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Choochie (c. 1992 - January 15, 2009)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
In loving memory of Choochie (c. 1992-January 15, 2009).

My cat, Choochie, was put down yesterday (1/15/09) around noon. He’s been in my family for 17 years...the first 10 with my older brother and the last 7 years with me. God, I miss him so much already. Every time I looked at him was like looking at a home movie of my life. I’m 34 years old and he was in my life at some capacity for exactly 50% of my time on this earth during the time I reached early adulthood until now...from the highest to the lowest points Choochie was there in some way. No matter what, Choochie was the constant in my life and everybody loved him. Girlfriends of mine came and went, friends came and went...but through all that there was Choochie...my buddy, my best friend who always made me feel good. Even when I was mad at him for missing his litter box I would take one look at him and he would look back at me with those beautiful eyes and with what seemed like an expression of remorse on his face for making a mistake and I would just melt inside.

He was in bad shape the past few weeks. He lost so much weight, was hardly eating and his front left leg was such a mess. He had a growth on the leg that was operated on the day after Thanksgiving of this past year. After several weeks it seemed to heal quite fine but the last two weeks it began to bleed and look as if it had become infected and was stating to rot. He also had another similar spot developing on his other front leg that looked exactly like the spot on his left front leg did when it first appeared.

I don’t know if he had cancer because I simply could not afford all the tests required. Because of this I feel immense guilt because I feel like I let him die simply because of money. I honestly feel like I failed him. All he wanted was nothing more than simply to be fed (which he was) and to rub his head on your feet (which he did...constantly). God, he absolutely loved feet!!!! I provided for him the best that I could but I still feel more could’ve been done. I also look back at some mistakes I made with him and wish I could go back and erase those from ever happening.

It just makes me feel sick to my stomach that it was money that was the deciding factor because if I had just a little bit more there would be no question he would’ve been here another year, month, week, day, etc. I was staring at hundreds and possibly thousands more to keep him but I could not afford it. I always regretted the day that I would have to decide on his fate and secretly wished that one day I would wake up and see that Choochie had passed during the night peacefully in his sleep. Unfortunately, I was forced to make a decision and even though I’m almost positive that I made a right decision to keep him from suffering I just can’t get over the guilt. Who am I to play God? Cruel and unfair this life can be, I guess. I’ve had relationships with girlfriends that I loved end and nothing hurts more than this. What a beautiful little creature he was. I hope he can forgive me.

I feel even more guilt ridden because just a few days ago Choochie was having problems controlling himself going to the bathroom and he relieved himself in my living room on the carpet which was really unusual. Because of this I locked him into the small bedroom of my apartment for the night where his litter box is at and that has hardwood floors instead of carpet as I have done in the past since it’s easier to clean up off of that floor. I also gave him a little smack because I felt at the time he should’ve known better.

Looking back on it now I feel so ashamed because I’m thinking of him locked in that room alone on that cold floor probably scared of me or feeling sad having absolutely no idea that he was going to pass just 4 days later by a decision made by me. If I had any idea at the time he was going to have to be put down I would’ve let him stay right in my bed like he used to love to. I guess, at least, he got to patrol around his home like the King of the Castle he was the previous few days before he passed but I just wish I would’ve had the foresight and I would’ve never locked him in that room for that one day or one minute.

My sister-in-law found Choochie one day in the summer of 1992 on her way home from work. He was hiding underneath a car and some idiot (an adult no less!!!) was throwing rocks at him when she stopped her car, yelled at the fool and took Choochie home. My brother didn’t mind since we both loved animals and never really had pets when we were both younger and always wanted one of our own. He had no identification and it was obvious he was a stray so she took him in and named him...everybody got a kick out of that name. Nobody knows exactly when he was born but it was definitely in 1992 because he was either just in the late stage of a kitten or just out of it. Either way, I think it’s fairly obvious that he lived a lot longer and better life by being taken in by my brother and his wife but from a selfish point of view the time he shared with us was not enough.

