Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012: The Year We Lost Mr. Emerson


 
From Emerson’s Mommie:

Several months have now passed, and I still haven’t posted a memorial to my dear fluffy boy, Mr. RW Emerson.  It was too painful for me to do so at the time, especially with his death coming only a day after I learned of the death of a dear human friend.  Now time has moved on, and some of the memories are fading despite my vows to remember everything about him.

I first saw him sitting all alone in a glass cage at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter on Friday, September 11, 2009.  Other people were also in the cat room, including a group of college student housemates who were cooing over a litter of tabby kittens.  I played with the beautiful orange boy through the cutouts in his cage.  He nibbled my finger.  I found him adorable.  When I finally had the opportunity to interact with him in the playroom, he wasn’t all that interested and seemed overwhelmed.  But I was already in love with him.

The shelter rules stipulated that he had to be neutered before I could adopt  this 13-week old kitten so the surgery was scheduled for the next available day, a Monday.  Unfortunately, that day I received a phone call that the little guy was running a fever and could not undergo the surgery.  He had a stubborn virus that staff veterinarian had thought was under control after he had been fostered, but the stress of being at the shelter and then preparing for the surgery must have been too much for him.  The shelter director, whom I knew professionally, offered another kitten, but I wanted my orange baby and was willing to make him well.  I know now how impossible that would prove to be.

Regardless, Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson eventually underwent his little “snip, snip,” and he came to live with us as my 18-year-old feisty tortie Bathsheba developed skin cancer (Squamous cell carcinoma) in her mouth and died shortly thereafter.  He was such a comfort.

With a name like RW Emerson, our boy had intellectual expectations to fulfill.  We made jokes about his serious entomological and ornithological studies.  What a scholar!  In addition to his academic prowess, he possessed great skill at crinkleball and practiced daily on the rectangular playing field of our foyer.  We imagined a crinkleball scholarship to Princeton in his future. 

Oh, how Mr. Emerson loved crinkleball!  If we wanted to summon him, we simply rustled the crinkle of the ball, and he would come running.  He also enjoyed the feather wand and would follow it as I swept it up and down the stairs repeatedly.  It brings tears to my eyes when I think about how much energy he had when he was well.

But Mr. Emerson was unwell, a lot, and his timing was always problematic.  He required a trip to the vet and subsequent hospitalization in the midst of a terrible snowstorm in December 2009.  Upon our leaving him at the vet, the car got stuck in a snowbank on our return home without him.

Before Emerson turned one, he was outside with me and suffered an injury.  He leaped off the deck rail in an effort to snag a bird at our feeder.  He missed and ended up with a dislocated knee.  Of course, it was the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  Upon examination, the doctor determined that Mr. Emerson had a heart murmur and that surgery would be risky.  Off we went to some specialists.  Mr. Emerson’s knee was mended, and he began a daily dose of heart meds.  We bought a large dog crate for Emerson’s recovery, and we set it up in the family room complete with a small litter box, scratching post, soft bed, and food and water bowls.  He loved that crate so much that we kept it set up for him after he recovered, and it was still there when he died.

Mr. Emerson was a wonderful companion despite his heart ailments.  We took him on some family trips, and he was a good traveler.  He was no longer allowed to venture outside, but he loved to watch birds and squirrels from the comfort of his home.   He enjoyed supervising me whenever I cooked or baked.  He purred.  Sometimes he would grace our laps with his presence.  He came to bed with us every night for his special treats.  Besides the rustle of the crinkleball, the cry of “Treats!” always brought him to us.  We had a little ritual where we would put a treat between our lips, and Mr. E would gently take it from us.  It was like a kiss from him.  We delighted in hearing him crunch on his treats instead of swallowing them whole.  We all looked forward to “treat time.”  I always held out hope that Emerson would settle down on the bed after treat time, but he would usually depart once he deduced that no more treats were forthcoming for the night.

As Mr. Emerson’s disease (juvenile-onset hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy) progressed and his pharmacopeia became more numerous and complex, it became increasingly difficult to administer his pills.  At first I could just hide the pills in his “stinky goodness” (canned food), then when that no longer worked, Pill Pockets did the trick.  After a while, he wised up to the Pill Pockets and I was flummoxed.  I finally found a pill shooter that worked fairly well, but I sympathized with my little guy who had to take so many pills several times a day.  He also became a fussy eater as his appetite waned, and it was all I could do to find something other than treats to sustain him.

