The Catsket

Shortly after Dad died, i encouraged Mom to get a cat for company.  A friend of mine had a cat that dropped an unexpected litter so we stopped by and Mom found “Ladybug”.  At first, the cat was sweet and playful, but Mom didn’t like the biting.  She used the “spray bottle full of water” technique to discourage the cat from chewing on her.  It sort of worked, but the end result was that the cat got a little bit nasty.

Mom loved Ladybug, and although the cat made sport of hissing at the rest of us, biting our ankles, and generally making visits unpleasant, she was good company.  When Mom moved in with my niece last summer, the cat had to stay alone in the old house, due to fears that Ladybug would bite the baby, or scuff it up amongst the numerous animals in their existing menagerie.

Ladybug got even more snarly.  Mom loved her, and continued to visit when she could.  Last winter, my niece gave into Mom’s demands to bring the cat with her, and Ladybug was assimilated into the new environment.  Even just a touch nastier than before, but Mom was happy with Ladybug curled up beside her in the bed in the living room.

When i visited last week, it was obvious that Ladybug wasn’t doing well.  She’d been a fat cat, but had become a bag of bones over the past two months.  Mom was trying to fatten her up, but no luck.  When she stopped drinking water, Mom finally got my niece to take her to the vet*. 

This past Tuesday afternoon, i got a text from my niece. “Ladybug will need to be put down”.  Asking if it was kidneys, my niece affirmed the dreaded diagnosis, assuring that it’s all over but the hissing.  i asked how Mom was taking it, and my niece immediately texted back “Not well.  Can you call?”

It was very sweet of my niece to reach out for help, and as soon as i could abandon the work project of the moment, i called Mom.  She was obviously distraught. 

daisyfae:  DQ told me that Ladybug is in bad shape.  What’s going on?

Mom:  The vet said her kidneys are failing, and he recommended we put her to sleep.

daisyfae:  Ouch.  That’s pretty sad – she was just getting used to living with you again.  When are you going to do it?

Mom:  I don’t know.  I’m not ready yet.

daisyfae:  Is the cat suffering?  You don’t want her to be in pain…

Mom:  I don’t think so.  She doesn’t want me to touch her though. She’s not even feeling well enough to hiss at anybody.  I might be ready later this week…

daisyfae [flashbacks to conversations when Dad was on life support]:  But the vet said there’s no way she’ll get better.  It would be horrible if she has to suffer unnecessarily.

Mom:  I just don’t want to do anything too soon…

daisyfae [now having SERIOUS flashbacks to the interminable days before Mom signed the “do not resuscitate” order for Dad after he was full of tubes, in a coma, suffering complete multiple organ failure]:  It’s your call…

In the meantime, my niece, DQ, who has so thoughtfully reached out to get more support for Mom, decided that this would be a perfectly grand time to run the vacuum cleaner in the living room – where Mom was attempting to talk to me on the phone.  Through the noise, Mom finally agreed that she’d need to do it soon, but repeated that she wasn’t ready to let go yet.   Offering moral support, hugs and love, i told her i’d give a call later…

That was Tuesday afternoon.  On Wednesday afternoon, i received the following two pictures from my niece via text message.

Realizing what this was when the second photo arrived, i wrote her back asking if Ladybug had been put to sleep yet. 

DQ:  No.  BJ’s taking her to the vet now.  He worked on this all night long.

On the one hand? It was a beautiful and sweet gesture by BJ.  Clearly, it was meant to help Mom work through the impending loss of her cat, and perhaps even helped speed up her decision calculus, sparing the cat unnecessary suffering.

On the other hand?  BJ has been unable to find the time to continue renovations on Mom’s house, which is why she is still living on a bed in their living room.  He can spend 24 hours making a casket for a cat?


Such is the paradox of The Trailer Park… and an example of why i can’t completely give up on them.  Sometimes all i can do is shake my head. 


* The cat.  Took the cat to the vet….  U.S. health care is bad, but not quite that bad.  Yet.  Although it would have been far less expensive if i’d gotten myself spayed instead of doing that tubal ligation procedure.

24 thoughts on “The Catsket

  1. BJ, is often misguided, but his heart really does seem to be in the right place. What an incredibly sweet thing to do for your Mom (and poor Ladybug).

  2. My cat was cremated, which was for the best as there wasn’t much left of her by the end (kidneys got her too after 20 years). She’s in a little box with a photo of her on top of it, situated on the shelf under the TV.

    Tell BJ the renovated house is going to be a kitty tomb, where all cats can be laid to rest. Tell him make it into a pyramid so it can be like it was back in Egypt when cats were considered gods.

  3. I wanted to visit, and I don’t know all the back stories, and is it really callous and horrible of me to want to laugh at the Princess Lady Bug box. Your poor mom. But BJ building this box covered with cute designs for a dead cat… Just shoot me.

    You’re probably not going to let me visit anymore, huh?

  4. Why does every post with DQ in it end up pissing me off?

    I had two Siamese cats for 14 years that I had to put to sleep. It was kind of rough.

    People told me that Siamese were the “gay” cat. Later, I bought a Subaru which I found out was the “gay” car.

    Can the gay community please put out a newsletter so I know what you’ve laid claim to?

    I’m sorry…what was the question?

