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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Amateur Poetry Week Continues

Yesterday’s post caused several people to ask follow-up questions about my cat, T.C. Most wanted to know whether he’s still with us.  Sadly, he’s not, at least not in body.  In 2002, his kidneys failed and made euthanasia the only loving option.  

Though T.C. belonged to me, he had quite a fan club. He stole my family’s collective heart.  The adversity of the hairball incident permanently bonded T.C. and my dad, and Dad kept the bond intact with slices of premium deli meats that he fed to my cat at every opportunity. 

My cat endeared himself to everyone else –including two of my siblings who lived hours away-- with a raspy voice that sounded like he’d smoked two packs before breakfast, along with schmoozing skills that rivaled a politician’s.  T.C. secured the vote of many a registered Dog Person, too. I suspect this is because he, unlike most politicians, never feigned his love for the people.

After diagnosing T.C.'s ailment and giving me a grim prognosis, the vet said I could try an at-home version of dialysis.  Administering this treatment required two people, which should have been the first sign that it was the wrong answer.  With my father’s assistance, I tried it twice.  

After the second time I looked at Dad and shook my head. This was no life for a beloved companion who had given me so much and expected so little in return.

The right decision was clear but I took a couple days to think about it.  As soon as I’d made up my mind, I called my parents to tell them I was taking T.C. to the vet. I didn’t have to say why.

I parked the car and went around to the passenger side. So absorbed was I in pulling out the carrier T.C. loathed, but had walked into voluntarily that day, that I didn’t see my parents standing at the door of the clinic.

Any hopes I had of maintaining my composure evaporated.  They gave me weak smiles and strong hugs as our foursome went inside. The vet told us he needed to take T.C. to another room for some preparatory work.

“Dead cat walking,” I said, hoping some gallows humor would keep us out of despair until the vet came back.   

He returned with T.C. and we saw that “T,” as we sometimes called him, had cozied up to the doctor like he would any human.  He seemed to trust that the vet had his best interests at heart as the shot was administered.  

I wept openly and a stream of tears coursed down my father’s cheeks.  My mom seemed to see that she was our last defense. Always a wellspring of kindness and support, her lip quivered but she held down the fort when Dad and I couldn't.   

The vet tried to console us.  “I can tell how much you love T.C.,” he said. Though he probably said the same thing to everyone in our situation, it caused another wave of my sorrow to crest.  He patted my arm and said, “You had him your whole life, didn’t you?”

I shook my head.  I stopped blubbering long enough to say, “Not even five years,” and then burst into a fresh crying fit. He looked surprised, gave my arm another pat, and then took my friend away.

My family’s support kept me from feeling completely alone after we left the vet’s.  My brother called me right away.  I was too unhinged to answer but I listened to his message. 

 “Wheat,” he said,  “Mom and Dad told me about T.C. I’m so sorry. I wish I could….”  He left off mid-sentence as emotion overtook him, but I got the whole message anyway.

My sister, Suzi, sent the same sentiment in different form, making me feel like she was much closer to me than the 90 miles that separated us.

Lynne expressed her support in still a different way.  She wrote me a lengthy poem, printed it (with photos of TC in each corner) and framed it.

Since it’s Amateur Poetry Week here at Splat-ospheric, I’ll share an excerpt with you. 

All About T

Whoever said that a dog is a man’s best friend had it completely wrong.
For sure they would have felt differently when TC happened to come along.

Who knew that Tom Cat would become one of the family’s greatest pets?
Certainly not us when Wheat first brought him home from the vet!

When it came to personality, no other cat could compare.
I mean, TC’s temperament and disposition were almost certainly quite rare. 

TC was a lot like me; let me begin to tell you how…
For starters, the diabetes and thyroid issues, though they seem rather trivial now.

Or how about the days when Wheat went out of town…
You could always count on T to leave a present on her ground. [Editor’s note: It’s true, T.C. loved his human and let me know through fragrant offerings just what he thought of my travel habits.] 

Or imagine taking the furry friend somewhere exciting in the car
While watching him myperventilate before you went too far!

One should also consider his first attempt at escape off the windowsill.
Thank you, God, for looking over him as he could have ended up as road kill!

Funny, as I write, I feel that caring for him was more than worth the time
For T.C. has a special place in all our hearts, especially Wheat’s and mine.

I know you say it’s time for me to bring this poem to an end..
I hope it’s help you find solace in the loss of your best friend!
Whatever you think of my sister's rhyme scheme, the content defies criticism.  Only a gifted artist like my sister could weave medical conditions seamlessly into a poem, and provoke both laughter and tears a full decade after the event that inspired her verse. 


  1. Oh what a lovely family you have! Animals are such a cruel joke we play on ourselves, knowing we'll fall in love with them and have to one day part ways.

    Sounds like you have some great memories.

    I like you, Splat. Or Wheat. Where does Wheat come from? xo

    1. I won the family lottery, no question about it. Team Yank rallies, and when no crisis requires rallying, we lapse right back into relentless teasing, gag gifts, and other assorted classy things. You nailed it about animals. I laughed/cried while writing this post, proving that the little critter still has me in his clutches 10 years later!

    2. Oops, forgot to address the nickname. When i was a toddler, a teasing neighbor said my noncommittal blonde/brown hair looked like a big bunch of wheat. Shazam! Outside of the office, almost no one calls me Karen (there's a good story behind that name, too)...

    3. You're still adopting me, right? Shall I let your family know, or will you?

    4. I forgot. Admission to Team Yank requires a nickname. We'll give you a little time to choose it yourself and if you don't, well, we'll pick it for you, Toots.