I remember the 1st time I seen Choochie. It was during my brothers birthday party in August of ’92 and Choochie came right up to me, rubbed his head on my feet and then jumped into my lap and stayed there for hours. My brother and I have always been close so it was often that I was visiting him at his apartment so I saw Choochie a lot and no matter what the occasion and no matter how long I was at my brothers place I always made a point to pet Choochie and to play with him.

I was a bit of trouble maker when I was younger and fought with my father at the time and I ended up being kicked out of the house in the fall of the ’92. My brother, without so much as blinking an eye, took it upon himself to let me stay with him and his wife until things smoothed over with my father despite him being a newlywed of only a few months. In fact, I didn’t even have a choice in the matter. Besides having the best cat as a pet later in life in Choochie I also have the greatest and most unselfish older brother, too!

Since they lived in a small 2 bedroom apartment I had to sleep at night in the spare bedroom on a couch where they kept Choochie at night. I can remember waking up countless times in the middle of the night with Choochie either lying on my chest, squarely in between my shoulder blades on my back or in between my lower legs. He was probably looking for nothing more than warmth and a comfortable place to sleep but I feel a special bond developed between the two of us during this time. One vivid memory I have of Choochie was during one of those moments when you are awake but not completely and can feel and hear things around you but are still asleep and when I was laying there I could feel Choochie lying on my chest purring and licking at my face. I tell you, if I could’ve stayed that way for the rest of eternity I would because I felt so comfortable, content and loved...all that just from a little cat...a little cat that was simply amazing!

Also, one of the things my brother did at the time was to try and instill some sense of responsibility in me, something I had taken great strides to avoid at the time, by making me take care of Choochie by taking him for walks, feeding him and cleaning his litter box. Like most late teenagers I balked at the idea but it wasn’t long before I didn’t mind doing these things and actually looked forward to it especially taking him for a walk.

When things finally smoothed out with my father I moved back home to my parents house and it was weird not having Choochie sleeping either on me or right next to me after having that for several months. When my brother and his wife started taking yearly week long vacations or weekend getaways I jumped at the chance to stay over and take care of Choochie because I had grown to love him so much from our short time together in my brothers spare bedroom.

I remember when the blizzard of ’93 blasted our area in the Northeast and my brother and his wife were away on vacation in Florida. I was trapped in his apartment for two days due to the snow, didn’t have much food for myself and not much entertainment but I had Choochie and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

After my brother moved into a house closer to my parents home and I eventually moved into an apartment of my own close to the both of them I saw Choochie at least two to three times a week. When my brother and his wife started to have children in the late 90’s they found out that their oldest son had a minor respiratory problem at the time and were concerned that Choochie may worsen the problem because he shed so much fur. He hinted for at least a year that he was going to have to get rid of Choochie and I always said I would take him in because I considered Choochie to not only be a part of my life but a part of my entire being. When the call finally came in January of 2002 from my brother asking if I would take him in I was at my brothers door to take Choochie in a flash that Sunday.

That first day and night I brought Choochie back he was so scared at being in a strange place after spending 1 year in my brothers apartment and then another 9 years at my brothers house that he stayed underneath my bed the whole day and night. It was as if he knew I was o.k. and could be trusted so he stayed close to me to ride out the transition until he felt comfortable. I remember being worried about leaving him alone when I went to work the next morning on Monday. However, it wasn’t long before he became Lord of the Manor and he even warmed up to my roommate, as well. He was without a doubt the most social cat I have ever seen and never had a problem introducing himself to others. Pet his ears and he was your friend for life!

I guess maybe the move might have been a little stressful for him and he started having trouble using his litter box which was something of a pattern for the next seven years he spent in my apartment. In fact, he started to relieve himself in my bathtub so my roommate and I had to make sure the bathroom door was closed at all times and we instructed all of our guests and friends to keep the door closed. As I’m sitting here right now the bathroom door is wide open since Choochie is no longer with us and it’s just so damn weird. Last night, even though I told a friend of mine who was over what happened to Choochie he closed the door after he walked out of the bathroom and I told him he didn’t have to do that anymore.

