Sunday, January 31, 2016

For Clifford. 1998 to January 31, 2016

We had to put our kitty to sleep yesterday.

We found out about a month ago that he had a cancerous tumor under his tongue. These types of cancers in cats are very aggressive, so they tell me. It was harder and harder for him to eat and he drooled a lot. He started pulling his fur out, from frustration I suppose. I don't blame him, I probably would too if I couldn't bathe myself, couldn't eat, and walked around drooling all the time.

Clifford the cat, named after Clifford, the Big Red Dog.
Clifford always had a "pissed at the world" look on his face.
It was hard to watch him decline because he's always been a bit of an asshole. He used to bite my ankles in the morning if I didn't feed him fast enough, and he'd bite the kids' ankles just for the hell of it. He loved to make them scream and run from him down the hallway.

He wasn't even afraid of my brother's 5 foot iguana that lived with us for a short time in 1998. He took over the iguana house as his favorite napping spot.

"Guess I'll go find some kids to bite now. Later, Scale-face."
Most recently, he delighted in knocking over full cups of liquid whenever he could and chasing our other cat around the house if she was eating more than her share of the cat food (in his humble opinion).

My sister's 40 pound dog, Buddy, was deathly afraid of him ever since an altercation in 2007. My sister and I were in my bedroom and Buddy was in the hallway with Clifford. Next thing we knew, Buddy was wailing and Clifford was just sitting there with his ears back and his tail waving back and forth. We didn't see what happened, but after that, Buddy wouldn't enter a room if Clifford was there. We think Clifford pulled a gun on him.

Here he is last year, posing for his layout in "Playcat" magazine.
To watch him go from such a lean, mean, badass to the thin, drooling, ragged creature in front of us broke our hearts. The only real peace he had was when he slept. So we decided it was time to just let him sleep.

That's such a hard decision to make for your pet. To decide that his breakfast Saturday morning was the last meal he would ever have, that his nap on my pillow was the last time he would sleep in our bed. That his purr the night before was the last one I would hear from him.

But Clifford was sick and to wait any longer would have been miserable for him. He was counting on us to know when the right time was to let him go. It really was the last loving thing we could do for him. I know that.

Clifford (named by our kids, after the Big Red Dog) was 18 so our kids pretty much grew up with him. He had a special bond with my son and would often sleep in his room, so my son went with us to the vet..

When it was time, Cliffy was surrounded by the people he loved, all petting him.

The vet administered the shot. Cliffy tucked his furry head down into the blanket we had wrapped him in, just like he would do at home before he fell asleep, and he was gone.

The house feels different without him. I awoke early this morning because I thought I heard him purring by my head.

Our other cat, Molly, went tearing back and forth down the hallway like she was being chased, just a little while ago. I think Clifford was after her, just like old times.

For Clifford. Thank you for letting us have you as long as we did. You were a real arse sometimes, but we loved you.


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