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Sebastian: September 2002 - February 2004 - Salvador Dali in a lawn chair.
I'm invisible without 3D glasses.
Sebastian: September 2002 - February 2004
Sebastian died last night.

Wednesday night he started sneezing, repeatedly, but I didn't think anything of it since he's always been a bit sneezy. Nothing abnormal happened afterwards. Thursday night he didn't eat anything, was acting really lethargic and the membranes around his eyes had started to swell up, kinda like how cats do when they have a bad head cold. It was after hours so I resolved to take him to the vet in the morning.

That night, he was so weak he didn't even sleep in the bed, just on the floor on a blanket as close to me as possible. I took him in to the vet Friday morning as soon as it opened. He was so weak he could only put his front paws in the litter box instead of crawling all the way in.

When the vet finally arrived at the animal clinic, he thought Sebastian might have a genetic heart defect called cardio myopathy (in which the muscles of the heart are overly large, compressing and limiting the size of the heart chambers) but needed an echo cardiogram to confirm it. He could have started treatment immediately, but we wanted to be sure that that was the problem. Had it been cardio myopathy, he would have led a very restricted life and a shorter one than normal even if he had responded to the medication.

The closest place that could perform the test was Memphis, so I took him up to get it done. I was afraid he wouldn't even live long enough to make it to Memphis. I watched him deteriorate so fast, like he was dying in front of me, weakening to the point that he couldn't even stand, his back legs flailing to push himself up again. He mostly slept in during the trip, but I kept checking him every minute to so to see that he was even still breathing so that I didn't pull up in Memphis and hand them a dead cat to scan. It was the worst car trip in my life. I kept the carrier on the front seat with the door open, one hand touching him the whole way.

He perked up a little when we got to the clinic in Memphis. The test showed that there was nothing at all wrong with his heart, which ruled out cardio myopathy. So I went straight back to the vet here and he figured that Sebastian probably had a pulmonary embolism, which had formed in the heart and lodged in his lungs. He was having severe trouble breathing, even open mouth breathing. Back at the Oxford vet, Sebastian seemed to have improved, if not greatly, at least some. He was walking a few steps at a time. The doctor kept him overnight to observe him and give him some more laesics (sp?) to help with the fluid on his lungs.

But when I was getting ready to go in and see him this morning about eight, the doctor called and said he'd passed in the night, sometime after 2AM which was the last time a nurse came in to check on him and give me more laesics. He had been a little sick when I first got him from the shelter, but other than the occasional sniffles, he was never really sick again. He got sick, faded, and died all within the span of twenty-four hours. What makes it worse is that he died all alone, in a scary place with strange smells, when he could have been here with me and zordac and Izzy. I would have slept with him, on the floor, or pet him until he stopped breathing.

We buried him at Jimmy's parents' house in Fulton at 10:45 AM. He was one and a half years old. The vet had wrapped him in a garbage bag and a scrub coat.

I couldn't bury him without holding him and seeing him at least once more, so I unwrapped him and tore a small hole in the bag near his head. I kissed his face and rubbed his nose and ears. He was already a little stiff, but he still looked like himself, or at least the himself that was near-death when I'd seen him the night before.

Even after I wrapped Sebastian back up, I couldn't stop petting him, his elongated, muted shape. We buried him at the back-left corner of the house, under some small trees and vines, next to two of Betty's (zordac's mother) cats, Sugar and Brownie.

I put the long plastic stick from the cat-fishing pole that was the first toy we got for him and Isabelle. It used to stick with a suction-cup to the coffee table and dangle a little plush fly and bell. Even when he was too big to play with it normally, he'd eat the string and bat the fly pieces around the house.

I also put in:
- an old green Coca-Cola bottle cap that he had played with since about the time we got him
- a package of catnip toys that Brooke bought him yesterday
- a little red faux mouse he loved to play fetch with
- a bundle of Q-tips bound together with a twist tie which he used to steal from under the bathroom sink or the trash cans and drag around the house or bat around the bed when you were sleeping and lose them in the covers to be found again at the end of the day when you crawled back in to sleep
- a sleeve from the plaid polo button-down shirt that my daddy gave me in junior high. I didn't add this because Sebastian liked it but because it was a piece of me, a piece of my life that I loved, just like Sebastian.
- a handful of McDonald's french fries. He was the only cat I've known that liked to eat them, but not, of course, before he toyed with them.

I brought along the last remaining piece of the catfishing lure/fly that went with the plastic stick above, nothing more than a few twists of plushy wine-colored fabric that was still crusty from his saliva or frequent dunks in the water bowl. I meant to add it to the hole with him, but it remained hidden in the toybag until after the grave was covered, perhaps a sign that I should keep it with me, to remind me of him, not that I need any reminding at his point. I put it in my pocket.

zordac dug the hole, which Sebastian was almost too big for (I remarked that he was such a big boy without even thinking) and covered it with a sheet of metal and a tire to keep him safe until the ground settled around him. It helped a little, to put him in the ground, like it gave it an element of finality, conclusion, so I could grieve yet see an end to my grief, someday.

