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The Poozy Experience

PoozyI apologize for the delay in posting today's 'toon as I had to think about it a long time. There will always be graft and malfeasance and greed in this world but there will only ever be one Poozy, my uber cat, who died on Monday, and I felt she deserved something special. This is my third attempt at a cartoon memorial over the past 24 hours and this result pleases me so now I'm going to reminisce awhile about my sweet little deceased baboo. Deal with it.

Pooz, as you might have guessed, was my cat. Wait, let me rephrase that... she was MY cat. I currently have seven other felines roaming the property but they're more or less just cats. Pooz was an entirely different kind of wee beastie. The number and accumulated costs of her vet bills will attest to that.

She was about six weeks old when I found her in May of 1999, lost and bellowing for her mama, precariously perched on top of the differential of my car. I didn't know what to do with her since I was allergic to cat dander, but mom never showed up so I bought a litter box and some cheap cat food and crossed my fingers. Fortunately, her dander and my nose coexisted uneventfully, so she stayed. I originally called her "Hobo" but soon switched to "Poozy" for personally demented reasons of which I will not speak further.

The one thing that most affected her personality was that she matured as an only cat, never suspecting that she was anything but human. Living among primates all day she eventually became wicked smart and could understand and respond to about 30 words, even simple phrases, but never to "come here". She could also, or so it seemed, read my mind, always staying a step ahead of me when it was time for a bath, a dose of flea treatment, or a trip to the vet.

Accordingly, it didn't take her long to figure out that all I was good for was providing food and cleaning the litter box and so in short order I was treated like the help. Any affection I chose to shower on her was restricted to a few square inches of head and woe be unto any fingers that strayed elsewhere. She never crawled in my lap or liked to be picked up but I was a happy victim of her innumerable, lengthy, and aggressive midnight grooming sessions. She was a bitch, but an endearing one, and so we drifted along in our fuzzy, love-hate relationship.

Poozy in curlersBeing a new cat owner I, of course, did a few things wrong, but the worst mistake was making her favorite kibble available 24/7. I thought my chubby little princess was adorable (see video below) but at age eleven she began to lose body weight at an alarming rate and it took almost a year of misdiagnosis' from various vets before one bright spark discovered she had diabetes. That's when I started hearing dry cat food referred to as "diabetes in a bag". Oh, boy.

In the beginning it wasn't such a big deal. She quickly understood that the injections of insulin made her feel better so she'd happily hunker down every morning in front of the refrigerator, purring as she received her shot. Even so, her weight continued to plummet and she started having occasional episodes of hypoglycemia, one bad enough to require hospitalization. Towards the end of her life her blood sugar was impossible to regulate so we stopped the insulin and adjusted her diet as best we could.

By last fall she was so frail and arthritic I doubted she'd survive the winter, but she did, although she was now just a shadow of her former self. The moment it became warm and sunny I carried her outside to wander the yard and it seemed to brighten her spirits. Even so, by last Monday it was clear that she was fading fast so I decided to make one last trip to the vet with her late on Tuesday. As I mentioned before, Poozy could read my mind so it didn't surprise me when, after her Monday afternoon on the lawn, Poozy went back to her warming pad, lay down, and drifted away. It was as though to say "No, my good man, I will not go to the vet again."

She was almost exactly 15 years old.

Because she had become incontinent Poozy spent the last six months of her life in my studio, confined to a comfortably large space lined with dog training pads, and during these six months my other two cats would not come into the studio. But on the day Poozy died my little grey cat entered the room and perched on a window ledge which overlooked Poozy's living area, something she'd never done before, and stared down very intensely at Pooz. I walked over to see what so interesting only to witness Poozy take what seemed to be her last breath. Somehow, my other cat just knew that it was time.

I've often seen movies or plays where family members became distraught over the death of their loved ones, vowing to God to do anything to bring them back, and at that precise moment I knew, for the first time in my life, what that felt like. For an instant my mind raced with ideas of emergency care, anything to help her live to enjoy another day but in the end I knew it was better to stand aside and let nature takes its course. She had lived her life and I had already done all that I could.

I laid Poozy to rest among the roots of a large oak tree in my back yard, one which I planted 20 years ago. It wasn't hard to dig her grave but it took a long time to fill it in. That litle girl spoiled me for all other cats and I will miss her terribly.

Note: Poozy's death, which devastated me emotionally to a degree I never thought possible, wasn't the only thing that made today's comic a full 24 hours tardy as I've also had a crushing slate of art assignments. It was simply a perfect storm of good news/bad news/terrible news/completely fucked-up news. Since the other cats here at St. Lefty's Basilica are in good health I suspect future 'toons will arrive online somewhat more promptly.


end rant

Poozy in her corpulent prime, annoying her brother. (I have no idea what that background sound is all about.)

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Lefty: I always heard cats had, like, nine lives or something.
Poozy: Nope. Just the one.
Lefty: But some cats live twenty of more years, right?
Poozy: Longer, if kept indoors, but there's no guarantee.
Lefty: What about fifteen years? Is that long enough?
Poozy: Sure, as long as I have someone to love me.
Lefty: More than you'll ever know, baby.

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