Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Dearly Departed Diabetic Cat

I clapped my hands and jumped from foot to foot. The squeal that was building in my chest would burst out any moment but that wouldn't do; it might scare them away. I tried holding my breath to keep the sound stifled. PawPaw was down on his hands and knees, reaching through weeds and into the darkness below the blue utility building. He grunted, and I watched the spot where his hand had disappeared under the building, eyes wide with wonder and anticipation. "Gotcha." He said and moments later pulled out a tiny grey kitten.

He turned to me with his blazing grin and presented the tiny fluff of fur. From the moment he dropped her into my hands, I was in love. You see PawPaw had a thing for cats, and he'd passed on his thing for cats to me, his youngest granddaughter. Neither of my parents ever fully understood my connection with animals as a child, but PawPaw did. He loved them like I did, cats most of all.

Little Bit's newest litter resided under the blue utility building. It was PawPaw's intention to get them out so I could admire them up close-like. The first kitten he pulled out was enough for me though. I can remember sitting down in the cool grass and pressing her to my chest. She mewed softly at me and gazed up out of nervous green eyes. She was perfect. From that point on, every visit to MawMaw and PawPaw's was spent with the kittens and that perfect little grey kitten in particular. I wanted to take her home with me, but like most parents, mine weren't too keen on adding another member to the family, especially one that they assumed I would tire of within a few months.

But I wasn't to be deterred, and I enlisted the help of PawPaw in developing a plan. My parents had dropped me off at Kitten Haven while they went on a date night. While they were gone, PawPaw and I plotted and planned, thinking of various arguments and reasons why I needed that grey kitten. By the time my parents returned, we had our script perfected. They didn't stand a chance against us. That night, I rode home with the grey kitten in my lap.

The kitten never really got a proper name. We called her Kitten for awhile, and with our Southern drawls, her name eventually developed into Kidden. Because PawPaw gave her to me, she was more special than any pet I'd ever had and will probably ever have since. She would prove to be an inextricable tie to him even after he passed away from cancer only a few years later.

I loved that cat with a fierce passion that only a child can possess. I grew up with her, rarely can remember a time when she wasn't there.


When she was twelve-years old, she became sick. We took her to several veterinarians, desperately searching for what was causing her severe weight loss and dehydration. Eventually, she was diagnosed with diabetes. The vet advised that most owners of diabetic animals had to make the tough decision to euthanize their pet, simply because the time and money involved in caring for a diabetic pet was overwhelming. He explained that Kidden wouldn't live much longer anyway, no more than six to nine months.

By this time, PawPaw was no longer with us. Kidden reminded me of him and kept his love alive for me. I couldn't bear the thought of losing this last part of him. We decided to try the vet's recommendation of feeding Kidden a special diabetic food and giving her insulin shots twice a day. Have you ever given a cat a shot? Well, trust me when I say, it's not pretty.

Kidden went on to live for two more years. She died just a few months after Jeremy moved to Georgia. I think she was making sure I had someone else to love before she left. I still haven't quite gotten over her passing. When I think of her, I think of PawPaw and all the wonderful times we shared. I'm so grateful for the time I had with him and all the memories he gave me. I'm so grateful for that little grey kitten that would watch over me for him when he wasn't there to do it himself.


Do you have a special pet that still carries your heart?

20 comments:

  1. I really am so sorry for your loss, Katie. That special connection with your PawPaw was something that can't be matched. Lots of love to you, sweetie...

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a sweet post, Katie. Kidden was your bridge from childhood to adulthood. I have never truly loved an animal until I got my sweet labradoodle Coco in February. And honestly, I can't imagine life without her. So sorry : (

    ReplyDelete
  3. My almost 17 yr old cat passed a few years ago. I don't think a day goes by that I don't think about him! Whether it's a way my current cats are acting that is like him, or I come across a picture... they're so special to us!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm dreading the day my cat Sierra passes away - she was my first kitten that I took home as soon as I moved out (my parents wouldn't let me have a cat). Thanks for sharing your Kidden with us!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh. Reading this reminds me of a couple different things.

    1. My Grandpa had the same love for animals. He had stray cats that stayed outside. After every meal, he would feed them the scraps. It was funny how they would see him and come running.

    2. This has reminded me of my cat Margo. I had her from age 3 and she died when I was 15. She had uterine cancer. That cat was my best friend and it hurt SO bad when she passed away.

    I still miss her even after all these years.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hung on to your every word here. I lost my Vinny about a year ago. He was only 5...but I loved him so much. I just adopted a new one that looks like his twin almost. Not to replace him, but to honor him. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story, love the connection to your grandpa on this too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. awwww - such a sweet post. I have Max(my lab). I got him as a puppy shortly after my first marriage ended. Max saw me through all the heartbreak and was/is my close friend. He is still with me, but is getting old. Also, about giving a cat a shot - too funny. It reminds me of that article about giving a pill to a cat. Have you ever read that?

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a sweet kitten and a sweet memory. It's hard to lose a pet but especially one with such a close connection. :(

    ReplyDelete
  9. Bawling!! Katie this is the best post is a beautifully written piece. You painted a lovely picture of your little girl memory. I was there rooting for you and Paw Paw to win Kidden with your clever scheme.
    I had a dog named Max who was hit by a car. It was 15 years ago but I miss him every day.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ah, so hard to lose a pet. You summed up the feelings very well here.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My dog, Luther, died about 5 years ago. He was a 17 year old schnauzer that I got when I was 9 years old. He is the #1 reason we have 2 schnauzers today because he was just the best dog. I think about him every day.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm so sorry Katie. She seemed like such a good Kitty :) Glad she could have your family!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh, Katie. Kidden sounds like a good 'un. I can see where she would be special. *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  14. Happy Sunday! I am a new follower from the blog hop and I look forward to following your blog!...Hope u can come by for a visit! http://adventuresatgreenacre.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. *tears*

    Such a beautiful post! Your heart is so big and you have such an amazing talent for sharing it with others through your words.

    And I do remember my first cat, Precious. She was wild and beautiful. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I hate writing comments with my phone...

    ReplyDelete
  17. Aw, this one still makes me want to tear up. Hope ya'll are coping well with the loss. Thanks for linking up to the Storytellers Blog Hop, Katie! Hope you are having a great start to the weekend ;)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I know exactly what you mean when you say that you loved Kidden with a 'fierce passion'. It's the way I love my little Avalon. I would give my life for this cat. I even have a whole blog devoted to him ( http://avalon-lion.blogspot.com ). I'm really sorry to hear about your loss. Kidden seemed to be a very neat cat. You are both in my thoughts.

    ~Vanessa & Avalon

    ReplyDelete
  19. Kidden sounds wonderful. My heart is with several past pets, but the most influential was Moose. My dog Moose helped me through a divorce. I had to put him to sleep when he was only 2; he had stomach cancer. :(

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh my goodness Katie, sooo sad. :'( I had my malamute mix Lakoda, and like Nina's story, he helped me through years of awful torturous ridiculousness and then the subsequent divorce, and he was around when I finally found true love... and then he too got stomach cancer and we had to let him go. He is the dog to whom we compare all other dogs.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving ♥!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...