In 2005 I was going through a tough break-up with a girlfriend of mine and it was Choochie who always made me feel better. Every time I think of that year I think of a few friends of mine playing a game we made called “Choochball”.

Choochie was predominantly white with black patterns and he had this one huge black spot near his rear legs on the side of his belly. When I first took Choochie in he was sort of chubby due his constantly being given table food in addition to whatever my brothers family usually fed him. When I took in him he slimmed down to a more normal size but still retained some of his chubbiness since my roommate and I occasionally gave him people food from time to time.

Since Choochie was immensely sociable he would just hang out and chill wherever my friends and I were sitting and one day while doing this I had a quarter in my hand and just lightly tossed it onto that black spot on his belly. The sound it made was almost that of the hollow sound you would hear of a water drop in a bathtub. It had that “dwoink!” sound and it was hilarious and as close to sheer perfection that sound could attain. The best part was Choochie didn’t even move. All my friends were laughing uncontrollably and thus “Choochball” was created. For the next several months my friends and I would play “Choochball” for hours and the best thing about it was that Choochie didn’t seem the least bit annoyed and it was as if he enjoyed the interaction between us since we never threw the quarter hard and we only dropped it about a foot or two above him. What I wouldn’t do for one last game of “Choochball.”

I feel so honored and blessed to have had Choochie in my life for 17 years and especially to have given him a home for the past 7. However, there were a few times that I regret and feel immensely sad because of my actions towards his litter box problems. Two come to mind in particular.

Although this first unfortunate event is technically not my problem I still feel guilty. In late summer of 2007 I went to work on a Saturday and when I left I distinctly remember seeing Choochie watch me inside my apartment when I closed the door. When I came home from work Choochie was nowhere to be found in my apartment. What had happened was that my roommate had left the door open when he left for work later that morning since the door latch wasn’t working correctly at the time and this wasn’t the 1st time Choochie had gotten out because of my roommates stupidity but he would always be in the hallway trapped inside because of the apartment security door. Well, this time he must’ve gotten all the way outside because I searched every single square inch of my entire building and could not find him. Needless to say, I was very angry at my roommate. I even looked around outside for several hours but still could not find my beloved Choochie.

After several hours of searching I was resigned to the fact that Choochie was gone forever. I had already made plans for that evening to go out with my friend who was trying to set me up with this beautiful girl he knew. Even though I was in no mood to go out I did since I had agreed to before hand and the whole entire night I was thinking about Choochie which is why nothing ever happened between that girl and me. When my friend and I returned to my apartment later that night/early next morning I saw Choochie just relaxing at the end my apartments parking lot in the distance!!!! I slammed on the gas to get to the other end of the parking lot before Choochie had a chance to run away and screamed at my friend to get out and grab him but it didn’t matter because Choochie, always cool and trusting, just stayed there and let my friend grab him as if it was no big deal. I was so relieved!!! I remember staying up as long as I possibly could feeding him and playing with him because I was so happy that Choochie was saved and back with me after his little accidental adventure into the world.

Unfortunately, Choochie came down with a nasty virus shortly thereafter and I’m left wondering if this was the beginning of the end.

The other incident is totally my fault. By mid-December of 2007 Choochie was having severe problems using his litter box for some reason and I simply could not figure out why because it persisted no matter what I did. He would always go to the bathroom in places he wasn’t supposed to. I had hinted to my brother, friends and family that maybe it was time for Choochie to go but deep down inside I did not want him to go because I loved him so much.

One day, I was watching TV with my roommate in the living room and Choochie was relaxing at my feet when he started to go to the bathroom right there on the carpet. I was so mad and infuriated because this was like the 10th time he had done this in the past two or three weeks. I grabbed Choochie and put him into the spare bedroom as I had done in the past on the few occasions he had done this and after cleaning up after him in the living room I checked in on him and he was doing the same thing on a spare couch we had in the room. I grabbed Choochie and said to my roommate, “That’s it, I’ve had enough of him doing this and he’s gone” and took Choochie outside and let him go in the parking lot.

