Friday, September 21, 2018

I miss Stumpy.

This morning we are burying my grandpa. He died just a few short months after my grandma, and one day before their anniversary. At her funeral he looked thin and complained of a stomach ache. My dad took him to urgent care and they thought maybe he had a hernia, and after a few more visits it turns out he had stage four pancreatic cancer. Which is unforgiving. It's relentless. But my dad settled in as caregiver. And then my mom. And then things progressively got worse really fast. What should have been a doctor visit turned into admittance into a nursing home. With hospice. We all hoped we'd get one more Christmas. Settled for one more Thanksgiving. It turned out we would get none of that and not even a week of being in a nursing home and he passed. The whole thing happened so fast I didn't get to see him. I had planned on popping in that weekend but he was gone before then. Grandpa was a gentle giant. I always remember him being a big guy, really strong, but so quiet and so kind. He was funny and he always listened to my kid's stories even if he couldn't hear a thing! He had great stories and he was so smart, he seemed to know something about everything. Needless to say my kids are bummed but you know what? It feels like it's the end of an era. For so long our holidays revolved around them and making sure they were with us. Every time we saw an ad for a new kid movie we made plans for Olivia and Jackson to go with them to see it. I've seen countless ads and I think of them every time.  And I get so angry at how they were cheated out of fun years together. They were supposed to have time to travel and not worry about anything. And just like that, it's all gone. He passed away while I was at the Bruno Mars concert and my whole drive home I cried and cried. I cried for him being gone. I cried because I was sad for my dad and I was sad for my mom. I cried because I was glad he wasn't in pain anymore and I cried because I was hopeful we really do get to see our loved ones again when we die and I really hope that's true because there's some comfort in knowing him and Grandma are together. It's been a heavy couple of months. But today we will celebrate him and we will see him buried with full military honors. He deserves nothing less for all that he has done. 


If you are a long time reader of the blog you know I'm a big cat person. We've had cats since I was five months pregnant with Olivia... so almost 14 years. Our first cat was Lenny and we had to put him down a few years ago because he got really, really sick and that was a really awful time. 

Then we got our cat Stumpy. He was part of a trio from the litter my inlaw's cat had. They were used in these cages as owl bait (they weren't going to be eaten for real, the DNR was using them to monitor wildlife) and I firmly believe that was mildly traumatizing and made them not quite right. Or maybe just Stumpy. But the super fluffy cat went to a little girl at our yard sale, I decided I wanted Stumpy right away because he only had a stump of a tail (born that way), and my mom took his sister, Bad Betty. 
We ended up getting Batman the next year, and Lola Louise the year after that. So we had three cats for the longest time. Then we got Ginger. And our dog Twinky. We had a FULL house of pets. Then I had my AFE and it quickly became apparent that I couldn't take care of four kids and five pets. So we started thinking about how to downsize. We ended up giving Ginger to Matt's brother Karl because she was the littlest and we were sure she'd do better in a home that didn't have loud kids because she was terrified of loud noises. And that turned out to be amazing because she's doing really well with Karl and is so much more social. 
But Stumpy, is and always has been, my absolute favorite. He cuddles with anyone. Even if you're deathly allergic or you hate cats completely- he will make you love him.  
No really, he will. He jumps up at you like he's a dog until you pet him and/or aggressively spank his butt. He really LOVES to be spanked. His little stump of a tail quivers and you kind of feel dirty but he's so lovable you can't quit.  
He was must absolute snuggle buddy. He'd jump on me no matter where I was. Always laying on or near me. He cuddled with me at night. He was always with me as I read. Wanted to sit on my chest completely. He was AMAZING with all of the kids. He let Penelope and Lucy tackle him and he never swiped or scratched. You literally could not have a better cat than Stumpy.  
But within the last year we started having problems. I thought they would get better as we downsized after Ginger left. We started noticing a cat would poop at the bottom of the stairs. It took us several months before we caught Stumpy in the act and so I diligently researched this on the Internet. We took him to a vet. He's medically fine. We have no new animals and he's been with the rest of these animals for seven years. We got new litter boxes and moved them to new places in the house. We moved the food/water dishes and changed those out. I got new rugs. We gave him more love. I called the animal shelter and did everything they told me to do.  
(There is his little stump of a tail) 
I was getting really upset because I knew my time with Stumpy wasn't going to be long if I couldn't get this under control. We have, no joke, been trying to fix this for about a year now.  
 Then he started peeing on the chair Matt sits at for dinner. It took me a little while to figure it out but by the time I did, the floor was legitimately RUINED right there. We're trying to find replacement flooring to fix it. But at the point, Matt was done with him. 

