The picture you see above is of our beloved Ozzie, one of the first pictures I took of him way back in 1998. As is obvious, he was very little when we got him and yeah, it was shot on film.
The picture you see here was taken just a few days ago and it will always be remembered as the last picture I took of our beloved Ozzie because earlier today, I had to take a sick day and have him euthanized after a sudden illness got the best of him. Despite all we did to try to make him get better, he never did and I had to schedule “that visit” to the vet.
I won’t go into detail with how the process of euthanization works since I already talked about it in a post I wrote last year when Cindy had to be put down. Either way, it’s all too soon to be doing this again.
The notable exception this time was that Ozzie had gotten so bad in just the last 4 days that when the nurse came in to check his vitals, she immediately took him to see the doctor. Within minutes, she returned with a verdict that wasn’t all too surprising: Ozzie was in horrible shape and very little would save him.
I immediately said he had to be put down and I had to be there.
I was called into the room to see the cat who was once so full of life now lying on the cold, stainless steel table and wrapped in a heavy blanket, an oxygen mask being held over his muzzle to provide the air his frail lungs had difficulty collecting and swallowing on his own.
I cried, just as I had been doing since last night and all throughout today.
And it was immediate, almost as if Ozzie knew that this would be the end of his suffering and he was looking forward to joining his sister. But before the process began, I laid a few of his favorite toys beside him, toys that he had since he was a kitten, one of which he lost a kitten tooth on. There’s still a tiny blood stain on it from where he bit it and lost the tooth.
Then I talked to him as he lay there, those bright, blue eyes looking off into nowhere but still seeming full of the life he shared with us. Even close to death, those eyes still had the power to hypnotize as they always had.
As the doctor administered the fluid, I sobbed and continued to talk to Ozzie while stroking his head. And it happened all too fast: Ozzie’s head drooped forward and I held it as his heart slowed to a crawl then finally playing its final beat.
He died as I held his head. I then gently placed it on one of the crinkle toys that were a part of his all-too-short 12 years of life.
No more pain or suffering. He was gone. And to say that I’ve been a wreck over it would be accurate but like Cindy, there have been telltale signs of his presence in the house today: his distinctive meow, a few random sightings, his overall aura. That gives us some comfort.
And as hard as it’s been for Ann and I to get through this ordeal, leave it to Anthony to drop something profound on us and make us feel like the stupid adults we tend to be.
After a night of saying our just-in-case goodbyes to Ozzie, this morning I explained that like Cindy, there would be a good chance that he wouldn’t come back from the vet with me.
But rather than cry about it (although he did later), Anthony simply smiled and told me he was happy.
“Why are you so happy?”
“I’m happy because I won’t be sad anymore.”
Kids. Making adults feel absolutely stupid since…forever.
Ozzie had a ton of nicknames: Ozzie D. Katt, Nozzie, Ozziekat, F*cky Fuzzer (Ann’s mistaken mix-up of “Fuzzy F*cker” when he did something bad), etc. But in the end, he was the first cat – or pet for that matter – that Ann and I cared for together when we first ventured out on our own.
But no matter what we called him, Ozzie was definitely one of a kind. I say that for at least one reason: which other cat do you of will fetch a milk twisty thingy?
It’s hard for me to watch that video but I still can’t look away. That’s how I want to remember our little guy.
Then there all those other things he would do to and for us, like stand on the headboard of the bed and stare at (or “gargoyle”) us, sleep on my chest and nuzzle his head deep between my arm and side of my ribs while purring the whole time, lick my then-clean-shaven chin and then proceed to nibble it. I don’t think he ever forgave me for growing the goatee but even so, he did manage to give the chin a rub now and then. Purring, of course.
Although he was Ann’s cat, Ozzie sort of gravitated to me later in his life which was fine with me since Ann had Cindy to enjoy. He’d follow me around the house, come to me when I called him, and just let me know he was my buddy by rubbing against or head-butting my legs, quite often while blogging. I’m gonna miss that considering the last place he chose to sleep was the corner of the den where I do most of my blogging.
Oh, and he knew the word “hungry” like no other pet I’ve ever had. I swear one time when I asked “Who’s hungry,” he meowed “I am!” I kid you not. He had a very distinctive, guttural meow that I know I’ve heard at least twice since putting him to sleep.
On the whole, we always joked that Ozziekat was evil for the things he did and that Ann would miss him when we went to Kitty Hell. Judging by the way we cried over him last night and the family’s reaction when I came home empty-handed, it’s safe to say that I was right – at least about missing him.
Kitty Hell, if such a place even exists, is not where I know he went. Rainbow Bridge, Heaven, whatever you want to call the place of tranquility, eternal health, and unlimited supply of tasty mice is where Ozzie now resides because it’s what he truly deserves. Although I’m not really sure he’d enjoy the mice since he never caught one. Arliss and Cindy, however, caught at least one in their lives. I always told him he was slacking for that if even the dog caught two of them.
But I’ll forgive him for that, much like the way I’m sure he’s forgiven me for the goatee.
Ozzie D., you were a kick-ass cat that none could ever replace and we have no plans to replace. Thank you for making our lives more fun than most people should have owning a pet, then later being cool with Anthony as you watched him grow.
We all love you and miss you terribly, buddy. Your suffering is over. May you rest in peace.