Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

The Zen of Cats

on April 26, 2022
(from Pinterest)

February 20, 2009: When our fourteen-year-old Siamese-calico cat was peeing on the rug and having occasional bowel movements in dark corners, my husband and I couldn’t wait until she died. Peace at last, we thought. No more litter boxes, no more cat whining, no more scrubbing the carpet. But as the time drew nearer, she seemed to sense that her days were winding down. She suddenly became very affectionate and wanted to sit on my lap for hours at a time. She wanted to be petted and cuddled and to stay near me all the time. She laid with my husband on the couch, hung out with him in the computer room, and slept on top of us at night, even in the heat of summer. But she was losing weight and going downhill fast. I held her in my lap and cried, finally realizing that we were going to lose her one of these days. In spite of her annoying, constant meowing and soiling the carpet, no matter what I did to stop it, I was going to miss her.

It all happened very fast. One day, she could barely walk, and she cried when she tried to stand up. She was sleeping more and more. I didn’t want to accept it, but we finally had to make a difficult decision.

We took her to the vet to have her put down. I held her in a towel in my arms, crying my eyes out. The vet was extremely busy, and it was obviously an inconvenient time for her, but she patiently explained the procedure, agreeing that it was probably the best thing to do. We stayed with our cat throughout the whole procedure, telling her how much we loved her. I hope she understood from the tone of our voices that we truly cared about her. I had lost my temper so many times when she soiled the carpet, I wanted to make sure she knew that we loved her, in spite of the problems between us.

Instead of earning our freedom from litter boxes and gaining peace of mind, we sat in front of the TV set listening for the cat. The house was just too darned quiet. Something had died inside of us, and life seemed very dull. We suddenly realized just how important she was and how much she had dominated our life for the last fourteen years.

After a couple of months, we happened to take our dog to the vet and fell in love with every cat and kitten we saw. Was it time to take the plunge and get another cat? We discussed it thoroughly and ran into the vet’s the next day to adopt an adorable tortoise shell kitten who was obviously the runt of the litter. She was in a cage with a larger black male kitten, and they were cuddled up together like the best of friends. We didn’t have the heart to part them, so we took both kittens.

Were we crazy? We started out with no cats and ended up with two kittens! After a few days, we were in love. How did we ever think we could live without a cat — let alone, two?

After a hard day at work, my favorite way to relieve stress is to curl up in the easy chair with one or two kittens on my lap. My stress just melts away.

Our cats are loving, sweet, funny, and unpredictable. They bring life into the house. And yes, we still have to clean out the litter box. But somehow, we don’t seem to mind so much.

April 26, 2022: After 12 years, we finally had to put our black cat down. He was dying of liver cancer. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. He was my baby, my special boy, my therapy cat. I thought I was going to die, it was so painful. Even though it’s been a year now, I still cry when I think of him. The interesting thing is that our little tortoise shell cat, who has been hell on wheels, has taken his place in so many ways! She now lets me cuddle her, something she never would allow before. We’ve grown very close. We also have an older cat who is attached to my husband. She always viewed me as competition for my husband’s affection. But, since my little black cat has been gone, she has become much more loving and friendly and sits near me in the computer room and watches me while I’m using the computer. She’s 16 years old, and I always thought she would be the first one to go. But life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect.

Dawn Pisturino, RN
February 20, 2009; April 26, 2022

Copyright 2009-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


29 responses to “The Zen of Cats

  1. Timothy Price says:

    It’s hard to live without cats. We don’t have them put down anymore. We do a kitty hospice. We had a cat dying from FIV and we asked the vet about putting him down, and the Vet said it’s better if he you let him die on his own terms. We did and the whole process was interesting. The kitty died a few months before my dad. My dad went through the same process as the cat when he died. I think the cat’s death helped prepare me to deal with my dad’s death. After that we comfort our kitties, accommodate their needs, give them pain meds if needed and let them die on their own terms.

    Liked by 2 people

    • When my black cat, Anubis, got sick, I could not let him go. I did hospice with him. I just felt like he needed me and that I needed to be there for him. I gave him pain medicine at home. It wasn’t until the very last day, when he was going to die anyways, that we took him to the vet and had him put down. A part of me felt guilty that I did not put him down sooner as he was so obviously suffering. But, I always felt that it was the right thing to do to go through the dying experience with him because we were so close. He was always more like a child to me than a cat because that’s how he behaved. I’m happy to know that other people are using hospice for their pets. Thanks, Timothy!

      Liked by 3 people

      • fgsjr2015 says:

        Oh, boy, I fear I’m about to lose my composure, something I do not take lightly nor dare commit in public. …

        Perhaps pet cats have a beneficial effect on the human psyche that most people still cannot fathom thus appreciate, a quality that makes losing that pet someday such an immense grief. My own cat’s qualities, especially his non-humanly innocence, would make losing him a great heart break, as were the losses of pet felines preceding him. (Quite frankly, at age 54, I’ve long found that along with human intelligence comes the seemingly proportional reprehensible potential for malice for malice’s sake.)