I came back upstairs and stated cleaning up the mess on the couch but within no less than 30 seconds I began to immediately regret what I did and became worried about Choochie since it’s been so long since he’s lived outside and since it was one of the coldest days that year, too. I thought to myself that there is no way he’s even going to survive 1 day outside and became frightened that he may run somewhere that I couldn’t find him. I then ran outside to look for him and found him no less than 5 feet away from where I let him go sitting underneath a car in the parking lot. Relieved, I grabbed him brought him back and said that I will never let him down again and said that even if I had to borrow some money from my parents I was going to take him to the vet somehow and get him feeling well again. It took sometime for Choochie to warm up to me again and I don’t blame him. I feel so bad about that day and I wish it never would’ve happened. It was just impulsive and there other factors that played into it since I had just gotten laid off of work and didn’t have a lot of extra money to take him to the vet.

Again, looking back I’m wondering if this was another thing that led to his fragility over the next year.

As I said, Choochie warmed back up to me over the next several weeks and most of the next year was a dream with him as his litter box problems became more manageable and other areas in my life picked up in tandem. I made it a point to spend and play with him as much as I could muster. I even went as far as to leave my bedroom door slightly open at night so that he could sneak in hop into bed with me as I slept. There wasn’t much more in life that I enjoyed than to fall asleep in my bed and then to wake up a few hours later with Choochie either laying on my legs or right by my face purring.

Over the summer of 2008 Choochie developed a little rash on one of his front legs. Thinking that it was just a rash and would go away I decided to buy my time with him since it was very small. It was also during this time Choochie started to really purr loudly and constantly and that was a bit odd. Looking back, maybe it was a sign? I don’t know.

By November, the rash had grown the size of a quarter and the week of Thanksgiving Choochie wasn’t eating anything at all and seemed very despondent and lethargic and was also losing weight rapidly. I also noticed that where his rash was it had swollen up to twice the width of his leg. Even though I couldn’t afford it I took him to a vet and they removed the lump but I could not afford a biopsy to see if it was cancer nor could I afford any other tests they could do. I decided that I would play the wait and see game and hope for the best.

After the operation they placed a drain in his leg that I had to clean out three times daily and give him antibiotics and, oddly enough, he didn’t seem to mind me taking care of him in this manner and didn’t really put up a fight. I also considered it my pleasure to take care of him since he has always been a great pet.

After the vet removed the drain a week later Choochie seemed to be doing better almost immediately. He began to jump on the furniture again and began jumping in my bed which was something he hadn’t been doing for almost two months and I savored every moment of it. I was also relieved to see him regain his appetite.

Unfortunately, shortly after New Year his wound from the surgery started to bleed again and Choochie would not let it go and kept digging at it and licking at it and making it bleed worse to the point that he was leaving blood spots everywhere he sat or slept.

I put a bandage and wrapped it in gauze around his wound in the hopes that maybe it was him digging at it that was making it worse. Unfortunately, every time I changed the bandage it seemed it was getting worse and started to smell as if his skin was rotting off. I called my vet but he was on vacation for the next several weeks and so I decided to see if this could wait until he got back at the end of January. Over the next few days Choochie practically stopped eating all together and so yesterday I called another local vet since this problem could no longer wait and also because he was developing a similar spot on his other front leg.

I took Choochie to the vet not knowing that these were going to be the last few moments he was going to be here. The vet and his assistance checked him out and Choochie was a accepting of them as he is of everyone else he meets and was not a problem the least. The vet then cut off the makeshift bandage I had and said that he was going to have to take him in the back room to clean his wound to get a better look at. I could hear Choochie crying in the back room and felt sick to my stomach.

Finally, the vet came out with Choochie and his leg looked like a sliced side of beef...it looked so horrible and was a bloody mess and I felt devastated because it was bad. The vet said that since he didn’t perform the original operation and since I didn’t have a biopsy performed that he couldn’t give a 100% accurate diagnosis but that it did appear to him that the whatever caused the initial swelling to occur was coming back. He also stated that his body temperature was in the lower spectrum of what it should be.

