RIP Elmer Fudge 1993-2006

The Western scenery hadn’t changed much since early October – perhaps it was a little bleaker, a little browner, a little windier. But this time, we wanted to get home. Post-election, Miri and I fled Billings for California as quickly as we could manage. We rented a U-Haul and carted trash to the dump, boxes to storage, and cardboard to the recycling center. Finally we loaded a piano and a card catalog and caravaned down to Sheridan, Wyoming. All of our baggage left behind, we arrived back in California unemployed and starved by a diet of Gatorade and saltines. I could no longer pin my unemployment on my desire to change the world. The world was changed, and I didn’t have a job.

All was well at home. Thanksgiving brought brined turkey, pumpkin cheesecake, creamed pearl onions, and boisterous family. But all was not well with Elmer. My mom had called to tell me he had chronic renal failure, maybe he would live months, maybe even a year. But when I returned from Montana, he was lethargic, slept for more hours than usual every day, wouldn’t eat much. My mom didn’t want to take him to the vet if we could avoid it. She thought it would traumatize him, and he didn’t yet seem to be in pain.

But one evening, I came home to find my dad stroking the cat and crying softly. He wouldn’t eat anything and he hardly drank either. Anything he did drink he just peed out around the house. There’s a website dedicated to feline chronic renal failure. People draw out the lives of their kitties with IV fluids, shots, and treatment regimens (check out http://www.felinecrf.com/). One pampered kitty even received a kidney transplant.

But we weren’t going to do that. When he stopped moving on his own, we finally took him to the vet for the fateful shot. My parents brought him home in a styrofoam cooler, curled up like he slept on our beds, and we buried him next to the compost heap, where he can forever feed new plants that grow.

Losing a pet who’s a part of the family is crushing. That said, I’m thrilled to be able to return home without sneezing my nose off.

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One Response to “RIP Elmer Fudge 1993-2006”

  1. Mom Says:

    well, to be totally accurate, he only had one accident. The poor thing maintained his dignity up to the last 24 hours by making the laundry room pitstop the focus of herculean effort to achieve. alas, he didn’t make it once. He was a good cat and a good companion. As grandpa said, let’s hope that he and Phred are curled up together in the great beyond, purring and sharing stories about their quirky family. And, if there is such a thing as reincarnation, make my next life that of a suburban housecat.

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