Sunday, July 26, 2015

Kooter (with a K) Boyd

Kooter, Spring 2001 - 7/22/15
We had to say goodbye to one of our furbabies last week.

We had just taken him to the vet the week before for a small growth on his leg (turned out to be only cosmetic) and also because we had noticed he'd been acting a little different lately. Nothing too alarming, and after talking to the vet we attributed it to all the changes with me being pregnant/sick and him not getting as much attention, and with him getting older and having arthritis and just becoming more grumpy in general. The vet offered to run labs but we decided to just wait and see if he cheered up with more attention. Bad decision on our part.

vet visit #1
Tuesday night we noticed he was really sick. He couldn't walk and was stumbling all over the place. His head was bobbing around and he looked miserable. We talked about taking him to the after hours clinic but didn't want to spend a small fortune when google said it very well could be vestibular disease, which is what Sydney had last year and goes away completely on it's own. We decided to wait until the next morning when we could take him to our vet and reassess. Another bad decision on our part. He was still in poor shape in the morning but at least had his head up. I had appointments all morning and when we got back home after lunch he had gone downhill fast. He was vomiting blood and was extremely lethargic. Thankfully my mom was available to come watch the kids so I could take him to the vet. The vet was 95% sure he was in renal kidney failure and there wasn't anything we could do for him at that point. He offered to run tests to rule out a tumor or obstruction that could also be causing the bloody vomit, but wasn't optimistic that he would even be able to survive surgery if it turned out to be something else. So we had to make the decision to have him euthanized. Ugh, that is something you should never have to go through, especially while pregnant and hormonal. Rick stayed with him while they gave him the injection while I disappeared to the car so I could have my emotional breakdown in private.

The last picture I took of him. My poor baby kitty was feeling so terrible.

I wasn't expecting to be so upset. We knew our pets were getting old and that the end would be coming sooner rather than later. And as much as I hate to say it, after having kids your feelings do change about your pets. I swore I would never let that happen. I have loved animals since before I can even remember. I wanted to grow up and become a veterinarian. I used to be the obnoxious person who dressed my pets up and put them on our Christmas cards. They were my babies before we had babies and I definitely treated them as such. But then I had real babies and on most days felt stretched thin by the responsibility of taking care of so many living, breathing, demanding bodies. I was now staying home where I was followed around by them 24/7. And they got older and needier and I caught myself feeling annoyed and frustrated by them a lot. But man, I lost it when it was time to say goodbye to that cat. He was a huge part of my life for so long. I had just turned 18 when we got him. He's been part of our family for my entire adult life and his presence is missed and his absence around the house is very obvious.

And then there was the awful part of telling the kids. Rick did all the talking because I was trying to keep my composure. He didn't even finish the sentence before they were both wailing. Especially Harrison. He is surprisingly the more sensitive one in these types of situations. Harper, on the other hand, didn't even wait 30 seconds before jumping at the opportunity to ask for a new kitten. Over and over. And then she went on to say, "Well, I guess the good thing about Kooter being dead is that he can't try to eat our new lizard that we caught today. You know, because when you're dead, you just lay there with your eyes closed and you can't move. ::imitates a dead person with her eyes closed and tongue sticking out:: So now my lizard will be safe since Kooter is dead now." Ummm...okay? I just stared at her blankly and then couldn't help but laugh. She definitely provided some much needed comic relief, albeit very morbid and somewhat creepy. :) Thankfully her brother was still crying so he didn't hear her comments or I'm pretty sure it would have made things way worse.

As if this post about a cat isn't long enough already, I'm now going to share some stories and pictures from his life. I went through pictures on the computer and through old photo albums and it's pretty embarrassing how many pictures I have of our pets! Like I said, they were our babies before we had babies.

going way back to 2001

He came to us when we were still living in Victoria 14+ years ago. And by "we", I mean Rick & me. So if you're doing the math, yep. We started dating a couple of weeks after I graduated from high school. And I graduated as a junior. I was 17 and he was 22. Cradle robber, all the way. I'm sure much to our parents' delight, we moved in together about 6 months after we started dating. Not at all how Current Kelsey would have had it play out, and definitely not what I hope for our kids' futures, but I like to think that it worked out perfectly and God was very present in all those not-so-wise decisions we were making :)

