Of course y’all know about my two furry buddies, Charlie and Lucy. But you don’t know that my first kitty was a teeny runt named Pip. I adopted Pip in July of 2008. The plan had been for A. (my college roomie, with whom I moved to Memphis) and I to both get kitties. She adopted Charlie in October 2007 and he was hers until she married in 2010, when he became mine. I couldn’t afford a cat at first but after getting a higher paid job our second summer here, we set off one Saturday to find my kitten. I had a list of several places and I was adamant I would go to each place before making a decision. A. had no faith in me and insisted I would adopt the first cute cat I saw. No surprise… she was right.
Our first stop was the local PetSmart which shows cats from the local animal shelter. We walked up and this little guy was the first one I saw:
When I crouched down to look through his window, he came forward and put his paw up on the glass, like a little prisoner begging for rescue. I melted. There wasn’t any turning back. When the PetSmart employee lifted him out to let me hold him, he hissed! I liked his spunk. We had to go to the animal shelter to fill out his paperwork… the employee advised me to go quickly as the little guy had generated interest with several people. As it turned out I had barely signed the paperwork and paid, when a couple came in determined to adopt him. Whew.
He was very small – at five months, the size of 10 week old kittens – but the vet said he probably was just a runt. He was feisty, though! He and Charlie took quite a while to acclimate to each other (we didn’t do the best job introducing them). Poor Charlie didn’t exactly know what to do with such a tiny thing (3 lbs.) and would frequently overwhelm Pip (named for the hobbit) play fighting. We heard his little hiss often.
He really was just this pitiful little snuggle bug. I could be walking down the hallway and he’d sneak up to snuggle my feet, of course getting kicked in the process. He often slept draped on my shoulders or neck and I’m afraid I knocked him into the wall on more than one occasion as I turned into my sleep. All he wanted was to cuddle and he’d sidle up next to us on the couch or curl up on our laps (even when a laptop was already there). Of course we both showered him with snuggles and love.
Then early in September, I noticed that he’d had some… issues… in the litterbox. For the next month, he was in and out of the vet’s office as we tried to figure out what was wrong. Nothing else seemed wrong but because of the problems, he got more and more dehydrated. It got to the point where I was giving him water with a syringe because he wasn’t drinking enough. He got multiple fluid treatments at the vet. My wonderful vet actually did over $500 worth of treatment for free because he fell in love with sweet little Pip.
But my poor little buddy got weaker and weaker. He’d grown to 4 lbs in August, but now was below 3. I had to put him in the large kitchen closet at night and while I was at work because he couldn’t keep things in the litterbox. I fought for him, and he tried his best, but the decision was inevitable. The vet thought it was FIP, an incurable disease that’s only truly diagnosed at an autopsy. He was probably sick from long before he came to me.
I knew what was coming. And one Sunday I made the choice. That night I let him sleep with me. I didn’t care if he made a mess (which he didn’t – he always tried to use the litterbox and I woke every time to clean him up). He draped himself over my neck and as he fell asleep I felt his little head droop lower and lower on my cheek. On that Tuesday, October 14, I took him to the vet for the last time. I’m starting to cry already writing this. They were wonderful. So sweet. I think the vet and assistants may have gotten teary. I chose to stay with him because I couldn’t bear to have his last moment as me leaving him. He was so scared. So they gave him an anesthetic and I held him close, rocking him as he fell asleep. Then they came in and put him to sleep for real. I’ll never forget the doctor putting the stethoscope to his heart, so huge in comparison to Pip’s teeny abdomen, and saying quietly, “He’s gone.”
They slipped out, giving me several minutes to grieve, to stroke his head and sob over my little baby kitty. I drove home and held Charlie close. I lay face down on the floor, crying into his tummy. Even though I’d had him for only a few months, my heart was broken.
I still had to go into work, and when I got home, sweet A. had cleaned up everything of his: his litterbox and bowls, etc., so I wouldn’t have to do it myself.
And that’s the story of my little Pip. Sweet boy. I’ve now thoroughly cried my eyes out, but I wanted you to know my teeny first kitty!