He wasn't very old, but I loved him like he was my child. I don't think I will ever know another cat as perfectly humored, loving, affectionate, talkative, trusting, playful, loud-purring, constantly-ready for attention or holding or food-begging. He was never in a foul-mood, never angry, and slept with his tongue sticking out on occasion. You could roll him around like a ball and rub your face in his belly and twirl your finger in his tail, which was striped like a raccoon's and as long as the rest of his body. He loved to ride on shoulders when he was little, and he was always nearby, if not right next to me, every moment I was in the house, which was often since I was rarely gone. Everyone who met him knows how wonderful, remarkable, perfect he was.

And I can't stop crying because I miss him desperately. I worry about Isabelle, because she's never been away from him. I adopted them together; they were in the same cage. I also worry about myself and my ability to handle grief. What's to happen if I lose a person I'm close to? He's brought so much happiness into my life, and I've made my life better since he came into it.

Goodbye, Sebastian, my buddy-buddy. I love you so much I don't want to let you go.

"There are no mistakes in love..."


Christmas 2002:

In the office, where he often slept on the monitors or between our two keyboards:

Asleep on his favorite puff-ball with Izzy:

Christmas 2003 with their new water fountain from my mother:

Chilling watching television in one of his normal poses:

One of the last pictures I took of him, watching an enormous flock of blackbirds outside:

mood: listless listless
music: Lionel Richie - "Hello" and Simon & Garfunkel "Bookends"

12 Voices in a Chorus | Lift Your Voice Aloft
halation From: halation Date: February 28th, 2004 04:52 pm (UTC) (link)
oh my gosh
i am so sorry to read about this
i know what you mean about the way it is to love a cat
i have a 13yearold calico who i love so incredibly much
i cannot imagine what it would be like to lose her
and i want you to know my heart went out to you as i read this post
i hope you're taking good care of yourself
rest peacefully, sebastian
maxine From: maxine Date: February 28th, 2004 06:27 pm (UTC) (link)
oh my gosh! i dont think that i could stand to go through something like that. you get so close, and in our way they are like our actual children. i hope you are ok, our thoughts are with you, and if you need someone to talk to about anything we are here for you.

From: gothicbeauty21 Date: February 28th, 2004 07:27 pm (UTC) (link)
I'm so sorry, hon. He was a beautiful boy, I remember when you adopted him. He looks so much like my Ozzi.

It never gets easier to deal with, but at least you have a grave you can visit him at. It makes it easier, when you can still go and talk to them.

lilwashu From: lilwashu Date: February 28th, 2004 10:14 pm (UTC) (link)
im so sorry sweetie.
i know thats a terrible thing to go through.
its been a few years now but i still miss my cocker chucky.
if you need anything let me know ok?
and im also sorry that you dont know what happened to him...that makes it even harder to understand.

havoknkaos From: havoknkaos Date: February 29th, 2004 12:15 am (UTC) (link)
catgoddess From: catgoddess Date: February 29th, 2004 07:49 am (UTC) (link)
I'm so sorry that you lost your cat. I know when Mittens, my cat that I had for fifteen years, died I was distraught. He was my best friend. He was always there when I was upset or sick. He always curled up next to me when I went to sleep. I still have problems sleeping without something to curl up with. I know it's hard. I wish no one had to go through this sort of thing, but it was better to know him than to never have met him at all, right? He was a beautiful cat and very loving. He will be missed. *Hugs*
angel925 From: angel925 Date: February 29th, 2004 08:45 am (UTC) (link)

Very sorry about your kitty.

I know you are sad, but take comfort in knowing that people like me think you are an amazing person for having the capacity to feel so strongly for a pet. I love animals and it makes my heart feel so huge to know that there are people out there like you who care so much.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 29th, 2004 09:48 pm (UTC) (link)
You don't know me, but I'd like to extend my condolances. I am a friend of both Kirk and Lani, whom I believe you know. I have a cat, Callie, who is about three years old, and she looks so much like your Sebastian. I have often wondered what would happen if I lost her, how I would feel. I cannot imagine it, and when that bubble of grief begins to arise when I actually do manage to let the reality of the thought enter, I immediately have to block it out. I am so sorry for your loss, and I wish I could do something for you. As it is, all I can say is that I empathize, and my thoughts are with you.

dead_gurlie From: dead_gurlie Date: February 29th, 2004 10:30 pm (UTC) (link)

i'm a friend of gothicbeauty21 and I just wanted to say i read your post and almost cried. I am very attached to my cats and i almost lost one recently he accidently got out but thankfully came back after 20 days and i was just a total mess!

So i want to say i am so sorry about your loss. Your Baby will be in my thoughts. Even though hes passed on hes got a spirit and soul that is free now. And his spirit and soul will be in my thoughts as well as you and your family will be.

birdofparadox From: birdofparadox Date: March 1st, 2004 06:57 am (UTC) (link)
Sebastian had a great, albeit brief, life and a great mom. I don't think it makes any difference whether it's an animal or a person when it comes to grieving. Sebastian made your life a better place, and you're entitled to love (and grieve) big.

love to you and Isabelle both.

From: (Anonymous) Date: March 2nd, 2004 03:22 am (UTC) (link)

I lit a candle..

...in reverence for heaven's newest furry angel.

From: (Anonymous) Date: March 31st, 2004 09:04 am (UTC) (link)

My heart has broken for you

I am so sorry dearest. Your pain is great and I have felt it many times over in my life. :( I hope you can some day look back and smile for all the good times and not be so saddened for having to say good bye.

12 Voices in a Chorus | Lift Your Voice Aloft