In Memory of Lizzy

If you would have asked me today if I would be doing this post right now, I’d have told you fuck no.  No way.  Because I know that I wouldn’t be here when this would be happening.  I’d be out with her and I would know that it was coming.  But an unbelievably selfish individual decided to take it upon themselves to make this decision for me, and now I am here, writing a post that I have been thinking about for weeks.  And I can finally get something out of my head that has been nipping away at me for weeks.  I don’t think I’ll ever forgive the person who decided to make that decision for me.  Ever.  My best and most loyal friend died tonight.  She was kind, sweet, lovable, had four legs and was covered in fur.  It was my cat.  Her name is Lizzy.

19 years ago, I was there when we went to the pet store and picked her out.  They had kittens for sale, and I went with my mother to pick one out.  My parents had a policy about not getting boy cats.  They tended to have bad bathroom habits and are little shits.  The last cat we owned had the moniker “shitty kitty” for the fact that it shit all over the place.  Thank Groj it wasn’t an indoor cat.  It lived in my old man’s garage.  Before you say that’s cruel, he kept it warm in there for the vehicles.  We had a large property, so kitty had never known an indoor life.  Peanut Butter was his name, even though he was orange and white.  Never did ask where the rationale for that name came from.  It was my sister’s cat, in name alone.

When we got to the pet store, there was a cage with all the little kittens inside, and they were all cute as fuck.  But there was one that stuck out above all the rest.  See, it was climbing the cage wall, with a look on its face of – get me out of here!  From that very moment, I knew that this kitty and I were going to be best friends.  As luck would have it, that kitty was a girl.  So we picked her out and headed home.  My kitty has NEVER liked confined spaces, so on the car ride home she was miserable.  But I was eating chicken strips, and gave her some of the chicken.  That made for a happy kitten.  Every time she has been in a vehicle since, she has been a VERY unhappy camper.

From there began a relationship that was the most loyal and true that I have ever had.  See, while she was around everyone, there was no denying that Lizzy was MY cat.  Everywhere I went, she followed.  If she was outside and I tried to go places, back in the first house I lived at in memory, she would try and follow me.  So I’d have to put her inside.  I named her Lizzy, after my grandmother on my old man’s side.  Her first name was Mary, but her middle name was Elizabeth.  So I shortened that down to Lizzy.  But over the years that wasn’t what I would call call her.  Lizzy got shortened to Liz.  Then to Wiz.  Then to Wiz-Biz. Or Wiz Cat.  Or sometimes “you’re being annoying.”  Silly kitty.

After leaving the first house we lived in with her, we moved into my grandparent’s on my mum’s side’s old house.  It was a home that they homesteaded in, ages ago.  There is so much history in this house.  Part of me is glad that it’s still in the family.  At this new house, Lizzy had so much more area to explore.  A huge property, a lakefront, and all the voles a kitty can eat.  Oh yeah, there was a serious vole problem when we first moved in.  Lizzy took it upon herself to help deal with that problem.  Using kitty violence.

During the summer, Lizzy hated to spend time inside.  She would spend hours upon hours on end outside.  Sometimes we would let her out late in the evening, only for her to be out all night and come in the next morning.  Part of me wonders how she was never attacked by an owl.  But she did have the right fur color to blend in with the undergrowth.  So many funny memories.  Like, seeing her shimmy up a wall.  See, my parents had a balcony into their bedroom from the third floor.  On nights where she would be out and want in at 4 in the morning, she would shimmy up the wall and then go onto their balcony and whine until someone let her in.  Or she’d whine outside my window.

But the thing that I loved most was how she would spend her evenings and winters with me.  Since she hates the snow, kitty would spend all of her time in the winter cooped up indoors with me.  I had this amazing blue chair.  It had these really tall arms, and my kitty’s favorite place to rest was there.  See, I moved around too much for her to be comfy on me.  I’m not one of these people who says that if the cat is comfortable I can’t get up.  Pussy can move.  But she knew I gave her tons of love, so she would rest on the arm of my chair, watching movies with me and watching me play games, then judging when I made mistakes harshly.

So many little memories that I can chain together.  Like on Christmas, where she would attack the wrapping paper and get all wrapped up in it.  Or when we put garland on her and had her indignant face.  I would give my last 10 years to be able to go back and get a picture of that.  Alas, when I was a teenager we didn’t have camera phones that took really sweet pictures.  Think that was before my head injury.  She would always watch us set up decorations and judge us harshly, but she loved getting attention.  Wish I had been better about getting her Christmas gifts.

