Losing Furby: A Crazy Cat-Lady Story

Alas, Cancer has claimed another victim. I’m not going to go in-depth about how cancer took my baby and how it should be eradicated from space and time. We all know it should be by now. I am simply writing a memoir devoted to my sweet friend.

img_1706-2

Furby, April 2004-March 6, 2017

How I will miss Furby, I cannot even begin to describe. It has been ten days since his soul left this earth, and my mind just cannot reconcile the loss. The fact that he will never meow across the house when I call for him, fall asleep on my arm when I sing to him, or force Paws to beg for food [by jumping onto my head and pawing at my hair until I wake up at 6am]… is too hard to believe. (I know for a fact it was Furby making Paws do that now because he hasn’t done since he passed.)

Until ten days ago, our family consisted of a 1:1 cat to person ratio. Lily is John’s, Paws is Cole’s, and Furby was mine.

Yeah, boo-hoo for me – I know, but we’ve had him and Lily since they were abandoned at about 5 weeks old – barely weaned from their mother.

Synopsis of ‘Why We Were Meant To Be’

John, my then-fiancé/now-husband, and I were talking a month before we got married about getting two kittens. We also had a POS 1966 Ford Mustang (previously black/rust, pictured below) that we made a deal over: If we found our two kittens the next day, we

_DSC2536.JPG

1966 Ford Mustang in Wineberry, A Retro-Mod Beauty with John at the wheel, using up the last of a full set of tires in a putrid cloud of on-road glory.

would paint the car red. If not, it would be blue (my choice). 

People overuse the word ‘literally’, and it drives me up a wall, but we were literally in his truck the next morning,  on our way to the SPCA to look for our kittens, when John got a call from his dad, asking if we wanted two kittens. Gary, a friend from his parents’ neighborhood, had gone out on a motorcycle ride to Hernando Beach that morning and found a Bud Lite box that had been left by the side of the road with three kittens in it. A man and his son stopped and said they would hold onto the box for him to come back with his truck, but they wanted one of the kittens.

they-do-love-eachother

Baby Furby and Lily

Gary and Jean had the little fluff-balls at their house when we arrived a half-hour later. Jean had named them Pansy and Lily. I was already playing with Jasmine and Lily… so I kept Lily for “my kitten.” John renamed his to Furball: Furby, for short.

Two things happened in the coming weeks that shocked us a little:

1. We took them to the vet and found out that Lily would be neutered, not spayed, as we originally thought.

2. After their surgeries, Furby came to me when his bandage came loose and his incision began to bleed.

Thus, Lily became Mr. Lily (the vet’s office loves when he comes in to visit because he’s such a sweet, feminine little guy;-) ) and Furby became my cat.

Somehow our kittens found us.

The day after Furby passed, John asked if I wanted to repaint the Mustang “a beautiful shade of blue”… but I got my deal.

If we had not gotten Paws (another random miracle), I fear Lily would be leaving us very soon as well, heartbroken from the loss of his brother. Apparently, he is supposed to stick around with us for a while. And so you know, don’t feel too badly for me not having a kitty to cuddle… John gets claustrophobic when Lily tries to sleep next to him. Every night. So he comes to me and snuggles. Every night. (Also, spoons may be a more accurate term than snuggles.)

Karma has paid me a huge advance by giving me these Fur-babies

I have a lot more to contribute until I am paid-up and can’t hope for any greater fortune than the love of Furby’s sweet little soul to remain in my heart, and the blessing of Lily and Paws to stay with us for as long as we can hold them. Sadly, even Karma cannot defeat cancer.

For Furby, I so feared that we would have to make the choice of when to take him to the vet’s office to put him to sleep, but I watched as the choice was made for us last Monday morning when he had a stroke and his body gave out over the following two hours. Whatever it is that controls us – be it fate, God, or biology – somehow knew that I would be unable to make the decision for him, and was kind to all of us in that we were able to be together when Furby passed. I had a strange feeling just before his stroke that I needed to stay with him a little longer, then John brought Cole home from school. Otherwise I would have gone on with my day and we would have lost him without realizing. 

Although I will always miss Furby’s chubby “pom-poms” (his lighter-brown rear haunches) running off into another room, I will remember him until after the inevitable Alzheimer’s kicks in. His name will be the last one I’ll forget, and I know he is always in my heart. And now, a little part of his story is in your heart too.

Kitties Jan 2017 (8)

My boys: Lily (top left), Paws (top right), and Furby (not sure why this looks Photoshopped).

Please rescue an animal in need. If you have the heart, they’ll provide the love.