When Little Nicky came into our lives in February of 2011, we had to be very careful with her introduction to Mr. Emerson.  We had to ensure that her health was A-OK and that she would not introduce any disease to our boy.  Outwardly, he appeared healthy and fairly active, but we didn’t want to take any chances.  Luckily, Little Nicky was and is a very healthy kitty.

Emerson and Little Nicky got along well, but were never quite the bosom buddies that I hoped that they would be.  They did enjoy playing with each other, especially in the morning.  They loved to play hide-and-seek or “pounce” with each other in large bags.  They would even chase each other around the house, sometimes with a bag trailing behind one of them who was caught in the handle.  What fun!

Mr. Emerson had a luxurious orange coat, but he was not a fastidious groomer.  I suppose that’s why he never ever hacked up a hairball!  He did not care to be brushed and his long hair would develop mats.  He didn’t mind the zoom groom, but it did little for the mats he developed.  I loved to work on his mats, but he didn’t appreciate my efforts.  I did find a wonderful comb that gently removed mats, but he usually tried to flee when he saw me approaching with grooming tools. 

Mr. Emerson was a dear companion whose life was cut short by some bad genes.  He gave us great joy while he was with us, and we have some wonderful memories.  I will never forget him, and I do feel fortunate that I had him in my life.  He was well loved.

Mr. RW Emerson, 6/11/2009 - 8/6/2012

16 comments:

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

But his time with woo was the bestest fur all!

What a great tribute post!

Hugz&Khysses,
Khyra

Cheysuli and gemini said...

Such a lovely tribute. Mr. Emerson was a very lucky cat to have you.

Sweet Purrfections said...

Such a lovely tribute. His time may have been short with you but he was loved.

Forty Paws said...

We are so sorry to hear that RW Emerson crossed over the Bridge in August. You took really good care of him, and we totally understand how difficult it is to administer many pills a day to one cat. We are glad that you chose him to enter your life, and that he chose you to grace his life. You were meant to be together. He will be waiting for you, but he is healthy and running free now.

Luf, Us and Maw

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

What a beautiful post about a very precious cat. Sending you love and purrs and happy memories. xxx

FURKIDSMOM said...

That was a beautiful post to a beautiful ManCat. We know how hard it is to lose a special friend and even more so when they are so young. He was lucky to have such a loving family.

The Florida Furkids and Mom Sharon

Fenris and Family said...

What a lovely tribute to Mr. Emerson.

Derby, Ducky said...

Such lovely thoughts about your ginger boy. He will live on in your memories.

Eric and Flynn said...

This is a beautiful tribute to Emerson. He was taken far too young but his short life with you was filled with love. We think of him whenever we wear our cat camera.

ABBY said...

I am so glad the Mr Emerson spoke to your heart,he needed you to be his caregiver and his companion. He lived a well loved life and he will long be remembered.

Father Tom said...

Emerson reminds us of our orange cat Vinny, gone from us, too. A wonderful post, heartfelt love for a poor kitty beset with conditions the poor little soul couldn't do a thing about.

He was lucky to receive a lifetime of love in the short time he was with you. I know how hard it is to write a memorial. For some of us, some healing has to be done first.

Love and purrs,
Tom, Mom Julie & the kitties

momsbusy said...

beautiful tribute. sometimes it is too hard to write something so soon after a beloved pets passing. mr. emerson would have been pleased with your efforts. purrs and prayers for you and your family.

The Misadventures Of Me said...

No matter the length of time, a furry one will always touch your heart and soul if you let them. He sounds like a wonderful furiend to have had.

Mom Laure

DaisyMae Maus said...

Oh, Nancy ... I fully understand why you waited to write his eulogy as writing DMM's hurt immensely. They are with us too short a time ...
Love,
Jessica

Teri and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz said...

Having also lost a beloved kitty to HCM, I know how even though we know each extra day is a treasure, we never can truly prepare ourselves for their passing...

I am glad you found each other and could share the love, that makes life worth living...

The heart can really never heal, but the sadness softens with time...

ra husky said...

We wanted to paw for condolences, softest husky woooos,

RA