Thing is, she didn’t want lots of toys.  She got to go outside and wander around and have fun.  Plus, something I did that nobody else did – fight with her.  See, sometimes she would want to get into a fight.  I ever had a special glove for it.  It was a work glove with a leather exterior.  She’s wrap around that and claw the living shit out of it for a few minutes when I’d go at her belly when she is in a fighting mood.  My cousin would fight with her too, except he was an idiot who did not wear a glove, and she would fuck up his hand.  He would joke that she loved it, and part of me does wonder if there is some validity to that.

Another adorable thing about her is the fact that she had both of the dogs my parents owned scared to death of her, even though both of them were big enough to bite her in half.  The first was Zoey, then her puppy, Riley.  In both cases, it’s because she was so mean to them as puppies.  Like any puppy, they went over to her and wanted to be best fwiends.  But she wasn’t having that.  They would know who the top dog in the house was, so to speak.  After slashing their puppy faces up, both of them knew that love from her came at her pace, not theirs.  It is so cute having both of these dogs being so much bigger than her yet scared to death of her.  Poor Riley.  As the much more friendly of the two, he kept on trying to get love out of her, but she was always a bitch to him.  But eventually the dogs and her found a happy equilibrium and all was well in the world.

Moving in to the last house I have lived in, my parent’s sunset home, things changed.  See, Lizzy has been getting old.  The years don’t show on her because of how small she is, but for a while she was fine.  But then things started to happen.  See, her hearing was getting worse and worse.  Eventually, she went totally deaf.  It was a bummer.  And for her, I genuinely believe it made her scared to death, all the time.  I also contend that her vision was going too.  At night, she would make this really ugly noise that sounded like she was in pain, but I think it was her being scared and not being able to hear or see where she was or where she was going.  This led the parents to believe that she was losing her mind, and while I joked it off, part of me wondered.

Months went by, and she was sleeping more and more.  Eventually it got to the point where she was sleeping almost every second of the day, only to wake up and cry.  The parents were not enjoying it.  As I was living in a place that didn’t allow pets, I tried to make excuses for it.  Then one day, I get told the my parents are wanting to take her to the vet.  The idea is that we need to get an answer on this, and if there is no cure, and her quality of life is just going to get worse, to put her down.  I made very clear that I was going to be there for that.  We went to the vet and they said that her kidneys are indeed shutting down.  But it can be prolonged.  With some diet change, she can get many more months of life.  Maybe it should have ended there.  I don’t know.  But it didn’t.  Which leads me to the last four days.

I went out last weekend because the parents said that her problems are getting worse, it’s clear that her mental state is not well, and it’s time to say our goodbyes and be done.  I was going out more to tell them I had damn well better be there when it ends.  I was there when we picked her out.  I was owed that.  It ties in to that thing I haven’t been able to get out of my mind.  We’ll get there.  However, the mum was unable to bring herself to say that we’re going that far.  So I went home thinking that I this could go on for much longer.

And that brings us to tonight.  I got a call from the mum saying that my kitty had “died in her sleep.”  She could have let it stay there, but she decided complete honesty was a good policy and told me that that was a euphemism for she had indeed been fast asleep, and my old man had put her down himself.  Believe it or not, I do buy that she was asleep.  My girl couldn’t hear.  Sneaking up on her was very easy.  I’d seen first-hand how she can sleep if you are right in front of her.  I don’t doubt that she never woke up before he ended it.  With one bullet.

Before you go saying how disgusting and horrible that is, I’ll head you off.  I don’t hate the method.  It’s quick, and if she’s asleep and doesn’t know what’s coming then it’s painless.  Here’s where I take insane levels of umbrage.  I was there when we picked her out.  I was there when we brought her home.  I was there from the very beginning, and I fucking deserved to be there at the end!  Though, I would have asked to do the more typical euthanizing, because I don’t want to think about the mess.  That’s kind of horrible.  My girl died alone.  She died without me there.  It hurts me more than you can know.  The old man decided that since the mum and I couldn’t bring ourselves to do the deed, he’d do it for us.  I had a right to be there with her at the end, and that selfish person took that right away from me.  When I was rightly upset by this, it is then me who is turned into the villain, as is always the case.  My family has never valued my opinion and is quick to throw any transgressions I have ever committed squarely in my face the moment I am upset with the parental authority figures.  I got a clear lesson in how little they respect me.

My companion, my confidant, my dearest friend.  Someone who stood with me during all the worst parts of my life.  When I lost friendship after friendship because the significant others of those people didn’t like me.  When other “friends” turned their back on me because I’m weird or I have feelings they don’t like.  When my cousin/brother I never had stabbed me in the back.  When I lost relationships, one in a bummer way and one in a way that did irreparable damage to me because of how it ended.  She was there for all of that.  And I wasn’t there with her to say goodbye.  It hurts me more than you can possibly know.  Someone took it upon themselves to do that and I am quite upset with them right now.  Given what happened between us afterwards, I don’t know if our relationship will be able to mend.  We’ll see what happens.

