I had to have my cat Hawthorne euthanized on Friday morning.
When we brought Liam home from the hospital, Hawthorne began to spend more and more time outside until he never came in at all. I figured he had run away after we didn’t see him for a few weeks. That is, until the morning our house nearly blew away in the storm.
I looked out the window and there he was, crouching in our driveway. Only, he was drastically skinnier and seemed to have mud and cobwebs all over him. I called him and he wobbled up to me, purring. The mud and cobwebs were covering the worst abscesses I have ever seen. His entire forehead was rotting and his cheek was bulged out and bleeding. The smell was unbelievably putrid. I took him inside and locked him in the bathroom, trying to wipe away the cobwebs and muck from his forehead, but they were glued to him. I gave him food and water, which he didn’t touch.
The kindest thing I could do for him was to put him out of his misery. Gabe went in late to work so he could go with me down to the vet, who - for $40 – took him away. They offered for me to go with them, to hold him. But I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to feel his skinniness or smell his awfulness when I said goodbye. And all he did was purr and try to rub up against me. And I just handed him over the counter and left.
Hawthorne had been my birthday present from Gabe the first winter we owned our home. He was awkward and his hair was in disarray even then, but he was mine and he wanted nothing more than for me to hold him and pet him. Hawthorne had always had some issues. We’re pretty sure he had severe vision problems. He never tried to climb up onto anything, and he would jump at the slightest noise or motion. Sometimes he would walk around cross-eyed. Over the last year or so, his once fluffy tail began to grow scrawnier. And then the hair on his sides and abdomen began to thin. He had the worst breath. Like dead fish. But his goal in life was to sit on my lap and purr as long as I would let him. He wasn’t allowed to sleep on our bed because he would purr all night.
Gabe hated him, and Hawthorne hated Gabe. They would eye each other from the opposite sides of the room. Hawthorne used to jump up onto Gabe’s lap on the couch, and then immediately spring away once he realized whose lap he was on. He once misjudged the height of the back of the couch and landed directly on Gabe’s head. Neither one of them were very happy about that.
He was my favorite cat.
I sure miss him.