The vet said I had few options. He could bandage the wound and have me come back each day to have it changed until Choochie’s usual vet came back from vacation in a few weeks but that was going to cost “a couple hundred dollars” and that would be on top of whatever Choochie’s usual vet would charge me when he came back and since I’ve been hit by the recession as far as income is concerned that would be tough. He also said another option was amputation but before he could finish I stated that I would put him to sleep before that since that was no way for Choochie to live and I would not want to remember him like that. He also pointed that he seemed to be developing the same type of sore on his other front leg. The vets third and final option was to put him to sleep which made me cringe inside. He did offer that Choochie is 17 years old and has seemed to live a very good life, which he has, and that sort of brought some comfort to me. It did offer some form of comfort that I would be relieving him of any pain that he may be suffering and may suffer from in the future if I chose to put him down.

I reluctantly made the decision put him to sleep but I wanted to call my brother first since his family was the first to take him in and he had Choochie for the first 10 years of his life. Besides, I felt I owed it to my brother anyway to call him and let him know what was going on since he, his wife and kids always asked how Choochie was doing instead of putting Choochie to sleep and telling my brother afterward. My brother was just on his way to work and he said he would stop down to see Choochie and be with him when the vet put him down.

While I was waiting for my brother I felt just horrible. Choochie’s leg was bleeding badly from the wound and I was afraid to touch him since I didn’t want to get blood on my uncovered hands. While waiting for my brother the assistant checked in with me and I asked her if she could wrap his leg up so I could hold him and touch him and pet him.

Finally, my brother showed up and he agreed that it was time after he saw his leg. We spent another 10 or 20 minutes with Choochie before the vet began the process. It was very uncomfortable and surreal and it was as if Choochie knew what I had decided because he wouldn’t come over to me when I called him or snapped my fingers like he used to. I also used the time to snap a few more pictures of Choochie on my cell phone since I regrettably have few pictures of him.

The vet came in and explained what would happen and that she would give him the first shot to put him to sleep in the back of his leg and that it may hurt him a little but said that was normal. I held Choochie and scratched him behind his ears because he always loved that while she gave him the shot. He jumped a little but didn’t make much sound or put up much fuss. He was always great and in his final moments he was at his best. Shortly thereafter, Choochie began to drift into sleep while I scratched and rubbed behind his ears and kissed him on his forehead...he always seemed to like it when I did that.

Finally, the vet came back in to administer the shot to stop his heart and I kept rubbing his head as if to let him know that I was still with him and loved him more than anything else. After only a minute or two the vet said that Choochie had passed. My last sight of Choochie was lying peacefully on his side in the vets office. The vet and his assistants were absolutely wonderful during this horrible ordeal and offered their condolences which was very nice of them to do.

My brother was obviously upset but not visibly as much as me since he has his own family and hasn’t had Choochie live with him since 2002 and possibly because he went through a similar ordeal in 2004 when he had to put down his family dog. On the way home I had a lot of tears in my eyes and I just kept thinking of my little friend who I loved dearly and already missed.

As soon as I came home I cleaned up and threw out all the things that were related to Choochie like his food bowls, litter box, etc. I also boxed together all of the food I had to give to a friend of mine since he has two cats and I thought it was better to do that than to just waste it and throw it away. I did these things partly because it needed to be done but also to try and keep myself busy.

I was sort of o.k. the rest of the day but things got bad in the evening. I was eating chicken and it was so odd not to see Choochie one foot away from me looking for the slightest little scrap to fall for him. Also, after making my regular early evening coffee it was odd beyond description not to see Choochie just laying in the hallway making sure everything was in check as I walked into my room to work on my computer.