I normally try and close these things out with something that the person I am doing this post for told me, but since this particular friend was a cat, I decided I would close this out another way.  See, I’ve had this song rattling around inside my head for the last few weeks.  At every funeral I’ve been to, there is a hymn that has been sung.  It holds a lot of resonance with me because of how much I have grown up with it.  I’m not a spiritual person.  I think people who believe in the magic sky wizard are childish beyond the capacity for rational thought.  But since there will never be a funeral for my kitty, I thought I’d close out with this lyric.  Those of you who know what the melody to this is without looking it up are pretty alright in my book.

Until next time, a quote,

“I was there to hear your borning cry,
I’ll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.”

Peace out,

Maverick

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The Adventures of Azure and Creamsicle: The Unconquerable Heights

I wake in the underwear drawer of the female human I live with.  She sometimes leaves it open on accident, which I take full advantage of.  She often dislikes this, as it seems that having my hair all over her underwear is a negative thing.  However, this means nothing.  It is soft here, and it is my spot.  They call me “Azure,” in reference to the bluish-gray striped coat I have.  And interesting way to be named, but whatever.  As I have entered my 38th season of life, and I can clearly tell that I am going to have to awaken the humans in order to get myself food, I have been feeling a little bit reflective.

I came into possession of this human after she exited something that I have heard referred to as “college.”  Not sure what one does there, but it doesn’t matter.  Originally, it was just the two of us at a small apartment.  Things were different then.  I was much smaller and much less resourceful.  I had no mentor to teach me the ways of the world, so I had to learn on my own.  There were many things that I got wrong.  Those days were…harder than most.  But the human was much more affectionate.  The two of us would sit while she would have her lap-filling device out.  I was not a fan of this device.  I would continually try and get on top of it, so she would have better access to petting me.  However, she would continually move me.  However, we came to a compromise after she started petting me when I sat next to the device.  While it wasn’t as nice as other pettings, it was still nice all the same.
Those were good days, just the two of us.  Then, however, another human named Derrick entered the picture.  I did not like this human.  He took up a great deal of her time and did not pet me as much.  Indeed, this human seemed to sneeze around me.  Things between that human and my human got very heated.  Eventually, the male human demanded that it was either him or me.  The nerve!  It was then that my human did something I’ll always remember – she chose me.  It was a very good day.  I was most kind to her after that.  I even wouldn’t mind when she was in the bathroom alone or would have the lap-device out.
But then, another human came into the picture.  His name was Michael.  This Michael was much less annoyed by my presence.  Indeed, he tried his best to befriend me.  I had seen how the Derrick human had treated my human.  I wasn’t going to let this one do the same!  As loudly as I could, I would lodge my protest whenever was possible.  When they would be on the bed, wiggling around in what I assume to be some kind of mating dance, I would sing the songs of my people, to keep her from making a mistake.  After a while, she was much less pleasant, even picking me up and taking me out of the room.  I was very cold to her after that.  Fine!  If she wanted to get hurt by another male human, let her!  I would stay in the living room and rest on the top of the couch.  Indeed, the humans seemed to take notice of how little interest I seemed to have in them, yet this didn’t seem to be a negative reaction.  As a matter of fact, they seemed grateful!  The nerve!
One day, a lot of things changed.  The two humans were together the entire time.  The Michael human moved in to the apartment!  They talked of moving, which hurt me quite a bit.  Were they leaving me here?!  Had they forgotten about me?!  Did I go too far in my attempt to punish them for casting me out of the sleeping room?  How I pushed it too much?  The questions were adding up, and then it all became clear.  My human and the other human were packing up all the belongings we had.  Part of me was quite worried that they would take the litterbox, or the sleeping chair, or the sleeping bed, or the bigger sleeping bed that the human would sometimes us.  Or the bowl where our food is.  However, just as I was about to break down, my human picked me up and threw me into a cage!  It was every nightmare I’ve ever had.  Trapped, it was dark and I was unable to escape.  I did everything I could, but nothing worked.  I sung the songs of my people as loud as I could, in hopes that some part of the humans soul would recognize the pain.  However, as quickly as their torment began, it ended.
Indeed, the humans set the cage down in a bright space and opened the door!  I was free!  As fast as my legs would carry me, I raced out of the cage and into the light.  This space was much larger than the apartment.  Indeed, it was so large that I didn’t quite know what to do with it.  They moved the belongings from the apartment and set them in various places here.  I was informed by my human that this was where we would be living from now on.  I suppose I could warm up to it.  This was a much larger space.  There was even a small doorway in the larger one that I could go out through!  The outside!  It was amazing.  Green things and warm sunlight that I could curl up in.  There was a fence around the place, but I was content.  For now…

