Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Carol the Cat

Carol the Cat relaxing at one of her resort properties
(MSNBC undated file photo)
April 15, 1997-March 16, 2010

Carol the Cat passed away today, a victim of two incompatible diseases common amongst cats - hyperthyroidism and kidney failure. Treating one would often result in the other becoming more pronounced and this tug-of-war just wreaked havoc on her frail, aging body.

Carol led a long and varied life. Despite being one of the few EGOT winners, this was not well known beyond the small circle of friends she chose to associate with. She was very modest, keeping her awards at the back of her cat carrier, except for the Oscar which had to be repeatedly fished out of the cat box. Carol seemed to agree with the common prevailing thought that her award for 2004's "Metro Now" was simply a career achievement award after 2003's upset for in which her much more critically acclaimed turn in "The Almighty Sand Dollar." went unrecognized.  Carol would also gain fame for her critically acclaimed screenplay "Bonus Ares" which was on track to become a major motion picture before the untimely failed merger of AOL and Time Warner saw many green-lit projects canceled.

Carol displayed a penchant for seizing opportunities from a very early age but learned quickly how difficult it was working in a human-based financial world after seeing her "Jingle Cats" idea stolen after it was ruled that cats can't hold copyrights. Vowing never again to make that mistake, Carol retained the firm of Litigis, Mao, Clauw and Payne to handle all of her financial transactions for the rest of her life and began operating under the nom-de-plume "Jerome Furripants." Carol would ultimately release four albums that all went platinum.

Carol quickly turned the royalties into a vast real estate empire stretching from Los Angeles to Tokyo to St. Petersburg as well as ownership stakes in three major midwest sports teams, though she had no interest in sports herself.

Carol also developed an politics late in life, however, it was to become a dream unrealized. In an unprecedented turn of events, Carol found herself thrust into the limelight along with 500 other candidates for a special election for governor of the state of California. However, a statement on her blog declaring "Unions protect the lazy. Abolish unions and get back to work!" written in frustration during the recent writer's strike would prove to be her downfall.

Carol fled the state in disgrace seeking the colder climes of Washington state. Carol traveled to the new state accompanied by her associates Morticia, Cash, Tinsel and Barkley along with a group of humans. Morticia and Tinsel unfortunately passed away of kidney failure and hyperthyroidism, respectively. And Barkley the dog would also soon part ways for a new home.

A few years ago, Carol was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism which led her to drop from 13 pounds to 4 before she was diagnosed and began Tapazole treatment (a pill forced down her throat twice daily). She regained several pounds and was again healthy until January when she began to again show signs of marked weight loss. This time, the diagnosis was elevated kidney levels. It was time for a new lower protein diet.

It also meant that she and Cash could only fed when they could be separated. So she would have to eat twice a day, locked in the laundry room. Especially in the beginning when she had trouble adjusting to the diet and threw up regularly. She seemed healthier for a little while but then began to lose weight again. By the weekend it was completely obvious things were going south and that she wasn't eating and yesterday I took some time off in the middle of the day to go home and collect Carol and take her to the vet for another examination. They did blood work and we took her home. She was obviously having trouble walking. Over the past few days, I was sure that we were nearing the end so I had spent a little more time with her, but it's hard to know if she was in a lot of pain or not.

This morning, it was obvious that we were incredibly close to the end. She was really unable to walk and at one point trying to walk on a pile of laundry, she fell over on her side and wet herself. It was very sad. I was pretty sure today was the day.

They called right away this morning with the news -- the kidneys were much worse. If we wanted, we could be taught how to inject fluid under her skin, but that would only buy us a few months, probably. There was also a more costly option, but there was no guarantee it would work. Or, it might be best just to "put her to sleep." That is a horrible lie we tell ourselves, calling it that.

But the options they outlined would have been for us, not for her. So after picking up Rachel from school, she brought the kids and met me at the clinic and, well, that was it. It wasn't quite as simple - they had trouble finding a vein, even tried shaving one of her legs before deciding even that wasn't going to work and bringing in a second person to help while they used a different vein lower on her body. She fought it, but it was obvious it was simply the situation she was fighting. This wasn't a disease or an injury she was going to bounce back from, her body was simply giving up.

So I held her head in my hands and talked softly to her at the end. We had made the unfortunate mistake of giving the kids food just before because they were both getting anxious so it was a little disappointed that Rachel was distracted because she had wanted to witness it, but she missed it.

Carol did go pretty quickly once they were successful in inserting into a vein. I told her that I didn't know if I'd see her again, but that I loved her and that she'd soon be free of the pain. And then she was gone. I just wish pets would close their eyes as they died as a final sign of release.

Carol the cat was named after the Youth Director at our church when I was in high school - a wonderful person who had a big influence on my life in those years and a lasting impact on my life ever since.