ANYWAY, a friend came by the house while I was at work. Rick opened the door, saw Sheri standing there holding a scrappy-looking kitten, and told her, "she's not here...and don't you dare go by her work." Long story short, 30 minutes later I came home with the scrappy-looking kitten begging Rick to let us keep him. He just shook his head and smiled at me. The poor guy had been attacked by a dog and was snaggle-toothed, so Rick suggested the name Cooter like from Dukes of Hazzard. But of course we had to spell it with a K, because obviously K names are the bomb dot com. And that is the day that Kooter-with-a-K came to be part of our family.

back when futons and ugly belts were cool
He was a special kitty. And I mean both types of "special." I mentioned how he was attacked by a dog. I think it knocked something loose in that head of his. You would think his traumatic experience would cause him to be afraid of dogs. Nope. He actually later had an encounter with a dog who was growling at him...and instead of running away, Kooter started purring and rubbing and petting himself on the dog's TEETH. But cats? He hated other felines. Even as an almost 20lb cat, he once hissed, ran, and hid from a 6 week old kitten.

Then there was the time he literally had a panic attack. He was about 3 years old at the time. Since he was "special," he was an inside kitty. He would occasionally creep out into the backyard but at the first butterfly flying by he would usually get spooked and dart back inside. But one time he got a little more adventurous. He found a gap under the wooden fence and ventured into the neighbor's yard. After a few minutes of exploring over there, he looked around and realized he was "lost." I heard him howling and tried to get him to go back to the gap he originally went through, but he was frantic. Then I tried to get him to use his cat instincts and climb up the fence, but that wasn't happening either. Heaven forbid he use his claws to climb up something made out of a tree. I ended up having to stick my arm through and shimmy him up and over the 6 foot privacy fence. He was so upset that he was actually hyperventilating. Like I said, he was special :)

hyperventilating kitty

Then there was the one time he did actually act like a cat and jumped from his little cat jungle onto the top of our tv armoire. We were sitting on the couch watching him in awe. Then he got even more brave. We had a window ledge that was about 3 or 4 feet away from the armoire, and we watched him study it and slowly talk himself into jumping across to it. He jumped...and then missed. He got tangled up in the curtains and the whole rod came tumbling down. And even though they say cats always land on their feet, this definitely didn't apply to Kooter. He was fine though, and got up and darted off, and we laughed and laughed until we were crying.

He had so much personality and was unlike any cat I've ever had. Even people who claimed to not be cat people loved Kooter. He had many nicknames, mostly thanks to Rick, because Rick is goofy and loves giving people and animals random nicknames. A few off the top of my head: Kutro, De La Escuala (I have NO idea), Big Gay Orange, and Fat Bastard.

The thing I will remember most about him was how extremely clingy, codependent, needy, and affectionate he was. And relentless and determined to be in your lap at all times or on the bed at night. We would shut our bedroom door at night and he used to meow and meow and scratch at the door begging to get in. But he purred so loud and rubbed against our faces and it did not make for good sleep, so he wasn't allowed in. There were occasions we made exceptions. So there were also more than a few times he got chunked across the room. One time in particular, he hit the wall and slid down, and yet 30 seconds later he was back begging for love again. He purred constantly. He was so much more like dog than a cat. He was never independent and never snubbed people like most cats have a reputation of doing. If you snapped your fingers, he would sprint in from the other room on command and jump up in your lap. If I told him to give me kisses, he actually did. He was ALWAYS up for a snuggle. He was definitely the most loyal pet I've ever had and even though it was reeeeally annoying at times, it was also my favorite things about him.

Such a cuddler
If he couldn't get you to spoon or cradle him, he was always working his way onto people's laps. He didn't mind sharing, either.

Sooooooo persistent

And if he couldn't find a lap, you can guarantee he was always nearby

He was so good with the kids

he was EXTREMELY tolerant and never growled or hissed at a person in his entire life
he was a lazy, sleepy cat
always up for kisses

Christmas was his favorite time of the year. He LOVED lying under the tree. And trying to eat ribbon.

He was the best cat I could have asked for. So thankful for over 14 years with him.  We are really sad to say goodbye.

Bye, Kooter. We loved the heck out of you. You sure will be missed.

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