The seasons went by, and I became the master of a new territory.  As my curiosity was insatiable, I found weaknesses in the fence and was able to escape the boundaries of my new home.  At first, I never went too far.  Always within eyesight.  But I met a new cat, and things changed.  Her name was Midnight.  She was all-black and very beautiful.  I was in awe.  It was like she was made in the night, with her yellow eyes that almost seemed to glow.  She was like no one I had ever met.  The two of us would go out into the neighborhood and explore.  My companion had a gift at exploration.  She always seemed to be able to find her way home.  I learned much from her.  We became bonded together.  Perhaps in the way that the humans at the house were.  Midnight and I explored everything, and the neighborhood became ours.
We made friends with other cats as well.  A little gang who were the owners of the night.  But we still had to be careful.  There were dogs in this neighborhood.  While they could not escape the fences of their homes the way we could, there were some who had no owners, and would wander the streets.  It became a very dangerous place sometimes.  We learned their patterns and how to avoid them.  It became just another simple problem to be dealt with in due time.  Still, risky stuff.

And that is where we were now.  We roll in our human’s underwear and yawn.  Since the lack of food in our stomach is now something of an issue, we decided to get up and alert the human as to our predicament.  We get up on the bed and walk over to where our human is laying on her stomach.  Not being subtle, I sit down in front of her face and rub her nose with my own.  It is the way that we both show affection and request attention.  Normally, this works.  This morning was no exception.  She awoke with a mumbling noise that betrayed some kind of annoyance.  She opens her eyes and lets out a loud frightened sound, which makes my flight-or-fight instinct kick into high gear and we go running from the bed.  The Michael human has been awoken as well, most worried.  The two humans start laughing about the situation as they rise from the larger bed.
Our human goes to the kitchen and grabs our bowl.  She puts some of the dry food into it.  This is not what we’d like, but we know that we will have to chance to get more soon.  After all, the probability is high that there will be bacon.  Our human regularly makes bacon when the Michael human does not leave early in the morning.
As our human reached up to the top of the while obelisk that they get their food from (how that works is beyond me), I saw something that genuinely changed my life – the “treats!”  These tasty morsels are sometimes given to me as a signifier of when I have done something that meets the approval of the humans.  I have yet to figure out a pattern to this.  There seems to be none.  However, I now have seen the container where they are kept!  This presents an opportunity.  However, this opportunity is risky.  After all, they are directly on top of the white obelisk.  How will I get up there?  As this concept was measured out in our head, I realized something – I would need Midnight for this.  It was a job that required more than one superior brain.  Part of me wondered how the humans were so clever as to set the treats up there.

Night came and I met up with Midnight on the steps to the house, looking excited.
“What’s got you all worked up?” she asked.
“I’ve found us an adventure!”
Her attention got perked.  “Ooo, what is it?!”
“Remember those tasty morsels that the humans fed us the other day?  The ones shaped like fish?”
Her brow furrowed as she thought, then brightened.  “Oh yeah!  Those were good.  But you said that you didn’t know where the humans kept them.”
My smile grew.  “I didn’t, until now!”
Instantly she got excited.  “Ooo, where?!”
“On top of the white obelisk in the eating room.  It is very high, so I will need your help in procuring it.  That’s what we’re going to be doing tonight!”
A worried look came to Midnight’s face.  “Won’t that be risky?  What if the humans discover us?  They’ll be mad.”
I gave her a wink.  “Oh come on, Midnight!  With your grace and our combined ingenuity, we can take this on!”
She smiled again, ready for mischief.  “Oh, alright.  Lead the way!”