        Many people can appreciate the reciprocally healthy, perhaps even somewhat symbiotic, relationships that can exist between pet cats and their lovingly appreciative human owners/hosts, especially when the host lives with physical and/or mental ailments.

        Whenever I observe anxiety in the facial expression of my aging mother, I can also witness how that stress suddenly drains and is replaced with joyful adoration upon her cat entering the room. “Hi, sweetheart,” she’ll say. Countless other seniors, and non-seniors, with a cat(s) also experience its emotional benefits.

        I believe that, only when overpopulations of unwanted cats are greatly reduced in number by responsible owners consistently spaying/neutering their felines might these beautiful animals’ presence be truly appreciated. … Beautiful yet often misunderstood, prejudged and unjustly despised animals, cats are.

        Liked by 2 people

      • What a beautiful expression of love! Thank you for your comment!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I understand what you feel. I had two cats in my life. Squeaky lived to be about 20-21 years. We were never sure. He was a farm “kitten” when we got him–a large male cat, beautiful but “knew” his mind. A few years after the vet put down Squeaky (who was sick and suffering), we took in another cat. She was Mimi. We took her in at about 6 years old. She was a much smaller cat and a little sassy. Both were extremely wonderful and very different from each other. Unfortunately, Mimi had cancer, and we needed to put her down when she was about 12 years old. Neither cat would take any meds. No matter how I tried over the years, they just refused. So, it seemed best not to let them suffer. I know it was best for both of the cats, but it still hurt. I think every situation is different–every owner and every pet are different. Owners need to make whatever is the best decision for them and their pets. I haven’t gotten another cat yet. They were family and it hurts to loss “family” even if they are furry ones. But it is so nice that you have been able to provide a home and love to your pets.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know what you mean, Diana. It does hurt. And I don’t know if we will get anymore cats after the ones we have are gone. Things are so much more expensive now. But, if I saw a cat that needed a home, I would probably take it home. One just never knows what will happen! Have a great day, Diana!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this post!!❤️💜❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. utahan15 says:

    we lost our pure bred wire fox last july. so we bought a weather vane with a wire fox. the loss left a hole in our lives. excellent post.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. So beautiful….so relatable.. I love my kitties and they play such important roles in my life… I also bought two kittens from the same litter, to replace my beloved Himalayan who was killed by pitbulls, the one and only time, he escaped from the house…then last year, rescued one out of a litter of four who were also killed… I have not yet had the experience to have to put them down..and with luck…I will go first!! I think that would be the hardest thing to do…sighs…your post made me look for each one and give him a long pet and coo…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. If we could only develop this kind of love and affection for all our domesticated animals and stopped eating them, it might lead to our ultimate stress relive.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Iowa Life says:

    They know they’re saying goodbye. Dammit.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. balladeer says:

    I understand this kind of heartbreak. I’ve been a dog person all my life and the pain when they leave us behind is so terrible.

    Liked by 3 people

    • fgsjr2015 says:

      I believe that ASD people, like myself, prefer cat company over that of dogs because cats are silky soft to touch (relevant to ASD hypersensitivity) and they’re generally more mellow and slow motioned, thus less sensorily overwhelming.

      Obviously I’m a cat person; however, it’s a dog’s (generally speaking) exceptional devotion to its master that makes me exceptionally intolerant towards its abusive master, especially with the dog’s sad, bewildered expression.

      Liked by 3 people

      • balladeer says:

        I know what you mean! We usually rescue dogs from the pound and some of them are so skittish when we first get them because their previous caretakers treated them badly. Before long they open up and become playful and trusting.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Absolutely heart-wrenching.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dawn – your openness to life and all of its offerings is inspirational. You’re so tough to get hurt and risk the wounds over and over again. I wish you many more heartwarming moments with your beloved cats. ❤️I know they are amazing – and so are you!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Sorry for your loss. Many years ago a cat of mine became very ill. I took her to the vet and since the cat had diabetes he felt that it was the end of the road. I couldn’t stay in that room. My son did. I feel so bad about not being there when Rascal passed away. At the time, I just couldn’t do it. Maybe if I had had some warning, which would have given me time to accept it, things would have been different. That was over 20 years ago and I still miss that cat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hard, Cheryl! Don’t feel bad. Rascal knew you loved him/her, and that’s all that matters. Your cat will always live there in your heart Have a blessed day. Happy Mother’s Day!

      Like

  11. sharonstjoan says:

    Cats are very magical beings.

    Liked by 1 person

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