I am a lover of cats and I always have been. There was always a cat in the Schnabel household. All of us are kitty nuts. I’ve written on my Rhythm Planet blog of Scarlatti’s Cat Sonata, watch “Too Cute” on Animal Planet, and so on. I’m a sucker for felines.
When you acquire a dog or a cat, however, you sign a Faustian bargain. All the love and companionship over the years with your favorite furry creature must come to an end someday, and that day will be sad. So will the emptiness that follows. I suppose that’s why some prefer parrots or tortoises or even koi, which usually outlive us.
Mr. T, my favorite cat, died yesterday of gastrointestinal lymphoma. He was an alley rescue, a ginger tabby. More precisely, he’d been living in a home across the alley that was more of a boarding house filled with dubious types, so when I added onto my home and built a detached office, yard, and pool, he moved up from a one-star hotel into a five-star hotel. Most people choose their pets; my cat chose me, quite an honor.
Mr. T loved butter and peanut butter, sunbathing in the garden, drinking water from the jacuzzi, and sitting on any available lap. He loved sitting in the production room on top of the studio equipment with the Focusrite compressor on top, which heated up his perch. He wasn’t picky about laps or food, though I always fed him the best. He was also a superb guard cat. Once, after the sound of a gunshot outside, he went to the door and growled, doing his duty to keep us safe. He was extremely affectionate and sociable, often participating in the music salons.
I put him on a diet a few years ago because he, at 17 lbs, was overweight. When he lost weight and became svelte, I thought it was because of the diet. It wasn’t. He kept losing weight over the past two years and became skinny and bony. Not the way I want my cats to look or be. Then he got sick. After a round or oral chemo, prednisone cortico-steroid injections to get him to eat, and almost two thousand dollars worth of tests and diagnostics, he just kept wasting away and finally was so nauseous he wouldn’t eat, couldn’t groom, and was totally listless and without affect.
I have a great house call vet who came over yesterday and in the most gentle and humane way euthanized him. I held Mr. T in my arms on my bed and listened to his heart until it stopped. He was so beautiful and peaceful at the end.
Yesterday was really bad and my eyes looked like a junkie on a bad day. Today’s better, but I will crack sometimes when I look back at the little guy. And yes, I will adopt a rescue cat at some point soon, not right away, but soon.
I had radiant heat in the floors of my old office, and here he is soaking up the warmth on his favorite shopping bag.