Monday, June 13, 2011

Yesterday, We Lost a Friend

 We have never had to seek out pets to adopt into our home…they have always found their way to us. We love them unreservedly in the brief time we’re allotted with them, and mourn the loss of a family member when it is their time to go.

Yesterday we lost our boy, Oreo, a sturdy, handsome tomcat inclined to stride about the cul-de-sac, asserting himself as the neighbourhood’s top feline, only to return home and immediately snuggle up in whichever warm lap was available to him.

Oreo was the grandson of our petite tortoiseshell cat, Zoe, though at twice her size and inclined to play rough, there was little matrilineal similarity. Zoe came to us unexpectedly one Sunday afternoon as we explored an old graveyard, cleaning off headstones to read the wonderful words generations past used to honour their loved ones.
A sudden squeal of brakes near the entrance caused us to turn, just in time to see a girl step out of her car, toss something roughly into the trees, and quickly peel out again. Seconds later, we heard a shrill, forlorn howl, and on racing down to help, came across the smallest, sweetest kitten I’d ever seen. In that instant, Zoe became part of our family.
Tiny and young as she was, we did not realize she was coming into heat, and in no time understood she would soon be having her first, and only, litter. The next-door neighbours requested a kitten, and though we warned them to avoid our huge error in judgment, they failed to have their cat spayed, and more kittens were soon on the way. From this litter came a cheeky black and white fellow their kids named Oreo.
In time, the people next door moved to a new house, a few blocks north of us on the other side of a busy street. Imagine my surprise, then, when I went out to the yard a few days later to find Oreo looking at home on the warm top of our picnic table. Luckily we had exchanged phone numbers before their move. We were able to advise his owners that their cat had returned to his old neighbourhood, and handed him over when they came by that night to reclaim him.

Two days later, Oreo was back, meowing a greeting to me from the picnic table as if that was exactly where he was supposed to be. We were not able to reach the owners quickly this time. We left a message on their answering machine but they did not come for a couple of days.
Oreo was definitely a leaner cat than he’d been and happily tucked into the food I began to regularly place in front of him.
Meeghan and Oreo with their toys

 When the old neighbours finally showed up, we voiced our concern about the dangerous main road Oreo had to cross to find his way to us, and repeated our advice that he be kept indoors until he got used to the new house. Though they vehemently promised to do that, Oreo was back the very next day.
This time, we did not phone…clearly when his owners noticed him missing, they would know where to find him. As several days passed wherein they neither phoned nor dropped by, Oreo effortlessly joined our family and has been with us ever since.
On Saturday afternoon, he could be seen sitting in the driveway, as he liked to do, surveying his little world with satisfaction. After supper, our son, J.J., came to tell us Oreo was dragging a back leg. It seemed reminiscent of an earlier leg injury, earned upholding his reputation as a scrappy cat, and with our son Jules holding him, we hurried out to the animal emergency hospital.
Expecting another cast and a plastic collar, we grew concerned when the vet spent overlong on his examination, and even more concerned that Oreo’s entire hind end now dragged behind when he tried to walk. We had never heard of Arterial Thromboembulisn, (ATE), a frightening condition that strikes without warning. The vet explained that a blood clot had shot to the aorta, blocking blood to the legs and hip and instantly cutting of circulation. Cats Stricken with ATE are literally fine one moment and paralyzed the next.
The vet advised leaving him overnight, where he could hook Oreo up to an I.V. and administer meds to help with the considerable pain, but warned us gently that the prognosis was not good…once one rhombus has been thrown, more usually follow.
We got the call at six a.m. to say our beautiful boy had passed away. I am grateful it was swift and his pain was short-lived, but am lost without his large presence in our too-quiet house.

You know we loved you fiercely, Oreo, and you showed us every day how much you loved us. I'm sure by now you’ve found Angel and curled up on the couch beside her as you used to do.
Please take very good care of each other until we see you both again…


jabblog said...

