On July 2, 1995 a litter of 9 kittens was born. At some point the kittens lost their mother and were taken in by the owner of a pet supply store. I was young, just 11 years old. I had been promised two kittens when my parent’s cat passed away, and I was there to get my two kittens. When my family and I got word there were kittens, there were only 3 kittens left. They were sleeping all piled up together, a row of fluff balls. The first kitten she picked up was a white and brown tabby boy, the middle kitten was a dark brown tabby boy, the third kitten was a white and gray girl. I wanted a girl kitten so I could name her Muffin. So the girl kitten was mine right away. We had previously had a brown tabby cat, so we all decided right away that the brown tabby kitten was coming home with us. But that first kitten. He was adorable. And it was heart breaking to think of leaving him alone as we took his brother and sister home with us. I knew I would always wonder what happened to that last kitten. After lots of convincing from my dad and I, my mom finally broke down and allowed me to take the third kitten home. That may have been the best thing my parents ever did for me.
That third kitten became my Crash Man. My best friend. My protector from real and imaginary dangers. I remember when we brought them home. Three kittens in a giant cardboard box. They were mewing and digging at the box, trying to knock it over and get out. I remember that I have never been more excited about anything in the world than I was the day we brought those three kittens home. I remember we let them out of the box when we got in the house and they all tumbled out. Soon they were running around the house while we sat around thinking of names. I tried to argue for naming the brown tabby Muffin, but my mom wouldn’t have it . Muffin is a girl’s name she said. So my little Muffin got her name with hardly any effort. Crash, well he ran head first into a table leg, stopped, looked confused then shook his head and continued running. So Crash got his name; a name which he continued to live up to for many years. We named the tiny brown tabby Uncle Sam because they were born around the Fourth of July, and we wanted something for the holiday; he later just became Sam or Sammy.
I was lucky enough to grow up with my three kittens, who became my three cats. They filled my life with so much joy and shaped the path of my life in ways I am still discovering. Sadly, my Sammy died unexpectedly on April 10, 2009. We think it was a heart attack. Muffin died on New Year’s Eve 2013 after a short but horrible battle with cancer. Sadly, I had to euthanize my sweet, Crash last Tuesday-June 23. I haven’t been able to write about it before now because it is too painful.
Crash was my best friend. I have never had a relationship with anyone-human or cat-like the one I had with Crash. He saved me from myself during the worst of my depression so many years ago. He protected me from the scary snake pit in Indiana Jones. He vomited in front of the boy I liked in high school who was so not good enough for me. Crash and I snuggled together most nights for years. He would climb in front of the computer when I was trying to do homework, because he needed the attention. He woke me up if he wanted breakfast.
The last few years my Crash was a bit of a train wreck. He was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism around 2008. From there he got pancreatitis. He had a heart murmur, which fluctuated based on how controlled his hyperthyroidism was. He had kidney disease, though that was mostly controlled by years of sub-q fluids. He had awful teeth, chronic constipation, awful arthritis and a bad case of dementia. He may or may not have had IBD; the same for lymphoma. He developed a heart arrhythmia, and at the end he had a mass in his mouth. He had this tendency to get super sick, giving a new aspect to the name “crash”. He would get so sick that we would prepare for him to not make it. Somehow, he always bounced back from it though. Always. I know a lot of that was the loving care and medication I gave him while I nursed my buddy back to health.
Back in April we discovered the mass, which the doctor suspected was a fast growing cancer. We also discovered he was in heart failure. There was nothing I could do about the growth. I had such a hard time with this. I could do nothing for my cat. Nothing. It is the hardest feeling in the world, knowing someone you love is ill and there is nothing you can do for them. It broke my heart and I think a tiny bit of my soul. I kept him comfortable. By this point he was eating almost all the time. He still snuggled, wanted attention and seemed to be enjoying life as much as any elderly being can enjoy life.
Crash lived so much longer than we expected, even with the growth in his mouth. (It may or may not have been cancer, we don’t actually know since we couldn’t remove it.) Ultimately his body just shut down. He died from old age. Which is a hell of a lot more than I could ever have asked for my boy. He had a quality life until the very end. While he slowly pulled away from me in the last year and a half–we didn’t snuggle as much, he associated me primarily with medication, and he gave way to Sneakers–he still loved on my parents as much as ever. When I realized he wasn’t looking for love from them, I knew it was time to free him from his failing body.
July 2, 2015- those three kittens are no longer with me. Not physically anyway. They are always in my heart and my soul. They are here in the way they have shaped my life. So many decisions in my life were made for or because of those three kittens, who became my three cats and best friends.
Thank you Crash. Thank you for an amazing life filled with love, joy, and heartache. Thank you for loving me with your whole heart and teaching me how to do the same. Thank you for being my rock when I needed one. Thank you for knowing when I needed a rock and when I needed a snuggle buddy. Thank you for staying with me so long. Thank you for everything you taught me and everything you gave me. I hope that I was worthy of your love and that I made your life as amazing and happy as I could. Crash my love, I hope I always did what was best for you, and not what was best for me. I miss you so much baby boy. So much. Old man, you gave me so much and shaped my life in ways I could never have expected. Thank you for everything. Say hello to Sam and Muffin, and know that I will always, always love you three.