Thank you for reading Furby’s story.

Yours,

J.E.DiPalo

Advertisements

My Feline Friend with Cancer

*Spoiler Alert* Sad Post, sorry:'(

Furby, my own personal kitty, has cancer.

furby-baby-1

Furby sitting with me at breakfast.

September 2016 we found a lump in Furby’s lower right abdomen. The Veterinarian gave us surgical options, but when he did the chest X-ray to clear him for surgery, he found a large tumor that was already wrapped back behind his heart and lungs thereby making surgery on the tumor in his abdomen a moot point. That X-ray had to be one of the crappiest ways to show a family that their loved one is dying (not the Vet’s fault).

Furby will be 13 years old in April. I hoped to get at least 16 years out of him and his brother, Lily (yes, he is a little gender-confused and it’s okay). We’ve had them since May 2004, the month before John and I were married. They were only about 5 weeks old, not weaned properly, and our friends had found them in a beer box on the side of the road.

I know many people will be able to relate to the compassion I feel for my kitty. Other people will say, “It’s just a cat,” but pets become a part of the family when you rescue and raise them, love them and they show in so many ways that they truly love you back.

My evidence: 1) Furby jumps up onto the kitchen table after my son leaves for school every morning. He will hold my arm, wrap his paws around it and tuck his face into my hand. 2) Whenever I sing, he’ll come over from wherever he is at the time to listen and usually falls asleep as if it’s a lullaby. I’ve even found him listening outside the laundry room and my closet while the door was shut.

We have three cats – one tailored perfectly for each of us. Furby (aka Fur-shibbles) is my big boy, Lily (aka Lizard) is my husband’s sweet little parasite, and Paws (aka P-whizzle, age 3) thinks my son is his biological father.

furby-baby-3

Furby, Paws and Lily respectively, lying like adorable fuzz-balls on my son’s bed. I told you Furby was a big boy.

At this point, what sucks the most is that beside the tumor in his belly, the other one we can’t see or feel in his chest cavity, and a small lump we found yesterday on his ribcage, he has a quickly growing tumor on his upper jaw. It’s been less than a month since I felt the small bump on his gums and now it is the size of a large grape and smells something awful. Somehow he manages to keep it mostly in his mouth, but I’m afraid because of its quick growth that he might end up suffocating. There is no surgical option as he may not come out of sedation. It really pisses me off that I can’t do something.

I lost my father to Alzheimer’s disease on January 2, 2016, which we knew was coming for a very long time. When he was diagnosed in 2001 I realized it would inevitably end his life.

For my kitty – we found his cancer when it was already too late to do anything and he has a few months if we’re lucky.

It just sucks to think I’ll have lost my dad slowly one year, then my cat too quickly the next. It’s not fair. But as David Bowie said in the Labyrinth, “You say that so often. I wonder what your basis for comparison is?”

img_1719-2

Furby preparing for his baby brother, 2007

Here is my explanation as to why it is not fair: My mom is allergic to… everything. So when I had pets growing up, they all lived in our covered lanai – bunnies, guinea pigs, and birds. The one exception was Belle. If any dog was ever truly evil, it was her. She was a Lhasa-Shit (our name for her as a hypoallergenic Lhasa Apso-Shitzu mix), which was fitting. She attacked every person who stepped into our house, drawing blood quite often. I went to pet her goodnight one evening and she bit off more than half of my left thumbnail. I’m lucky I didn’t try to kiss her goodnight, I’d have been missing part of my face. I can’t say I was upset when she died years later. I have a great love and respect for all animals, but that dog was a demon. Furby has been my first pet that I got as a baby, lived with and loved like he was my own little one, and have been with for more than a few years. He’s comforted me when I was sad and stayed with me when I was sick. Now, the least I can do is pay him back, spending as much time with him as I can.

furby-baby-2

Paws knows his big brother is really sick. I keep finding them like this.

He knows he’s not well. The pictures above clearly show that our other boys understand he’s not well. He doesn’t seem to be in pain, but he is sleeping a lot more. (In case you’re wondering, his chosen pillow is the orange “Pillow Pet” cat beneath Paws.)

I want him to go peacefully in his sleep. I don’t want to wait for what we feel is the right amount of pain to have him put to sleep. That is the humane thing to do if necessary, but I don’t want to watch him suffer like I watched my father suffer during Christmas and New Year’s 2015-2016.

Whether you pray or send positive thoughts, whatever your preferred method is – please send a wish for Furby to give us plenty of time with him then pass peacefully so he does not suffer.

 

It all comes down to Karma. As The Beatles sang: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”