I tried a little longer and I thought maybe if I clean everything again, sanitize everything, use a different enzyme cleaner, things would get better. 
 But no. 

Nothing got better. At this point the vet said if it were him, he would put the cat down. Stumpy is 9, he is pretty old already but he could also live until he's 20 but he wouldn't deal with this any longer. 
So I was left with a decision, do I put him down (which broke my heart) or try to re-home him (which broke my heart but also scared me because what if the people end up being mean to him?)

One day last week I hit my limit. I had mopped the floor in the morning (which takes me almost 90  minutes to do the whole first floor) and he peed AND pooped in the middle of my office. I was done. Totally done. I can't physically mop and clean this much EVERY DAY. So I texted Matt and said we have to find a solution immediately. 

He found a new home with his co-worker's daughter and her family. They live in the country, Stumpy could be indoor and outdoor (though I've never let him out), they have kids who love cats (so I know he'll get endless spankings and rubs) and they'd love to have him. 

They took him that day. 

I didn't even get to say goodbye. 

And I absolutely, 100% KNOW this was the right thing to do. I just can't. There wasn't anything more I could do. I have to keep my house clean because I have to keep my kids and other pets healthy. My only hope is he's happy. Obviously the downside to re-homing him is I'm forever worried he's wondering where we are. I really hope they are good to him. I feel like I'm in between two really bad choices and neither make me feel good. 

So it's been a week. I really miss him. I went to read the other day and I patted the couch automatically and nobody came. That's when it really hit me. And I mentioned it in a cat group I was in (who I had asked for help and they gave me some great ideas) and a lot of them immediately shamed me for re-homing him. And I feel TERRIBLE. If you know me at all you know my pets are like my kids. Really and truly. Stumpy was my absolute favorite so you have to know the situation was beyond anything I could handle anymore for me to willingly re-home him. 

I still feel terrible. 

I still miss him a lot. 

I really hope he is chasing birds and bugs that he so wanted to chase but was trapped by the window in our house. And I know for damn sure I will never have another Stumpy. There isn't another cat on this planet like him. Not even close. Sigh. 


Shooting Stars Mag said...

I'm so so sorry, Sara. This is a lot of rough stuff. Your grandpa sounds amazing though and I do believe he's with your grandma now. And I hate that you had to re-home Stumpy and that's so messed up people were shaming you. I think it's way better than putting him down because there wasn't anything medically wrong, so I hope he does better and has a really great, happy life. But I know you're devastated and I hate that. :(


Beth (Coffee Until Cocktails) said...

I'm so sorry about your grandfather. It does go so fast sometimes with that kind of cancer.

I can absolutely relate to your cat situation. We recently re-homed one of our cats too. I understand how hard of a decision that is and I know it's not easy. Shame on those cat ladies for shaming you.

I miss my cat too.

mypixieblog said...

Oh Sara, I’m so sorry about all of this :( but you’ve been through a lot and deserve some comfort in knowing that wherever Stunpy is, he’s likely thriving and living his best life. Can you get updates from the family? That always helped me when I fostered and someone took a dog that had been with me for months. The beginning is the hardest part, and takes some adjusting. But dat by day it’ll get better ❤️

Also I wonder if maybe your grandpa wanted to celebrate his anniversary with his wife and passed to be by her side the next morning. Sending your family much love and healing.

Shybiker said...

My sympathies on the loss of your grandpa. It's very hard when family members go. Hang on to the good memories you have of him.

Lecy | A Simpler Grace said...

I'm so sorry, Sara. It sounds like you've had a really tough week. I'm sorry to hear about your grandpa. And it's so hard to make those tough decisions when it comes to our beloved pets. In the end, we have to decide what will be best for them, even if it hurts our heart. I hope you are taking care of yourself during this rough week. <3

Julie H said...

awww I'm so sorry :( I have a Mr. Pisser that I really should have got rid of a long time ago but I just can't do it. I know if I was sick he would HAVE to go because there is no way I could handle that.

The Flynnigans said...

Oh Sara, I’m so sorry to hear about your grandpa, and stumpy. Shame on those twats for making you feel like shit for rehoming him. It’s better than the alternative! I hope he’s happy with his new family and I’m sending you hugs - I know you miss him very much.

Sending so much love to you and your family love. xoxoxo