Friday, December 25, 2009
In Memory of Mr. Data, Kitty Extraordinaire
Mr. Data, Kitty Extraordinaire, Supreme Glorious Ruler of the Feline Universe passed over to the other side today at the age of 18 1/2 years.
Considering what he was going through with a failing heart and fluid building up in his system, it was the only Christmas gift I could give him . We spent all day yesterday at the vets, taking xrays and giving him IV fluids to rehydrate him and knowing that there wasn't much time left. There was less than a 5% likelihood that keeping him in the hospital overnight would have helped so I took him home last night to spend some hours with him cuddled together on the bed. And at 6:00 am he started to have trouble breathing and I knew he was ready to go ahead. We were lucky to have a nice ER vet who let me have as much time with him in the exam room before and after the injection to help him cross over to the rainbow bridge and when he carried Data out of the room afterwards, it was with all the respect and gentleness he would have given to a member of his own family.
Data and I met 18 years ago, when I was living in a strange little apartment with a strange landlord and neighbors who bought roaches along when they moved in. I had been walking up to Walgreens to buy roach spray and we met. He was a homeless kitty who let me pick him up and carry him over my shoulder just like you would with a child for almost an entire mile and while crossing busy streets.
When he first met his brothers, there was chaos. He liked Brandy, who had the same coloring as him, but Brandy wanted nothing to do with him. Our other kitty, Hobbes, was immediately smitten with him but Data wanted nothing to do with him. And he got his name when I realized that here was this kitty who wanted somewhere to belong, just like the character Mr. Data on Star Trek.
Only my Data was prettier with the tufts of fur on his ears and a striped whorl on top of his head. He loved scritchies under his chin, having his chest rubbed and his neck massaged. He hated vets, figured I was out to get him when I clipped his back nails, made it very clear when anyone but me was allowed to pet him and when it was time to put down the hand and back away now.
Data was famous for always getting into or on top of things. He managed to open the fridge and get into kitchen cabinets and scatter oatmeal across the length of the apartment. I've seen him jump on top of the kitchen table, hop over to the fridge and walk across the length of the hot water pipes like a balancing beam until he was able to wedge himself on top of a tiny kitchen cabinet. He loved to sleep in the closet and considered everything and everywhere to be his personal bed that he was gracious enough to share with me.
His favorite fun was to flush pigeons off the balcony usually ruining a methodical stalk by his brother Brandy when Data would take a mad dash straight at the balcony door until the pigeons flew off and left his brother thwarted from a stalk yet again.
And he loved food. Data had a serious jones for McGriddles and bacon, and even in his last weeks when things were starting to hurt more, he'd jump on the back of the couch and walk behind me to get at ice cream. I could put 10 plates of food down around the apartment, but if he saw me going into the kitchen he'd hustle over and start up with that plaintive, "Feed me woman, I'm starving" meow. If it had a spoon, he was convinced it was something he wanted and had to have.
And no, I never ever of course saw him snuggling with his brothers and enjoying it. Never ever did I see that.
Now my apartment seems so quiet and empty without the sound of a meow. It's the first time in almost 21 years that I haven't had a kitty to share my space with. Data, was the baby of our feline family, and I am grateful to have had him in my life for all these years. But now, it's so still that it's not home anymore.
I may not be blogging much for awhile. It's hard to talk or think right now. And I'm going to have to miss cooking with the barefoot bloggers or Cooking Italy as I don't have the energy or strength to do the recipes.
Godspeed Mr. Data. You're free now. There's no more vets, pills or nasty tasting antibiotics. So until we meet again at the rainbow bridge, play with your brothers and run through the universe, flushing pigeons, scattering oatmeal across the clouds and make sure to sit down for that never ending McGriddle. I will miss you boo boo kitty.