Freaky Friday: Ode To Our Family Cat, Peanut. Rest In Peace
Freaky Friday: Every Friday a new post dealing with love, relationships, dating...and anything else the human soul may need answered.
Ode to Peanut
He was a ginger ball of kitty fluff and he made my family laugh, feel loved and happy. He was Peanut. Named because he looked like peanut butter, and because my whole family loves peanut butter! I remember when we got him. I was in high school, 16 or 17 years old. I got home from basketball practice and my whole family was huddled around the smallest, fluffiest thing I had ever seen. "Mom got us a cat!" That night, at the expense of a toy with feathers, we learned what a sharp killer of a kitty he was. The feather was bigger than he was, but he would grab it in his mouth, growl, and then try to walk away with it. We all laughed and giggled, "did you hear that?! He's growling!" "We have a killer on our hands", my father shouted out, and boy did we!
No animals came in our yard for fear of Peanut. He was territorial to say the least. For years we didn't hear birds chirp, see bunnies hopping about, dogs were silent as they scurried by, and other cats took the long way home. He was our killer, intimidating Peanut. From the smallest, fluffiest ball of fur to a giant kitty- I swear at one point he was 17 pounds of kitty muscle and the softest fur you've ever felt. We loved him so much! He was the king of our house and thug of the streets.
He would snuggle anyone, and if you picked him up he was like a rag doll, just flopping about. He preferred to hang his body over your left shoulder when being held. He was so very good with kids. Children could pet him and move about easily. He stayed put and patient while the aggressive, awkward, tiny hands would rake through his fur. He sometimes would look aggravated, but he wouldn't use the typical kitty communication of meows, scratches or biting. He would just be pet or held, and when he'd had enough he'd simply get up and walk away. He would sleep in everyone's beds on different nights. When I left for college, he officially became the cat of my youngest sibling, spending all of his time in her room.
He was in his prime for so long we didn't think that would change. Then he had a little kitty stroke, but he got better. He was tough as nails! Then a few years later he started to lose weight. Peanut was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, needing medicine every day. He was his usual opinionated, kingly self, just starting to age. Then this past summer, he began to lose even more weight. The vet upped his meds. We fed him twice as much as was necessary for a cat twice his size just to keep up, but his health was going fast. We weren't sure how long we would have with him. He was not looking like the vibrant kitty we knew. One day, I saw him curled up underneath a big tree in the yard. I didn't see him breathing and there were flies around him. My heart sank, is he dead? I shoed the flies away and pet him. He woke up with a jolt. At this point in his life, he couldn't hear well. He got up out of the dirt to be picked up, and I gently held him for fear I would hurt him. I didn't know how to pet him to be honest. Was I hurting him by touching him? I soon would realize he enjoyed being touched in certain spots and it didn't matter the pressure, he just didn't want it to stop.
We all knew he would be leaving this world soon. Every time my mom would see him, she would say "poor Pea." He was so thin and it was really sad to see him go from a massive ball of fluff to feeling every bone in his body when holding him.
We talked here and there about putting him down but no one wanted to do it because he still seemed to enjoy life. We wanted him to choose his own time. We decided to have a little going away party for him. We didn't want him to die without knowing how much we loved him. We got him a chicken (yes, a whole chicken) and we all told Peanut how we loved him and that it was ok if he needed to leave us, we didn't want him to suffer. He just snuggled in and took a little nap. He lived for a few more weeks, just chugging along.
Then, one morning this past week, he was acting strange when my sister went to feed him, he didn't want to eat. Then the infamous rales (death rattles) began. My mother, who has helped many people transition from life, retrieved a blanket for my sister to wrap him up and hold him. Ada told him how much she loved him, and how great of a cat he was, and that he could go now if he wanted to. My sister was trying to contain herself in order to calm little Peanut. She didn't want him to suffer any more. It didn't take long for him to take his last little kitty breath and go to heaven.
My sister was very lucky to be there when Peanut passed away. She didn't have to wonder where he was or if he suffered. No, she got to show him love from the time he entered our lives, until his last breath. He passed away peacefully, on his own terms, in the arms of the human he loved the most. May we all be this lucky to let those we love pass away with love and for our own lives to transition with love.
Grieving for this little ball of kitty fur is hard. I've been away for over a week and I wasn't around during this time. Before I left, he would sleep with me every night. My sister just had a baby, and she couldn't have Peanut in the room with her. Part of me feels so very bad for leaving him. That it's my fault he died. There have been moments when I'm angry with myself. But then I remember this is all a part of the grieving process. Our minds make up stories.
The truth is, Peanut lived a long happy life. Longer than most cats, almost 18 years. Still, with anyone we love, it's never long enough. It's always too soon. One more hug. One more chance to tell someone we love them. It's the same whether we are grieving for a human or an animal. We always want one more moment.
Take this moment to let those you love know that you love them. To hold your animals close, breathe them in and say "I love you."
Now for the good stuff. The stories!
Peanut was a very opinionated cat. There were many things he did not like. Here's a list of them.
Peanut does not like rap music.
While off island with my sister, Peanut was in a carrier in the back seat, my sister was driving and I was in the passenger seat. I was trying to find music to listen to. I left it on one station that was playing some rap music. Ada chimed in "Peanut does not like rap music." "How does he know the difference?" I asked. "He just does." She replied. At that moment he began meowing in a way I had never heard before. He sounded angry. "See", Ada said nonchalantly. I changed the station. He stopped meowing aggressively.
Peanut does not like black mice.
We bought white and black mice for Peanut to play with he would only devour the white mice. So in a way you could say Peanut did not like white mice because he would ripe them a part in under 10 seconds.
Peanut does like doors.
Peanut would often sit in front of a door and just wait for someone to open it for him. He was a patient cat but sometimes we tested his patience and he would start meowing letting us know the door needed to be opened. Mind you, he could easily take his paw and open the door and often would pull it slightly then let it go, over and over, so it would slam and his humans would know he wanted to come in. The doors weren't latched, and he would open them
if no one was around, he just preferred to have someone open the door for him. As he was king of the house, this was his birth right. My brother-in-law referred to this as "the magic door". He even made a large Peanut opening in their bedroom door at their last house, and it was shaped like a mouse hole. When my brother-in-law came in the room after Peanut's passing he said, "The magic door is open."
Peanut does not like bowls.
Sure, Peanut will eat from bowls but drink water? No way! That's beneath him. He would only drink water from a glass. We would have multiple glasses set up for him. Fresh water a few times a day. He also enjoyed drinking from our glasses. If Peanut couldn't reach the water effortlessly, then he would knock over the glass letting everyone know he needed a fresh glass full to the brim for he was thirsty.
Peanut does not like large containers.
He would often fit himself into the smallest of containers, snubbing the large comfy places we would make for him to sleep. No, he preferred something like a tiny Nantucket Lightship basket. Often, I would find him in my dresser drawers. If I left them open just slightly, he could wiggle in. Nothing like opening your underwear drawer to find a ball of fluff looking at you as though you are disturbing their restful sleep. He would come running if he heard your drawer opening. He was an opportunist.
Thank you Peanut for all you love over the years, you will be missed greatly.
Peace, Love, Hugs and may you be loved like we were loved by Peanut