes that the critters wouldn't smell her & dig her back up. we went out to a big empty field that was behind our house & through some brambles and brush. it was one of those fields that was used for growing hay, so we knew she wouldn't get dug up by a farmer plowing his field in the spring.

it was kind of horrible with some hilarity thrown in at the same time. we took turns digging in the hard ground until we felt that we'd made a hole big enough and deep enough to fit the cat & her bedding comfortably. we felt like some kind of treacherous body hiders as if we were committing a crime, because who else would be out at 2am burying a body? a car drove by at one point & slowed down a bit, so we hit the dirt & lay still until they passed because we didn't want someone calling the police to report suspicious individuals digging in a field in the rain. we didn't want to have to dig her back up later to prove that we really were just burying a cat & not a trash bag filled with human remains. or pirate booty.

it took much longer than we would have liked & we were soaked by the time we stumbled back home. we showered til the hot water ran out to wash away the dirt & cold & sadness that we seemed to be covered in. we sobbed in each others arms because we'd just lost our second beloved baby. the whole thing was too overwhelming. i think i wept for the human babies i couldn't conceive as much as the furry babies i couldn't seem to keep alive. it was a night that will forever stand out in my mind as one of my biggest losses emotionally and one of those growing up moments that we never like, but we all go through sooner or later.

goodbye, onyx. we still love you.


  1. I am so sorry that happened to you. It's kind of the thing I have nightmares about. I might wake up in the night and poke the dog (and maybe also my spouse) long enough for them to be all 'omg, wtf' and for me to be 'no, it's cool, just checking.'

    Pets have a way of wrapping themselves around your heart. I think it's the way they are just so unconditional (well, excepting treats) in how they love us.

    I still have a good sob now and again about my little old lady pup who went down hill very suddenly. I hope that you never have to go through something like that again, but, if you do, 24 animal hospitals usually take your pet and will cremate for a small fee.

  2. I am sorry Sherilin... that sounds like an absolute horrible evening... I am kind of weird, I grieve more for animals than I do for people (well most people)... I will be a pathetic ball of mess when Fred goes... Big Hugs.

  3. way to get naked for us. thank you for sharing this story, however sad and heart-wrenching. it is *so* hard to lose a pet, a dear member of a family.

  4. I know all too well how you felt on this night. I to have had to bury a fur baby or two. I also have lay in my husbands arms and wept uncontrollably after our last attempt at IVF had failed. Both events are heartbreaking and we will never forget them.

  5. Very sad. I've said goodbye, sometimes sooner than I thought I would do, to many pets over my years; but I have many fabulous memories tucked in my head and heart. It is so heart wrenching when we have to let go. You have such an intriguing little kitty now to give you many 'oh great!' or 'oh no!' moments.

  6. Losing pets are so hard. My cat Lacey is 11 and I dread the day she dies. Over the last few years we have had so many kittens die and it just breaks my heart every time. They aren't just animals, they are family.

  7. holy crap does that cat ever look like mine!

    Poor Onyx. That's NOT how it's supposed to happen! However, better than her dying from some horrid cat disease I guess...if there's any comfort to be had at all.

  8. ahhhh...that's sad, and a little funny...but mostly sad.
    It sucks to loose a pet because they truly become like family.
    We have 2 dogs buried by the apple tree at my home in Utah. (our pet cemetary of sorts)
    the kids always threatened to bury me there.

    but seriously, you guys hitting the dirt so the car wouldn't see you was rather hysterical.

  9. you guys are all so nice! when i started writing this story tonight, i thought it was going to be funny, but then it just seemed sadder as i got into it. when i think back on it though, i feel as much of the funny as i do the sad. because, come on, we were grave digging in the rain in the middle of the night! it was a like a scene from a stupid comedy with vince vaughn.
    thanks for all of you who shared your sad pet stories too. pet lover bonding up in here tonight!

  10. oh so sad! we have lost lots of cats...I still mourne our skateboard larry....

    I am so curious as to why your cat just dropped dead...

    I hope you are ok. Did you ever get another cat?

  11. God, I should know better than to ever read your blog when I'm eating!

  12. This is so sad, I am really sorry. All the pets I have had in my life are so dear to me so things like this make me feel so bad. We had a cat once that sufficated in a Cheetos bag. I will never forget that!

  13. That's sad - at least Onyx didn't suffer. I've almost always had pets - and of course, they never live as long as we do. Perhaps it's as well that we can see them out of this world safely.

    Following your blog! Please follow back!
    If you could follow me on Facebook/Twitter, that would be awesome too!!
    Thanks for your time!

  15. Poor Onyx!

    When I was about ten, my dad said that our cat, Sooty, had passed away.

    I went with him into the hallway and there he was ... a stiff!

    My dad popped him into a hessian sack and we went out into the garden. It was getting dark fast so my dad dug a hole as quick as possible. When he was done,he turned to pick up the sack and pop it, and Sooty, into the hole.

    But the sack was empty!

    I was really thrilled, thinking that Sooty had only been asleep.

    We went back towards the house expecting to see Sooty back on his usual windowsill spot.

    As we approached the back door, we caught sight of a fox ... trying to carry poor old Sooty's body off into the night.

    It had crept right up behind us and took the poor cat from under our noses (Yes! We have noses on our backs!).

    We did recovered Sooty and we gave him a proper send off!

  16. WoW!
    I would have to know what happened!!!

    I bet Cat autopsy's cost a bunch...

  17. OH, no! Yes, it was sad and funny at the same time. I have never heard of an animal dying like that!

  18. You gave mouth to mouth to a cat? THAT, my friend, is a pet lover.

    Sorry about Onyx. Very sad.


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