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Today I Watched My Cat Die #
My cat was forced into my life on September 21, 2021. He was small and black and had beautiful, pointy ears. His name was Chinobou (shuh-know-boo), and it was long a debate in our household where his name really came from. My wife swore it was from Bob’s Burgers, but Googling suggested it was a misspelling of an anime character or something. Honestly, we’re not really sure!
My other 1/3rds (I love them!) forced him upon me at a family football-watching in Fall of ‘21. I didn’t really want Chinobou, but those two gave me no real choice. Some of you know how this goes! But I got over my bitterness soon enough. Chinobou would become as close to a son to me as any cat could. I watched him play. I relished in his bravery and adventure. We saved him from danger. In no time at all, I came to love that cat with my whole soul. He was as much a part of our family as I was.
Chinobou was nothing like our older cat, Serena. Serena is smart and calculating and proud. He antagonized and irritated her. Chinobou was loving and forceful. The way he gave head hugs were the best indicator of this. He would stand on my chest and knead his paws (and sharp claws) into me while looking me in the eyes. He would then powerfully headbutt my chin, as if to say “I know I’m annoying you, but DAMN I love you.”
He had a particular sound that he would make when he jumped onto my lap or onto our bed. He didn’t make it any time he jumped onto something – only when he jumped up onto something to be with us. It was a soft chirp with a rising tone. It is a sound I’ll long to hear one more time for the rest of my life. Chinobou was also fiendishly obsessed with all dairy products. My wife likes to pour herself a bowl of cereal later in the evening, and in the last few months of his life, Chinobou made it a habit to harass her until he got at least a few licks from her bowl. He was persistent, let me tell you. Meowing and following her around the kitchen counter until she relented.
Chinobou was an escape artist. Well, kind of. He really only had one escape method, but he employed it numerous times. You see, we live on the second story of a three-story condominium complex. We’re only about 10 feet off the ground. Chinobou discovered at a young age that he could simply scamper down our ground-level neighbor’s screened-in porch. It was more a free-fall than a scamper, but you get the point. He would explore the shrubbery at the base of the building below, and then move to harass the girl-cat that lived down and to the right from us. On one occasion, he sneaked out while my wife was stepping out onto the porch for a moment, without her noticing. She returned inside and closed the door, and he found himself alone for the night. I noticed the lack of his presence the next morning, and we quickly assumed him to have headed for the nearby woods. She found him hiding in a bush shortly after. He came running frantically to her calls, as if he might not have enjoyed the night outside (and alone) that much after all.
Probably three or so weeks ago, I noticed him acting very quiet and still one morning. I took a mental note and went about my day. By the end of the day, we knew something was wrong with him. We had him at the vet clinic the next morning. Via x-ray and then ultrasound, the doctor determined he had something with a linear appearance in his extremely bloated stomach. Our only option was to have it surgically removed. During the procedure, they discovered parts of his lower stomach, right above his duodenum, to be highly inflamed. So inflamed, in fact, that they immediately removed a portion for biopsy.
Following his surgery, he appeared to recover quickly and healthily. After hearing of negative results a few days later, we thought our friend to be clear and on the mend. It was a day or two after this time that his recovery seemed to slip a little.
In short, his inflammation had not subsided nearly as quickly as we had hoped, (if perhaps much at all) and was still causing digestive issues. Ultimately, over the course of a couple weeks, Chinobou appeared to be wasting away. His body was not receiving the nutrients it was needing, because he was not able to move food into his intestines. He was dying.
Through all of this, I was his caretaker. I work from home. I was watching him every day for most of the day. I watched him take his last nap. I made the call to end his life when I heard him moan and cry with pain as he wretched up his final meal. It has been hard.
Now, Chinobou is gone. At around 3 in the afternoon I watched his eyes become still and empty. I will never have my friend back. I’ll never hear his tapping claws as he saunters into our bedroom for the night. But I’ll always smile at the joy and love he brought me. He brightened my world and entrenched himself in it. He made life better for me. His existence will never escape from that of my own. Thank you for it all, my dear boy.