Doticus Maximus. Dot. My Angel. My sweet pretty kitty.
In June of 2000 I was 15 years old and had moved from my old house in Daytona Beach Florida, up to Georgia with my mom and my cat, Cuddles. I had grown up in Florida for 15 years in the same house so I was experiencing a big change. I would also be a sophomore in High School. I was both excited but uncertain of the road ahead of me. I would miss my friends but I had a chance to start over with a clean slate. I didn't have the best of times at my old middle and high school and was ready to start anew.
August 2000 rolled around and it was time for me to register for a new school. My mom took me up to the new High School I would attending to fill out the necessary paperwork. Little did I know my life was about to change. We were in the office and I saw a teacher sitting in a chair with this adorable gray kitten. I talked to her and she said she was one of the coaches, and while she was out back to throw away some junk, she spotted this little guy running around. "Yeah I saw them out there! He has a sister out there too, a little black kitten. I couldn't catch her but you could try if you wanted to?" I said sure! Where? She pointed me to the back door and I went outside and looked around. It was the back door of the school where there was a dumpster and some old desks and chairs thrown around. I saw under the desks a little black dot scurrying about. She was so tiny! "Oh hey it's okay! Come here!" She turned to look at me with the biggest green eyes I ever saw and came over to me. I smiled as I scooped the little kitten up. "You're so cute and tiny!" She was very petite. I took her home. Mom said she was okay with it, as long as Cuddles was okay with it. Cuddles had a history of not getting along with other cats.
We took the little kitten to the vet and home to be introduced to Cuddles. Like with any new introduction they did not get along at first but quickly grew to be fast friends. I kept trying to find a name for the little kitten. I had so many running through my head. "Diamond? Speck? Binkies?" Nothing fit. "Well you have a cute little dot on your chest. You sure are cute, aren't you?" "Meeeyeeeah!" She replied with a knowing look. "Oh, you're cute and you KNOW it huh? Just like Dot from Animaniacs" I picked her up and she was sooo tiny. She curled up in my hands like a little dot. "You look just like a little DOT! okay, I think that should be your name!" "brrrmyeeah" she softly purred as she napped. I had always joked that like Dot in Animaniacs, she would have a super duper long name but called her Dot for short. Even one of my friends called her "Doticus Maximus"
Now I had Cuddles and Dot. Cuddles I had since I was 5, born in 1990 so she was already 10 years old when I found Dot. Cuddles would never get along with many other animals. The only other pet she got along with was Dudly our old Great Dane in Daytona. But they got along and I was very happy. Cuddles and Dot my 2 kitties. They were with me on my first move, first time to college and through many transitions in my life. Cuddles sadly passed away in September of 2007. She was 17 and a half. She wasn't put to sleep but she had seemed fine, sleeping more often but when I'd come home one day she had sadly passed and I was devastated. Cuddles always did a double meow "me meow!" and shortly after she passed, I heard Dot do a double meow a couple times. Like she was looking for or calling her.
Dot had so many quirks and unique things about her. For one she was a very tiny cat but spunky as hell. She was sassy like a princess, classy, and super adorable. She was an indoor cat, like Cuddles. She use to hug my neck with one arm around each side, almost as if to smother me. She also loved to curl up on my face. She also loved to stick her tongue out and lick. She was such a weirdo. She'd lick my fingers and my face in the mornings with that sandpapery tongue. She also loved to perch on my shoulder.
Dot was also very very friendly. She loved to sit on everyone's lap. She was such a chatterbox. Brrrmeow! She chirped when she meowed. She was also quite popular with friends, she loved everyone and everyone loved her. She even got her own Facebook profile and added some friends just to meow at them! Silly Dot!
As she got older, 15, 16, people would comment about how old she was. In fact many were surprised. I'd tell them her age and they'd say "What?! No way, she still looks like a kitten!" she still acted like one too! Dot loved string best of all. She wasn't into toy balls or any of those but she loved string and feathers. The light delicate toys like her.
