After our initial cat (the original DataTater) died, we went about a year cat-less. It was horrible – well, more so for me than from Mr Tater. He’s allergic, you see, so for him it was a year of being able to breathe. But eventually, the cat-free atmosphere got to be too much and we were rescued by (is that too precious?) two little lads from the shelter. The plan going in was to get an orange and an other – so I scanned the room full of soon-to-be-destroyed babies and wanted to take then ALL! SUCH a horrible Sophie’s choice moment – but there was only one orange one in the bunch.
I should have known there was something wrong right from the start. Instead of staring at me and howling for attention, as everyone else was doing, (one little grey tabby in particular, more about him later), the orange one, who was scheduled to be called Eggnog, was just curled into himself, huddled in a corner. I should have read the signs and just left him there. To die. Like I left all the others to die. Sigh. Horrible. Anyway, I snatched him up – limp and ignoring me, no eye contact, no purring – and put him in a carrier, then went back to the LOUDEST most insistent little fellow with a very long tail. He was shouting his head off and I had to take him. He became Ned for reasons that are lost in the mists of time.
Home they came, and to the vet they went for shots and neutering and general health checkups. Oh my. The vet said she had never seen sicker kittens. They were way too sick to neuter right then, she wanted to try to get them healthy first. Eggnog weighed 2.5 lbs when we got him, and Ned 3. They had fleas, ringworm, a bunch of infections, fleas, Ned only had hair on 1/2 his tail (a condition known as rat tail), and of course, fleas. We went through a LOT with those babies.
Three months later Eggnog weighed 6.7 lbs and Ned almost 8! That was when the vet told us that when we first brought them in she didn’t think they would survive a month. We were parents of the year in her book. We had two beautiful healthy kittens, AND Ned’s tail grew all its hair back! No amputation needed – which is what usually happens. Eww, ick and eww again.
Anyway – this was supposed to be about Eggroll – oh – about that name. He was Eggnog, because of his pale orange color, but then in the early stages of exploring the house, his preferred method of coming down stairs was to let each leg go at its own pace which inevitably ended up with him in a ball, rolling down the last couple of steps. EggROLL it was, from then on.
ANYway… he never really stopped being that curled-in-the-corner outsider. He would let us pet him, he would even be affectionate sometimes, on his own schedule of course, usually at 3 am, but he never was a cuddler. Which is fine, he was a handsome addition to any home, and we were happy to have him. He and Ned didn’t get along very well, but they mostly stayed out of each other’s way, with the occasional midnight screamfests. They grew into big healthy boys and life was pretty good. Until Eggroll started peeing.
All the time.
The house was his litterbox. Which I kept clean, by the way. There were THREE boxes, per customary wisdom, which says they should be like teabags in a pot – one for each user and one additional. We moved the boxes around. We tried different litters. We took him to the vet of course, right away, to rule out bladder/UTI issues. Nope – clean bill of health. He still USED the boxes, we saw him do it. We also saw him walk right up to the TV, turn his back on it, give a full-body quiver and unleash a hell-brew of noxious spew. It REEKED.
The HOUSE reeked. It was painful to come into. It was in every corner and on every flat surface (except the beds, thankfully – he never sullied the beds). We scrubbed and washed and scraped. We tried no-pee-here sprays – both organically natural and toxically chemical. We tried aroma-therapy hormonally-infested plug-ins EVERYWHERE (and man oh man, are THOSE expensive!). We tried talking to him. We tried snatching him up and heaving him out the door in mid-spray – THAT was unpleasant for everyone, and the experiment was not repeated.
Two things we did not do were: 1. try to make him an outdoor cat. He was terrified of thunder, deer, wind, garbage trucks, and bicycles. It would have been beyond cruel to make him stay outside for the rest of his life. Which since we’d made him so healthy would have been long. And 2. give him to someone else. Who would want a cat who peed on EVERYTHING? We talked with our vet on a weekly basis it seemed, we tried everything she and the internet could suggest.
Nothing was working. we just kept scrubbing up after him and making excuses for over a year. It was ruining all our lives. Mr Tater and I were arguing a lot, Ned was changing, becoming more withdrawn, Eggroll was a tyrant and as much as we loved him, we couldn’t put up with it any more. Finally after months of putting it off and debating and fighting and crying, we made a very difficult decision and had him put down.
Oh no, don’t sugar-coat it, we paid to have him murdered. It wasn’t something we went into lightly, it was difficult and painful, but it was well past due. And “he’s in a better place”. Whatever that means.
We miss him, when we only remember the occasions when he was adorable and sweet. We don’t miss the peeing. And we’re happy to have our outgoing, carefree Ned back – he’s like a different cat now that he’s the ONLY cat.
Eggroll, 2008-2014 RIP
Written as part of the April 2015 A to Z Challenge.