Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bossy Betty Tells a Story to Warm Your Hearts and Soothe Your Souls, And Today It All Ends.

(Please note: Using all the available contextual cues, you can probably tell you are coming in at the last part of the story here. Scroll down and read parts 1,2, and 3 before reading this one. It's a little like coming in extremely late to a very important dinner party, but I think we can all put on our happy, frozen smiles and handle this very awkward situation.)

Donald Ray Smith:
The Tail End of the Tale.

I left the office early and went to get our sons are their respective day cares. I tried to explain what had happened as best as I could without implicating Dan too heavily. Both boys, aged 3 and 7, nodded solemnly when I told them we needed to say good-bye to Donald. Together we entered the darkened bedroom where Dan had put him. I looked at our once-beautiful cat and tried to hold back my emotions. Donald's ears were nearly gone and only two of his long white whiskers remained and they were mangled like overused twist ties. His tail now bent like a broken twig and jutted out at an unnatural angle just about three inches from the top of his body. The smell of scorched fur filled the room. He lay there, panting, his eyes barely opened. Together as a family we said good-bye to our beloved cat. The boys took turns petting him gently and saying farewell. I bent low over his body, my tears falling on his black fur and thanked him for gracing our lives for so many years, and for making cat lovers out of my husband and sons. We went to bed that night, Donald close by on his blanket.

The next morning Donald raised his head slightly when I went to him. Dan used an eyedropper to dribble the juice from canned tuna onto Donald's tongue every few hours. The next day, Donald grew a little stronger and began eating and drinking on his own. We took him to the vet who shook his head in disbelief and then charged us $150.00 to cut off Donald's broken tail. Slowly, day-by-day, Donald slowly regained his strength. Dan had been right from the very start, I thought. This truly was a Wonder Cat.

He slowly recovered and we treated him like the miracle he was. Wherever he wanted to be, that was fine with us. Whatever he wanted to eat, we would seek it out. Perhaps it was our guilt at work after sending him on the dryer ride, but he was The King of the House. One night, about 3am I heard a strange, yet somewhat familiar sound and I roused myself enough to see that Donald was perched on Dan's shoulder as Dan slept on his side. I heard the sound again and tried to fight through the fog of sleep to respond. It was a retching sound coming from Donald, and I recognized it too late as the pre-vomit sound of a cat. He gave one final shudder and sound and then out came the vomit, streaming down Dan's neck and shoulder. I thought this might be the end of Donald's favored status, but no, Dan just immediately limped to the shower without a word and then came back to bed, gently moving the sleeping Donald who, now feeling better, had taken over Dan's pillow.

After Donald had fully recovered his health, the first thing we did when people came to our home was to show them our cat, Donald Ray. We knew it would be a real treat for them to meet him! We were so proud of our survivor and in our eyes he was truly beautiful, in fact, regal. In retrospect now I can see the looks we so willingly took to be looks of awe and admiration from our visitors were most likely looks of revulsion as they recoiled from the sight of a nearly tail-less cat with mere shards of ears and two twisted, contorted whiskers sticking out. Despite a few baths, Donald never smell quite right again, but we didn't care. We'd push him toward our visitors, "Here's our cat Donald! Isn't he great? Would you like to hold him?"

Donald lived another year and died a peaceful death at age 17. We held a funeral and buried him under the lemon tree in our back yard. Dan and I have always had a plan that upon our deaths, we will meet at a cabin in the hereafter. We have no doubt that Donald will be there, curled up in a chair, waiting for us. Dan, who after all these years is still on stress leave from family laundry duty, assures me there are no dryers in heaven, only Wonder Cats who wait patiently for the people who love them.


Happy Homemaker said...

Awwww! What a wonderful story about a wonderful cat! I'm touched!

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

aw... I'm happy that the story didn't end at the previous post. Lyss told me the story up until that post.

Bossy Betty said...

Hi Mickie,

I am so happy you are reading my blog! That Alyssa can get very dramatic at times. I don't know where she gets that from.

Anonymous said...

I can testify that certain cats are more amazing than others. My family's cat Guess lived almost 22 years, and the last 10 months were after being accidentally left out at night, hit by a car, and suffering a collapsed vertebrae. He had a neck injury when he was younger that also necessitated a trip to a chiropractor.

He survived riding in the baskets on the front of my sisters' bicycles and being stuffed into all sorts of containers. He became old and cranky, legally blind and deaf, but always knew when my mom was cooking chicken or tuna.

I only have one scanned picture of him on my myspace page (which I think you can see even though you've refused to become my friend). In my favorite picture, he is carrying a bunny in his mouth.

Bossy Betty said...

That is an amazing cat! How did he get his name by the way? I will try and get on your myspace page and see the picture even though that mean Amanda said I could not be your friend.

Zuzana said...

I visited your older post through the linking widget, mostly as the picture of the cat caught my eye...
Your Donald looks just like my current cat, called Batcat. Spiting image, actually. I even have posted similar picture off him, striking the same "I am in charge" pose, while sitting on top of a cabinet.
What a touching story...