We bounded back toward the eating room.  It was much quieter in the darkened halls.  For humans, the darkness is something to be nervous about.  For my kind, it is freedom.  We got to the white obelisk and looked up.
Midnight was in awe.  “Wow!  That’s really far!  How are we going to get up there?!”
I motioned toward the tops of the counters that were beside the obelisk.  We jumped up and moved over by the obelisk.  It wasn’t as far now.  But still too far to jump, and we couldn’t risk clawing our way up.  If we fail, either of us could fall to our doom on the floor.  Or, the clawing noise could awaken the humans.  We had to find a way up that didn’t involve getting injured or making excessive noise.  Easier said than done.  We looked around, trying to see what methods we had available to reach the top of the obelisk.  The pickings were sparse.  There was a tied bread product in a corner, along with the covered butter dish and some other bread products.  There was a mixer, but it was sleek and tall.  It was unlikely we could have gotten a grip on it.  There were a trio of things that looked like large covered pots.  Each of them was labeled with something in the human language.  I couldn’t tell.  They were in varying sizes from tallest to shorted.  The tallest one look pretty sizable.  A pity that it was so far away from the obelisk, or I could use it to…
“Look there!” I shouted.  Midnight ran over, looking excited.
“What is it?”
“This pot, the large one.  If we can maneuver it toward the obelisk, we can use it to get closer to the top!  Maybe even close enough to jump!”
She tilted her head to the side, as if confused.  “How would we get it over there?”
“We maneuver it over with our bodies.  It won’t be easy, but I believe we can do it.”
“But won’t the humans know if we do that?”
The thought hadn’t occurred to me.  The goal of this was to avoid suspicion.  One of their pots being moved next to the obelisk would be suspicious indeed.
“Hmm…”
Then she looked up.  “Wait a minute!  If we move it over, we can just move it back!  Right back to where it was.  The humans will be none the wiser!”
I smiled at her.  “Nice thinking!  Alright, let’s do this!”
We wedged our shoulders in to the pot.  It was hard work.  The pot was heavy, laden with some kind of power that we could see around the top.  The powder was falling off and getting on our fur.  This wasn’t good.  But we could just roll on the ground outside.  That should take care of the powder.  It took the span of many, many minutes, but we finally got the pot into place.  We were ready to begin the attempt!
Midnight could jump higher than me, so she volunteered to be the one to test it.
“What if it isn’t high enough?  What if I can’t make it over at first?”
I nodded.  “Then let go.  We don’t want to make too much noise.”
She looked like she understood.  “Alright.  Which container has the treats?”
I drew back, motioning for her to come with me.  “It has a large fish on it, in the same shape as the ones inside.  You can’t miss it.”
She looked up as well.  “Alright, I think I see it.  Let’s do it!”  The excitement was mounting.
She took her place on the pot, crouching down low.  Her claws dug in to the pot.  The tension was high enough to cut with a knife.
Then, she sprang!  Like a bird into the air, she went up.  My tail was still as I watched.  She did it!  She looked down and smiled, wanting to let out a roar of victory.  But we couldn’t.  Not now, anyway.  Very quickly, she got to work, grabbing the container with the treats.  She was on her hind legs, trying to open it.  Suddenly, it gave way.  My heart jumped inside as I saw her topple over.  She was on the edge of the obelisk!  Part of me was scared that this was the end.  But she got back up, looking down at me.  It was alright.  I could tell that look, and she was saying it was alright.
Plus, the toppling of the container had had the desired effect!  It was open, and the treats were falling out.  Even better, they were falling on the counter!  Over a dozen of them fell before it stopped.  I motioned for Midnight to come back down.  She looked so excited.  With perfect grace, she landed on the pot and then on the counter.  We walked over to where our bounty was, with me stepping back.
“You made the kill, so you eat first.”
She smiled and walked over, taking a bite.  I followed.  It was amazing!  There’s nothing quite like a meal that you have to work for.  The dry food the humans give me is nothing compared to this!  Though I didn’t know if this was better than the wet food in the metal containers that no claw could penetrate.  I had tried, on many occasions.  The two of us ate until we could eat no more, picking up the rest and taking them out to where we stashed food we grabbed.  It was a few trips, but we got everything to the stash in the dry place that they kept the machine that roared and they used on the grass.  We always got nervous, but the machine seemed to only roar when they made it so.  Perhaps it was angry at them.  But not us.

It was another long venture to move the pot back to its position, but it had to be done.  We knew this.  After we finished, the two of us went running out into the street.  What a night!  What a wonderful night!  I felt like a much younger cat again.  Midnight was a good deal younger than myself, being only 25 seasons old.  To be that young again.  But it was still a great night, and the two of us danced until we could no more, going back to my fence and laying on the grass to digest.  I would let the humans sleep in tomorrow.  I’d say they deserve that much.

The next day, the humans seemed very perplexed how the container of treats had fallen over.  They looked at me, but both just wrote that off as crazy.  After all, how could a cat get all the way up there?  If they only knew.

Until next time, a quote,

“In Venice in the Middle Ages there was once a profession for a man called a codega–a fellow you hired to walk in front of you at night with a lit lantern, showing you the way, scaring off thieves and demons, bringing you confidence and protection through the dark streets. ” -Elizabeth Gilbert

Peace out,

Maverick