So in her older age, I remember once she acted as if in great pain and I had to take her to the emergency room. She had some sort of swollen anal gland and they helped her and gave her medicine. Not long after she had Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and I'd taken her in and they gave her medicine. It would sort of clear up then kept coming back. They'd give her stronger medicine and it cleared up. I had to take her in every few months just to check up on her. So the last time they said the next check up would be in 6 months and she actually was doing fine for a while. I'd noticed over the course of a few months however, here and there she didn't like it when I'd touch her in certain areas, it would hurt if I picked her up in certain ways or if I moved her. Some of it I thought was her being grumpy. She was also moving around but would sometimes have a little trouble. Then a little while later, she started peeing everywhere except the litter box. She peed on the couch and I kept moving her back to her corner (She had her own corner with beds, her posts, litter, everything) but she kept coming to the couch to pee which upset me. I even scolded her and told her no (Which I felt horrible about after). I set her up a spot in my studio to work with me and so she wouldn't pee on the couch. I still noticed she was slow and having trouble. She even fell over trying to walk and I immediately took her to the vet. She had yet another UTI and they gave me the same medicine that always helped and if it didn't they would do a scan. The medicine didn't help. She kept having more and more trouble standing. She was really wobbly. It pained me to see her like that. She was eating and drinking lots and lots and LOTS of water. I was hoping it would clear up because I know a bladder infection can be very very painful! Well it didn't clear up.
I had already spent many weeks, even months, one day fearing the worst. Fearing that something would be terribly wrong, fearing that one day would be the last.
Thursday morning of January 10th, 2019 I never woke up thinking it would be one of the worst days of my life. I went to check on her like I always did and she tried to stand and couldn't, she was wobbling horribly and meowed loudly. I took her to the vet again. They said they would do a bladder scan this time. They looked and found a cancerous tumor in her bladder and said it would only get worse. The vet was very sweet and understanding and told me my options. She said they gave her pain medications but at this point, putting her to sleep would be best option. They also said she was having some neurological difficulties and that putting her to sleep sooner rather than later would be better, as to not let her suffer more. She also said she could give me pain medication to take home but it would probably only prolong it.
I was in distress. I couldn't believe it, the time had come and it was up to me to decide the fate. I racked my brain with everything. Should I put her to sleep today? Can't she be cured? Should I wait? What will happen if I do? Will she suffer more? What did I do wrong? I cried, I held her, I was messaging friends and family. I called my mom in tears and she came to be with me. I thought about Dot and her condition. She was already wobbling and having trouble and was in pain when I touched or moved her. She had only been declining and I would hate to leave her and I return and she be gone. Or worse, in excruciating pain and I had to take her to emergency vet or anything.
I held onto my baby tight and thought about our time together. 18 years since I was 15 years old. Over HALF my life! My best friend. Now I have to say goodbye? How can this be?! It wasn't fair! She looked up at me with her big green eyes and they were so full of life and spunk. Almost like she was saying "What's wrong mom? I'm fine!" but around her, her little body was failing. I couldn't be selfish and keep her with me forever. I had to let her go. Reluctantly, I signed the paperwork. I must've taken 5 minutes to sign my name on the euthanization form. I couldn't believe this would be it. My precious baby.
Finally around 4 o'clockpm (I had been in there for hours since noon) the vet came back in and I laid her on the table and whispered how much I loved her. In tears I held my baby. The vet explained to me the procedure and got the shot ready. I couldn't look at her do it and I bawled as I held onto Dot. My mom hugged and held me. "It's okay mommy has you baby, you won't be in anymore pain I love you Dot I love you so much" She did her loud meow as the vet put the shot in. I heard a deep breath and heard her last soft "brrrr." as tears streamed down my face and stroked her and held her. I could almost feel her tiny soul leaving her body. Finally the vet softly said, "She's gone" I stood up and turned and hugged my mom crying.
I received a clay paw imprint of my little Dot and took it home. I was numb from crying so much. Loss is never EVER easy especially someone so special being in your life for so long. I'd never had to do that before. It was a very rough day. Lately I've been experiencing a lot of the 5 stages of grief in various orders. I would get angry and snippy with someone trying to help me. I would cry and cry. I feel enormous guilt over things I did or didn't do right. Even Denial like "She just can't be gone just can't be"
Just all of it.
