The world will lose a fine Packer fan on Monday. More importantly, I will lose my friend.
I found my cat Mosaic in 1997. Naturally, she became a Packer fan at the same time. She was my first real pet as an adult. Mosaic was abandoned in the snow at what couldn’t have been more than 3-weeks-old. She literally fit in the palm of my hand with plenty of room to spare. As a single male in my early twenties I don’t know why I thought I needed, or even had to basic skills to care for anyone let alone myself. But, I took her home anyway.
I had to bottle feed her for several weeks. I bought a little bottle, and would go to store and pick up the “cat safe” milk and she would proceed to sit in my hand and suck that swill down with reckless abandon. With a fighting spirit the likes I have never seen, she eventually came around and has been a fixture at every single Packer game in every one of my living rooms ever since.
The odds were always stacked against her. She never grew very big, has had numerous surgeries and infections, and now is completely blind and mostly deaf. She recently decided that a trip to the litter box is no longer an option. Although she gets around, and maybe on the surface seems okay, she is most certainly just a shade of her former self. Her days are filled with confusion, darkness, and most importantly fear. She can’t grasp what is going on around her and it’s absolutely crushing me. The cat that used to play paper wad soccer like a feline Pele now does little more than slowly search for a ray of warm sunshine through the nearest crack in the blind.
There are very few mammals that have always been there for me. Mosaic is one of them. The unconditional love and affection (to the point of ridiculousness) has been a constant in my life for nearly 14 years. That in mind, it’s no surprise that no one else likes her. And if you asked Mosaic, the feeling is mutual. She’s like the Rudy of cats. I’ve watched her take down huge dogs, other cats, vets, friends, and numerous other creatures of the night. You can’t get near her without a risk of personal harm, or at the very least moderate blood letting. Unless, for some reason, you are me. The little beast always turns little beauty when I enter the room.
Perhaps it’s our common bond in fighting through the naysayers and proving wrong those that said we could never do it. Perhaps it is our affection of in-affection that has allowed us to share something so out of character. Who knows? I guess we just don’t like a lot of people, but we’ve always loved each other.
I am so mad at god-buddha-spirits-allah-kool-aid-guy today. I thought that the man in charge was supposed to decide these things? If that is indeed the case, why did he pawn the job off on me? Why is it my responsibility to decide the quality of life for something I love? This is my friend, and I hate you for making me have to make this decision. But, it’s not fair to watch her suffer or for her to bear the burden of the resentment that could follow.
I am riddled with guilt. Was I a good owner? Did I do everything in my power to give her the best life? The honest answer is probably not. She never got the best care money could buy, and we often had to scrape by with the bare essentials and minimum veterinary visits in lieu of her numerous hospitalizations. She almost died several times, and her kidney’s actually shut down once for a whole day. We stayed up all night with her on her death bed, but for some reason she came around the next morning. The story of her life. Like I said, Rudy.
I’ll miss her this season, and I give her credit. She has been the brunt of many pictures in Packer garb, and has quietly put up with my yelling, screaming, and cheering whenever the Packers take the field. She has been the definition of Packer fan, never once complaining about the organization. She has also dined on the remains of some of the finest Packer game day meals you will ever see flow through the fine state of Wisconsin. She was there for me when we won, and most importantly was there for me when we lost.
Yet, more than anything this cat has taught me some of the finest lessons of life. She taught lessons on what it means to have a will, what it means to be responsible, and what it mean to be in control of another life. Studies in patience, lessons in sacrifice, and proverbs on unconditional kindness have resounded in her lecture halls. However, her greatest gift will always be showing me how fragile and precious life actually is.
I hope I can give her a great day this Sunday. I hope I am able to enjoy it and put aside the burden of the Monday and cherish the final moments we will have together. Two Packer fans, on the couch, watching sports, like we have for years previously. Two friends spending a final day reminiscing on a lifetime.
I’ll miss you baby.
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