Monday, November 21, 2011

Our Woody....and Death...

Pardon my absence right now...we are all adjusting once again...

A week and 2 days ago we put our 16 year old cat in the ground.  We miss him...He was more dog and human then cat.  We have three others (various ages) he was in our family for 16 years.  He sat at my feet when ever I cooked, hoping I'd drop something for him.  (or I should say he was under my feet!) When people went in the den he RAN in and jumped on the back of the couch and said "I am HERE!  Pet me!"...he would demand you pet him, taking his paw and poking at your arm until you did...

He's the one on the right...with another one of our cats..Sugar, who is about 7 years now...this was a bold move by her since the back orf the couch was HIS...

He was found on a wood pile (hence the name) behind the house of a friend who was selling it to move south.  The new owner, another friend, snatched him up (the only one he could catch, out of a litter)  Woody was too busy playing to notice his brothers and sister ran away.  The vet said he was about a month old, and it was probably the first time the mother let them out.  Catching Woody turned out to be a blessing for him.  Before he was a year old he needed eye surgery because the inner eyelid of one of his eyes, was growing closed.  And a short time later he developed chronic bladder problems, also odd for a cat so young.  He would not have lasted very long as a feral cat...he also had a thyroid problem and his fur was fine and long and would tangle into hard mats that had to be cut out.  No matter how much he was brushed, or washed, we would always end up giving him a drastic haircut every shedding season. 

He was a character.  I think he was part dog, part human, and a little cat.  For one thing being so young when we found him, we had to hand feed him.....often....we bought "cat milk" and I fed him so he began to think I was his mother.  He would climb up on me and poke his head under my arm. Well after he was past the "milk" stage..he used to come to me for comfort just like a small child. 

His whole name was Woodrow Kramer.  

                                                                "Woody Kramer". 

When Woody was in a "running" mood, he would run from one end of the house to another..when he got to the kitchen door, in the middle of the house, and where the food was,  he would skid to a sliding stop as he turned and entered into the kitchen, much like Kramer on the Seinfeld show did.  He chased bubbles like prey, and his favorite game was chasing a flashlight beam across the floor and around in circles...sometimes he'd chase his own tail.  I have seen dogs do that, but never a cat. (not an adult cat anyway)

Whenever he got the chance, he made mad dash for the back door if he spied it open a crack, to run outside.   He'd get on the small deck and stand there wondering what to do next with his "freedom"....then if he saw us coming he'd jump down under it.  (And just like a dog it was usually when we were on our way out the door to go out someplace!)  One time he actually made it around to the front of the house... (hugging the side of the house the whole way) and was only too ready to run in the front door when it was presented open to him..... Our cats are all inside cats.  We have had in/out and outside cats before and we found it expensive and cruel...they know not what trouble they can get into out there!  The cats we have let outside, in our time here, suffered many serious injuries and illnesses because of it.....even though vaccinated... so we keep them all in now.

In the past year, the eye Woody had surgery on started giving him trouble.  It would get runny and gooey, and at times infected, and would drain into his sinuses making him sneeze.. and required constant attention.  I was sure he would have to lose the eye before he died, I know he lost the sight in it, or at the very least the sight in that eye was limited. 

And he was becoming an old man.  He would sit on the back of the couch and settle in to take an afternoon nap.  Often going into such a deep sleep he would fall off the couch and then jump up looking around as if to see who pushed him. 

After doing that a few times, he stopped napping on the back of the couch and napped instead, on the chaise lounge.  (Smart of him) But the back of the couch was still his spot..he could look over the whole room like the King of the house he was, and everyone who entered the room had to go past him at one point or another, and he'd reach out and grab you for a pat...

But he never lost his appetite.  Right up until..well..about 3 or 4 days before he died.  About a year ago, I discovered that if I put olive oil on his food not only did he love it, but his coat changed and became less matted, his eye cleared up (if only for small periods at a time) and if we gave him homeopathic viral meds, when his eye started bothering him again,  he would stop sneezing (diagnosesd with feline a CMV type of virus..not Herpies 1 that causes sores) and his eye would clear up again.  Less hairballs too.  A problem, especially, for long haired cats.

Over the past 3 months or so I noticed changes in him.  I told my sons I was not sure we would have him much longer.  Then over the period of 2 days he went rapidly down hill.  The last night he kept walking from kitchen to his spot by the food (his station), to the bathroom where the litter was.  Very very slowly at first, and then very weakly.  Finally around midnight he went into the bathroom and laid down by the litter box.  He would gently meow and I would go in and pet him, and he would get quiet.  At 2 am he let out a louder, but soft, cry and I knew it was his last one.  Over the past week he already felt cold and hard, so I knew the end was near for him.  Still eating but much less then normal.  Less steady on his feet..So I knew he was entering the last stages of death. 

Death is interesting.  So the animals die, so we die.  If you ever get a chance google it..look up the the stages of death.  It is terrifying, and fascinating at the same time. It is what we all have to face sooner or later.  It is what led my sister to became a state health aid to care for the elderly and dying, in State Vet Nursing homes. It is why I would help anyone die at home if I can...according to their wishes..With dignity. 

Funny..I totaly got Dr Kevorkian.  I mean not what he did..helping people commit suicide....(but the thats a whole other topic) but helping them die at home under their own control.   And I find it ironic, no sad, that he died in a hospital.  I hope to be able to go with dignity, at home, when the time comes (which I hope is a long long LONG way off).  The way both my parents did, and my husband...  in my own home, with family near.....My father and my husband both died peacefully....and just let go.  My mother went kicking and screaming....he was worried about what would happen to her house (of all things)..that was her. (made it hard on us but I hope I can make it easier for my family when that time comes...)

This is Woody on the plant table, in the kitchen, pretending he is outside....just caught him coming out...

We buried Woody in the spot he would jump down to off the deck when he escaped.  He's finally outside...

See you later...having camera trouble (soo soon)  so all we have are the pictures that were on the camera before it started acting "funny" here we go again...



  1. So sorry to hear about Woody. I have my 16 year old cat with me in the RV, and I am always nervous when she starts acting different.

  2. I'm so sorry for very sorry for your loss. Pets are such a special part of the family and it truly hurts and grieves us to lose them. I understand. I still grieve the loss of mine, and it's been years.


  3. So sorry to hear of your loss - he was clearly a very special cat. It's the worst part of pet ownership, when we lose them. You gave him many wonderful years.

  4. I'm so sorry about your loss. It really is hard loosing a pet.

  5. Thanks everyone. yes he was very special. We know that animals generally live a certain amount of year.. usually 10 years..some dogs 10-12 or a little more..depends on the breed. When we get to that time line we know it is borrowed time. But it is still a loss none the less. Every time I cook I think of him under my feet waiting for a morsel to come his funny..he was so funny..
    Yes he is missed...I think pets prepare us for the humans in our one should be without pets!
    Maye tats why we always have more then one..Teri I hope yours lives a long time...but they are lessons for us in letting go..I think you know that...

  6. I'm so sorry! It's hard to lose a pet. I want them to last forever with me.

  7. So sorry about your kitty. I had one for about that long and its been many years since he passed , but he will always be my favorite pet, ever.
    I always doubt getting another pet because it hurts so much when you lose them. But the joy they give you! and the laughs! and the comfort, the company, the affection...I could go on and on! :)
    We have a stray that came by last winter and now we have 10 cats! all outside barn cats, all black, but they give me so much joy to watch them play!