My dearest friends have been amazingly supportive through this time of loss. Some drew me pictures. Some tried cheering me up. Some sat and talked with me about death and loss and fond memories of Dot. Some comforted me and reassured me when I'd ask "what did I do wrong?" Others have shared the loss of their beloved pets. My friend who'd lost her black cat a year or so ago told me they were having a fun black cat party on the other side.
Loss is a terrible thing to go through. I know it's part of life and the seasons. I've been listening to the "I'll Fly" song in My Little Pony where my favorite pony, Rainbow Dash, tries to keep winter from coming so she wouldn't have to say goodbye to her pet tortoise when he leaves to hibernate. The whole episode, "Tanks for the Memories" is a beautiful symbolic episode about loss. I kept thinking, "I wanted to stop winter (death) from coming, but I can't, as the seasons change, and life must go on"
The start to the new year 2019 has not been a great one so far. Many of my friends have helped me saying my positivity will shine through and brought me comfort saying I did everything right and that they are here for me. Some even drew me nice pictures. It brings me comfort knowing that Dot is now pain free. It helps me to think she's an angel, in heaven with other pets we've lost, and that she's watching over me and waiting for me to join her again one day. Her and Cuddles and all my other beloved lost loved ones.
In death, it's really really hard not to think of the death. I just keep replaying how her death happened , everything leading up to it down to her last meow as I held her close and what I wouldn't give for another minute with her. I know it had to happen sometime. But it never feels like it'll be "today". But I also feel like, the ones we've lost would not want us to mourn and only remember their death. But to celebrate their life. Their time on Earth. Dot had a wonderful 18 years on this Earth with me and I'm so very happy I was able to give her that life. I didn't just adopt a cat that day when I registered for High School. I found a friend. A best friend. A friend who will live on in my heart forever with my other friends in my heart and my memories. She was a beautiful house panther. Lots of cuddles and snuggles. Very chirpy and talkative. Lots and lots of fond memories. The way she'd roll over and show off her belly with her dots. She actually had 3 going down her underbelly but the one on the chest was the most prominent. She would even chirp if you booped it! She loved chasing her tail. Also, when I got my 2 new puppies, Daisy and Lily, she got along with them fine but she made sure THEY knew SHE was the boss! She'd come to sit on my lap and meow at them and they'd back off haha! She was always so soft and loving and cuddly. But also graceful and majestic. But man also fearless! Once, in another house, she was in my room but the window was slightly open, door was closed. I came back and somehow she was on the back porch. She had slid under the window to the tiny window sill and jumped from the bedroom window to the outide porch! Another time, in fact just last year when I moved into my new house after my divorce, I left the window open to air out the house/get fresh air and to let her look out. I didn't think she'd jump but she did, jumped right outside to go explore!
Dot is also immortalized through my art. I have art of her. Drawings other people have made and that I have made. She's also animated in my cartoons! A big one is that she is animated in my first full length feature film! Noel the Elf picks her up and hugs her! I also have so many treasured videos and pictures, and even recordings of her meows that I can animate too! So it's like she's right here with me! I have her clay paw print which I'm thinking of getting tattooed somewhere. Her ashes will be returned to me and I'll have a memorial spot of her on one of my shelves, with pictures and the drawings people made.
I was also thinking of making a drawing or pictures of her to help cope with my loss. I know writing this certainly did. It helped me to get out my thoughts and emotions and memories of my sweet beloved baby. My precious Dot. Pictures are worth a thousand more words so let me share with you the life I shared with my beautiful Dot.
Rest peacefully baby girl. My sweet angel. My best friend. My little Dot.
You're not in pain anymore. You're free. Fly free on the Rainbow bridge.
You'll always be in my heart, you'll always be in my memories. You left a pawprint on my heart.
Thank you for coming into my life and enriching it. You were the most beautiful, amazing, sweet, precious, unique kitty ever. My little angel sent from heaven. Please come visit mommy sometime, she misses you and still thinks she can hear your "brrrmeow!" in the room. She still thinks any moment you're going to walk over and demand a spot on her lap. Mommy loves you that much and always will. In her memories will forever echo:
Mommy: ♫Who's a pretty kitty? ♫