On January 4, I lost Sir Groucho. He was lovable, feisty, and playful right up to the end, and he was still able to beat me up the stairs. He was somewhere between 19–21 years old. As a rescue, I didn’t know his true age. I do know that he was my companion for the past 12 years.
What did him in was a large tumor on his heart. For the last couple of months, he had been doing a lot of gagging—trying to cough up something. With his history of hairballs, I thought that was the problem. When I took him in for his yearly checkup on October 29, he was doing the gagging a couple of times a day and had developed a moderate heart murmur. And this cat that had always weighed between 9 and 10 pounds, had dropped to just under eight pounds. From time to time, he did cough up a hairball.
I had no idea, I would lose him on January 4 when I took him in. He had an appointment to see what kind of anesthesia to use when he had his teeth cleaned later in the month. But when I told Dr. Barstow he was doing the gagging several times each day and nothing was coming up, she wanted to do a radiogram to see if something was causing the problem. That’s when the tumor was found. She also noted that his heart murmur had greatly worsened, and he had dropped to 61/2 pounds. She told me he wouldn’t get better––only worse––and that his time was very limited. So, we made the decision to euthanize him that day.
As I write this, it’s been a week and a day, and I’m still in shock. I keep expecting to see him and to hear him throughout the day. Losing a pet, is like losing a member of the family.
I miss his presence; wherever I was, he would find me and stick nearby. I miss his conversations with me. Even when he lost his hearing this past year, he continued to voice his opinion. I miss him sitting on my lap whenever I was at the computer. I miss his visits to cuddle during the night. He was the most lovable cat I ever had.
Now that he is gone, I don’t miss picking up the pieces of litter from his litter box that got trailed around the house because of his furry paws, and I don’t miss cleaning out the litter box every morning and evening.
I can now close doors. Before, he would scratch at any closed door, until it opened. I can now sleep in, if I want to. Before, he would start meowing somewhere between 5 and 6 o’clock most mornings. I can now sit down and read a book. Before, he would climb into my lap and rub his head against any book, making it hard to read.
But I would gladly put up with these petty annoyances to have Sir Groucho back. He was such a major part of my life. I miss him so.
Note: My June 2020 blog post is a photo essay of Sir Groucho with many of my favorite photos of him. And my book, Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known includes a chapter about my early years with Sir Groucho––“Black and White Yet Colorful All Over.”