trying to move on

we’ve decided to get a new cat. it is not in anyway that we’re trying to replace or forget julius. that’s just not possible. but, it’ll make it easier for us and our other cats to move on. they’ll have a distraction and someone else to play with, and we’ll have someone else to bring more happiness into our lives. and, i think that julius’ would have wanted us to use his death to save a cat from being euthanized. it’s something good that can come out of this horrible situation.

cat therapy

tonight after work, joe and i went to sassy paws, the local pet boutique. i’ve always talked about stopping in but never had the chance. we left with a simple cat toy (because our cats prefer simple things like twist ties from bread to expensive toys), and when we got home we spent a little while playing with aj and diz. it was the first step toward healing.

sad

i don’t think i’ll ever get used to not having julius around. today was so much harder than yesterday. i don’t know if i expected that or not. aj has been doing several things julius used to, such as sleeping on the bottom right corner of the bed and running into the kitchen when we get up. i think he’s doing that to comfort me. at least that’s what i like to think.

julius “squeaks” schulman, nov. 2002-july 2008

it’s going to be hard to get used to life without julius. i know i’ll instinctively reach up at night to see if he’s sleeping on my head or call him into the bathroom when i shower for security. and eating dinner just won’t be the same without him swatting at joe’s hand and trying to steal a bite.

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but i know he’s much better off now. it was tough seeing him this afternoon. he was in bad shape. in fact, the doctor came in and told us he really hadn’t thought julius would make it through the afternoon. he screamed as he was brought in, and we quickly realized we wouldn’t be able to hold him. touching his belly was just too painful for him. his breathing also was much more labored. we took his three favorite foods — a hamburger, popcorn and cat treats — but he was too sick to eat. i’m just so glad that he held on until we arrived. i like to think that he did that because he wanted us to be able to say goodbye to him. and i’m glad that the last thing he saw was my face.

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the doctor said the lymphocarcinoma julius had is a cancer that spreads very quickly. he wasn’t surprised that just a few months ago, julius seemed to be in perfect health. i’m just so surprised at how fast he deteriorated. in just days he went from an active, snuggly cat to one who was too sick to come out from under the coffee table. his blood and lymphocite count tests weren’t good either, another indication of how sick he was. normal blood count ranges are 40-50; julius’ was 9. the range for the lymphocite count is 0.4-6; julius’ was 70,000. the doctor said he’d never seen a cat with a count that high. we buried him tonight with several of his most favorite toys. i think he would have liked that.

julius' toys

i’m also glad that this experience was so different than when we put sasha to sleep last year. the vet today was *so* nice compared to the one who put sasha to sleep. he seemed to get choked up when he was giving us his condolences. that was really nice.

when i got julius, my landlords did not want me to have a pet. my parents found julius abandoned on their road and, after he ran right up to them and jumped in their car, they brought him to my apartment. my landlords were wary at first, but they soon fell head over heels in love with julius. i’d look outside in the afternoons and see them playing with him. when i moved, they didn’t want him to leave. he was just such an endearing cat.

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i can’t express how much we will miss our sweet squeaks mcgee. he got that nickname from the fact that instead of meowing he squeaked. it was the cutest thing ever. he was with me for 5 1/2 years through numerous failed relationships, through the death of his brother, caesar and through the combining of our home with joe’s. i will miss him cuddling with me while i watch tv. i’ll miss him sitting by the bathtub while i shower, poking his little head through the shower curtain and squeaking if i’m in there too long. i’ll miss him running to the food bowl every time joe stands up. i’ll miss his running outside when we open the back door and then making an immediate u-turn and hightailing it right back inside. i’m just going to miss him more than anything. it’s going to take a long, long time for this pain to go away.

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julius, you were my first baby, the first pet i had on my own. i just can’t imagine life without you. it’s going to be rough for a long, long time. i just hope you knew how much your dad, brothers and i loved you and will miss you. life just won’t be the same without our squeaks. we love you buddy.

julius and teddy