What a beautiful tribute to your handsome boy. I feel so much for you but you know that you gave him the very best life he could have had. I'm glad his end was swift and peaceful though, of course, far too soon.
Go through your photos and videos and laugh and weep - one day it will not be so painful and you will find more laughter than tears.

aka Penelope said...

What a fascinating read about how Oreo came into your life. He must have known he would find all the kindness he needed at your house. Having lost family pets myself, I know how it hurts. But it is wonderful that you found each other for a time and experienced all that special give and take and unconditional love.

Kay L. Davies said...

What a handsome boy! I know he'll leave a big hole in your life, but you'll always have him safe in your heart. Clearly, he chose your family and your house because he knew it was the best place for him to be.
Thinking of you with lots of love,
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Debby said...

So sorry. I hate losing a pet. They are such special friends.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh how beautiful and touching a tale this is. Oreo chose you and knew where he belonged from the start. He certainly was a handsome fellow, and well-loved. When I lived in back of the bookstore in Tofino, the cat who lived there made himself at home. But when I moved to the beach and took him with me, he kept making his way three miles back into town to the bookstore, till finally the bookstore owner allowed him to stay where he wanted to be. I guess he was a bookstore cat. So sorry that Oreo has died. It sounds very fast, and not a lot of suffering for him, poor boy. I hadnt heard of that either and am now thinking that might be what happened to Graham as so suddenly his hind end was gone. It is nice to think Angel and Oreo are curled up together now. You must all be feeling the loss so terribly.

Jo said...

Oh I am sorry for your recent loss, Lynette. Oreo knew who would really give him a good home and chose to stay with your family. What a handsome cat he was. May time heal this sad loss for you all. Bless you dearest friends. Warm hugs and love, Jo

Jillsy Girl said...

Tears are streaming down my cheeks right now. Our pets bring us so much love and laughter. Here's a big hug ((0)) for you!

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

I am so sorry Lynette, what a great loss.

They come into our lives for such a short time, and leave such a large hole in our hearts.....

He was absolutely beautiful, and he knew for sure where he would be the best appreciated.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Pat Tillett said...

I'm so sorry for your lose. Our pets find a little place in our hearts that isn't available to humans. Your post got to me because we lost our big boy about a year ago. He was a stray who came to live with us for about 12 years.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry - I am crying now for your loss, as well as the memories this evoked of all of our own furry and feathered friends who shared their lives with us. Even when they're 'gone', they stay with you, they make such an impression.

foszae said...

a thorough and lovely eulogy for a fine gentleman

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Farewell, Oreo -- you were obviously a Cat of Great Determination. He clearly chose you as his Forever Home, knowing you would always do the best for him, as you had for his grandma kitty.

Fireblossom said...

Oh Lynette, I'm so sorry. Oreo is a beautiful boy! (I say "is" because i don't believe that they die, though their little bodies do). it is so terribly difficult to lose an animal family member. My heart goes out to you, truly. Thank you for sharing Oreo and his story with us. He sounds like quite the fellow indeed!

Katy Cameron said...

Aww, sorry to hear about Oreo's demise, he was obviously meant to be your cat, glad you could enjoy him for as long as you did (((((HUGS)))))

Simply Debbie said...

Dear Lynette,
I am crying for the sadness you feel over Oreo. What a beautiful tribute...he is purring and kneading his paws.
You should be a writer. I LOVE CATS so very much...2 dogs and 3 inside cats...all get a long and then we take care of Hobo, our outside feral cat that has adopted us.
I will remember Oreo every time I see a cat that looks like him.
It is so very sad to say good-bye to our pets when they are such an important part of our life. What joy they bring. I am sending you a big Angel Hug
Simply Debbie

Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

WHat a beautiful, heart earming story of htis amazing little being that went to a lot of trouble to be with you! And, it is quite evident how much you loved him..I am so sorry for the loss of this little love in your life. He was loved, well taken care of and like you said, his pain was short..he was a gift..gentle hugs to you and your family..

Deborah said...

I'm so sorry Lynette, they are so very important to us, it's unbearable when they leave. I'm sure he is snuggled up with Angel right now. Sending lots of love x

Mad Kane said...

