Today, I buried one of my best friends. Our cat, Mika, has passed away. He was diagnosed with a tumor back in June and his death was long and slow. He was a Bengal, a mix between a domestic short hair and something else. He had a beautiful brown coat with black spots and a yellow belly with black spots, and two huge vibrant green eyes. He was a big-boned cat, weighing about twenty-one pounds earlier this summer. We noticed he was sick when he began to eat less and less. Mika always loved to eat, and would even eat the dog's food if he could get away with it. He stopped eating almost altogether over the past four or five weeks and weighed less than nine pounds when we buried him. Holding him in my arms this morning, he felt about four or five pounds- though I didn't get on a scale with him to make it official. He literally became skin and bones. In the past few days, he became so weak that he couldn't walk straight. This morning, he couldn't sit up without our help. Many of our friends remember him for his loud meow. He had a meow that was almost as loud as a dog's bark. He could howl. His meow, in the past few days, became like that of a new kitten's: weak and soft. He spent his final days laying down, unable to get up.
It was really hard watching him deteriorate. He slept on my bed last night and I laid with him most of the morning, so I was with him a lot. Although he passed away around 5pm, and although I was at work at the time, I feel like I spent up to his last minutes with him. As I sat watching him, I could tell he would die within hours. His liver shut down, evidenced by the yellow-ness around his mouth and in his ears. He couldn't sit up by himself. His meow was soft and pained. He couldn't rest comfortably for very long; he had to try to sit up or move to a different position in order to be comfortable. And he didn't want to be alone. If we left him alone for more than twenty minutes, he would cry (meow) until one of us came and sat by him. I mentioned earlier that he was skin and bones. When I rubbed him, I felt no fat or muscle. It was all bones. His hip bones, spine, shoulders, legs, head, neck, tail, they all were just skin on bones. It was so hard to see Mika like that, especially when we were used to see a twenty-two pound fatty cat. And he was so weak that he couldn't hold his head up long. When he tried, his head would just slowly lower itself till it touched the ground. Then he would sit there with his head in an unnatural position, mostly because he had no strength to do anything about it. And his eyes began to deteriorate. I can't really explain it, but it looked as if some unseen bug was chewing away at his eyes. As the hours passed, the clear part of his eye- the sclera (look it up on Google to see what I mean) just simply deteriorated. It's so hard to explain. And hard to look at. His eyes were yellow-ish and damaged upon his death. His death was long, slow, and painful. But at least I got the chance to say good-bye.
But I don't want to leave you on a sad, morbid note. That simply isn't the type of writer I aspire to be. I know Mika's death is part of the circle of life. I don't feel betrayed or abandoned by or angry with God. I just know that everything dies eventually. That said, I grew up with my cat. I remember as a four-five year old bringing him home for the first time. We moved twice- both to different states- in my childhood, so Mika was and still is one of my best friends. He was sort of an anchor that I could hold on to. He was somebody that had been there almost my whole life- something I can't say about any other friend, because of the moves. It's times like these- the rough times, the hard times, the sad times- when I remember Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I am a son of God, and I love Him more than anything else. I know He works for my good, even if I can't see it.
Despite of my friend's death, God has been teaching me something through this: life is valuable. I think as a teenager, I take life for granted. I haven't lost anyone close to me or had a friend die tragically. I've lost a grandparent- but I didn't even know him that well. I think life is so much more valuable than I have been treating it. But I will save that thought for another post.