Last night as I was laying in bed things really got bad and I started to cry a lot. God, I miss him and feel so horrible that I couldn’t do more simply because of money. I’m quite sure that no matter how much money I had he probably wouldn’t have lasted much longer but I still feel that there was more I could’ve done if I had more money and I feel like I let my best friend down. I also have lots of tears being spilled writing this as I relive just a few moments of the precious time I spent together with Choochie.

I miss you so much, buddy!!!!! With all apologies to anyone who has had the misfortune of losing a child I feel as though that’s what I have lost since I’m probably not going to get married and most definitely will not have children of my own. I can’t honestly think that I’ll get another pet because I could never top Choochie for he was a dream of a pet and because I never want to experience what I have in the past day.

To you, Choochie, I love you and miss you, my friend:

-I’ll miss falling asleep only to wake up with you sleeping besides me.

-I’ll miss eating with you desperately trying to sneak in a little bite or waiting patiently below me at me feet while I make a meal for myself hoping for a little snack.

-I’ll miss making sure you are fed every time I leave for work, when I come home from work and before I go to bed.

-I’ll miss my little midnight buddy as I stay up all night and you come into my room to keep my company as we both enjoy the peace and tranquility of night.

-I’ll even miss our little game with trying to get you to use your litter box properly.

-I’ll miss your little paw scratches at the door trying to get my attention when you are out of food.

-I’ll miss playing video games or watching TV in my favorite chair with my legs stretched out and you walking up to me and rubbing your head on my feet for hours at a time.

-I’ll miss complaining to others about you but knowing deep down inside that I wouldn’t have it any other way and would never get rid of you.

-I’ll miss you following me into the bathroom because for some reason unbeknownst to me you absolutely loved to hang out in there.

-I’ll miss opening every door of my apartment only to see you standing right there waiting for me.

-I’ll miss you sitting on the end of my couches looking exactly like the Sphinx as if you were keeping guard on everything in my apartment for me.

-I’ll miss seeing you in every one of your favorite spots that you used to like to sleep in.

-I’ll miss the constant annoyance of you sleeping at my feet on the computer and my making sure that whenever I moved the chair I wasn’t setting it on your leg.

-I’ll miss you investigating every little thing that I brought into my apartment as if you needed to give it your own personal o.k. for all of us.

-I’ll miss your purr whenever you were happy.

-I’ll miss petting you behind your ears as if that’s all you ever wanted out of life.

-I’ll miss calling you “Suge Chooch” after Suge Knight due to your resemblance of the ultimate badass when I first took you in because you were a little overweight at the time.

-I’ll miss all the compliments my friends gave you for being the coolest cat they ever knew.

-I’ll miss playing “Choochball” with you.

I miss you, Choochie, and I love you. I’m so sorry I couldn’t do more. Rest in peace, buddy. Someday I’ll come find you at the Rainbow Bridge and bring you back home.
post #2 of 9
Rest in peace Choochie.
post #3 of 9
I am so sorry for your loss.

Rest in peace, Choochie.
post #4 of 9
So sorry about your cat.
post #5 of 9
I'm so sorry for the loss of Choochie, and several things made me very sad in your post, this being one of them
Originally Posted by scootermojo View Post
I grabbed Choochie and said to my roommate, “That’s it, I’ve had enough of him doing this and he’s gone†and took Choochie outside and let him go in the parking lot.
Like you said Choochie was there for you when your split with your girlfriend, and that's something that we should remember, that animals give us humans unconditional love no matter what.

RIP Choochie, you sound a pure angel sent from heaven

post #6 of 9
Your Cat had a long life with you he must have been well cared for and loved very much. Rest in Peace Choochie.
post #7 of 9
What a sad story....I feel your pain..I had to do this recently too....Choochie lived a nice long life .. it had its ups and downs...but I can tell by your letter that you loved him very much...R.I.P Choochie

post #8 of 9
You did the right thing. Choochie was obviously really sick. I know how hard it is to lose a cat you loved so much. RIP little one.
post #9 of 9
By the sounds of it Choochie lived a long happy life. Choochie is now prancing over rainbow bridge and will wait for you there
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