So sorry Lynette. I know how painful losing a pet can be. Take care!
Mad Kane

Poets United said...

I so dread these moments. That Oreo was good on and a cute one.

Peace and Love from Poets United.

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...


I am so sorry to read this news about the sudden loss of your dear pet and friend Oreo.
I admire your bravery, through every word you have typed, in order to publish this sad news.
Lynette, I understand what Oero meant to you and your family and know that his sudden loss will be difficult for some time.
Thank you for sharing the photos of those happier times with him.
Best of thoughts for now Lynette,

QueenBe said...

Losing a member of the family is always so difficult. They are one of our kids....I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like Oreo had a great home, and was wise to keep returning to you.

T's Daily Treasures said...

It's just awful what people are capable of doing to animals. Poor Zoe just thrown out like that. But obviously she was meant to go home with you. And then Oreo -- so funny that he kept coming back. Meant to be! I know how you are feeling. I had a street cat come to me 14 months ago. I named her Sweet Kitty because she was so sweet. I could tell she had been owned by someone who threw her out. Although I couldn't take her in because of our indoor cat, I did feed her every day, pet her and last year a friend helped raise the 7 kittens she had -- they all were adopted. Every morning at 6 am and in the evening, Sweet Kitty would meow at the door, wanting her spoonful of canned food and handful of cat food. She showed up last week with blood coming from her mouth and couldn't eat. I wiped her down, cleaned her mouth, petted her and tried to do everything to help her but couldn't. And she was getting so thin because she couldn't eat. Our temps are 120 so you can imagine what would happen with no water intake. When I took her to the vet on Saturday, he said she needed to be put to sleep. Although it was the right thing to do, it was so hard and I was so upset that entire day. I still think I hear her in the mornings but then remember she is gone. Your Oreo was handsome and was lucky to have you. Best wishes and blessings, Tammy

Lilly Briar said...

I lost a black and white kitty not too long ago myself. We only had her for 4 years, and she came to us the same way your cats came to you ... she found us! Her name was Betsy, but before we knew her name we referred to her as Boots, Bootsy, or Miss Boots because of the boot-like pattern of the white and black fur. When we learned her name from her previous owners, she became Miss Betsy Boots.
Even though we now have another cat from the same owners - who came to us the same way - I still miss my sweet little Betsy. She was so loving and gentle and I will never forget her.

I'm very sorry for you loss.

Margaret said...

...he chose you for a very good reason! Yes, you will all be reunited - it wouldn't be heaven without them, now would it?!

adrielleroyale said...

I am so deeply sorry for your loss... It is so hard to lose such a good friend and family member. My heart goes out to you! :(

DeeDee said...

I am so sorry for your loss.. I recently lost my lil lucky... but know thier spirits live in with us... RIP precious Oreo

tarunima said...

im so sorry for your loss lynette...i know how it feels when we loose a pet,i lost my goldfishes sometime back and they were very dear to me..
But im sure oreo had a great home..
my best wishes with you!

Sioux said...

Lynette---I am so sorry for your loss. It is heart-wrenching when we lose a pet. They carve a spot out in our heart and when they're no longer around to cuddle with, a void is left.

I think wherever our dogs and cats go, the cats get to chase (and catch) all they birds and mice they want. Oreo is having a marvelous time right now, I'm sure.

Pat said...

Oh, this was so sad. You wrote a beautiful tribute to this gorgeous cat. I am so sorry for your loss.

We had a dog for 14 years, and I cried for 3 days after she died. But now we have had no pets for the past 15 years. Jerry won't have animals in the house and we do not have fenced property. :(

the wild magnolia said...

I love Oreo's story! You have my heartfelt sympathy! He is gorgeous.

Tins and Treasures said...

Good Morning, Lynette,
It has been a crazy summer here, and I am catching up with my good blog friends this morning...

My heart breaks for you, reading this story of how your Oreo came to be a part of your family and how suddenly he left you. Our furry friends are the most faithful friends, aren't they.

Take care ~Natalie