  5. Ah, the paradox! So wonderfully put. Its like me utterly seething at my Dad the other day for guilt tripping me into picking my sister up from the airport, who then insisted that I get her from a No Parking zone that subsequently saw me getting fined for 130 bucks, which my Dad then insisted that I for pay myself and not tell my sister because ‘things are hard for her at the moment’ – and then totally melting as I watched him, like a fish out of water, i.e typical man in the kitchen, lovingly research, shop for, and prepare a lovely seafood dinner for us with loads of thought and attention….Damn that you cant get the complete package, but good to appreciate the good bits in the one you got I guess….

  6. That’s very posh. All the animals that we’ve seen from frolix to bollixed have just been wrapped in a sheet and then planted under a tree ……. with the exception of goldfish of course ….. they get flushed ……

  7. Good heavens. My beloved cats were always sewn into a silk (yes, real silk) shroud along with appropriate offerings and buried sans casket. A very nice box, indeed — I like the rainbow very much.

    Yes, people can be real boxes of contradictions!

  8. jenny – BJ is a good human. Here i was, happily trying to get my “Fuck all, y’all” thing goin’ on, and both BJ and DQ flash me with glimpses of good heartedness. Damn it.

    renalfailure – you know, i just assumed they’ll be burying the cat. maybe mom is planning to keep the box next to her in bed for awhile? yeaaaaargh!

    robin – oh no, laughing at trailer park antics is how i survive! yes, this big, burly, gun-totin’, bambi-killin’ manly man crafted a rainbow kitty box for a not-quite-dead-yet cat. if that’s not hysterically funny – and sweet at the same time – then you’re not paying attention! You are quite welcome to visit me here. next time? bring cookies, ok?

    nursemyra – oh, i thought you were coming back with me next time! robin can visit too, but she’ll have to sleep in the maids quarters!

    unbearable banishment – There is a gay car list. It’s here. And it’s pretty funny…. So long as you don’t take up with a ‘purse dog’, i think you’re safe.

    ruby – learning to meet my family ‘where they are’ and ‘as they are’ is the goal. i’d have been completely flummoxed in your situation with your dad. but i know the feeling quite well…

    DP – did you know that you can flush a hamster down the toilet? yep. “Burial at Sea” is not just reserved for the fishies in the Trailer Park environment. Guinea pigs, however, will cost you a visit from a plumber.

    kyknoord – Of course! Complete with a drive-up window for refreshments when visitors stop by….

    HMH – i think the silk is somehow more ecological. the thought of some kid in the neighborhood later digging up the cat box makes me cringe… or the poor dudes putting in water lines, thinking they’ve found buried treasure! it really was quite thoughtful, and while i’m going to maintain my ‘not my fucking problem’ position with them all, my heart is just a teeny-tiny bit less crusty this week…

  9. You know i pretty much blocked out all the other shit in this post and focused on the dead cat don’t you? Got misty eyed too. Cats are the best friends i’ve ever had. I like them infinitely more than people. Au revoir Ladybug. You will be missed.

  10. It is weird that the people who irritate us the most by being lazy and unmotivated most of the time, have a way of doing the sweetest kindest things that make us shake our heads in wonder.

  11. Having had to make that “final” decision for way too many pets in the last 34 years, I can somewhat sympathize with your mom. However, I agree with you about not allowing unnecessary suffering.

    While viewing the photos, I had a flashback to an old “Mama’s Family” episode where Iola Boylan’s nasty cat Midnight has died and she gets it freeze-dried. Now, there’s another option!

  12. Life doesn’t make sense, does it. Poor old hopeless BJ. At least he did the right thing here.

    My dog was 18 years old and covered with her own waste every morning, but it took my sister to ring the vet and tell her it was time. I knew it – but I was in shameful denial. I was thinking of myself instead of my best friend.

    But don’t be too hard on your mum – everyone’s Mum’s a psycho, didn’t you know?

  13. kono – for mom, the cat was perfect. although the cat was bitter and pretty nasty, she was a good fit for mom. i’m already talking to her about ‘when she’s ready’, and ‘maybe when she moves back into her house’ that she can get another cat. always seems the only thing that gets you past a lost pet….

    stephanie – i was afraid it was going to drag out for a week or more, but mom made the call… she’s still very bummed…

    writerdood – i wondered the same thing. there has to be a market for it. suspect it won’t pay well, though. if BJ had skills as a taxidermist, rather than carpenter, i suspect there’d be a stuffed cat in mom’s bed…

    hisqueen – BJ isn’t lazy, just has issues with focus sometimes. guy works his butt off. but the priorities are always a bit random. he had lots of time to spend at the demolition derby again this year. (sigh)

    tNb – i like that “Priority Challenged”. heart is good. brain? just the occasional misfire…

    texastrailerparktrash – i’m surprised that the ‘freeze dried’ option didn’t come up. or maybe it did and was rejected due to lack of equipment?

    dolce – yes. welcome to my world. where “heart-warming” meets “fucking freaky”.

    blaiser – should be a profession, shouldn’t it?

    queenwilly – what? do you mean to tell me that i’m not the only one with mother issues? 😀

    anonymum – may Ladybug rest in peace. and the rest of us can now walk through the place without getting my feet bitten…

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