I'm about to tell you the world's saddest story.
No. This isn't about the time Firefly got cancelled. Although that was a goddamn tragedy.
Once upon a time, my doctors told me that my thyroid had sprouted a gnarly tumor. A few days later, I turned 30. Then later that exact same week, the vet executed my kitten.
Pop quiz: Which scenario upset me the most?
B) Turning old
C) Saying goodbye to my kitty
Did you eat a bowl of dumb for breakfast? Obviously the answer is C, as in C for Cat.
Because you failed the quiz, I'm forcing upon you a photo montage of my dead kitty. You're just lucky it's not a slide show played to Sarah McLaughlin's "I Will Remember You..."
My husband, Chris, gave me this kitten as a wedding gift after our courthouse marriage. We left the judge and drove to the shelter, and when we entered, a grizzled fossil of a man with a cane and a limp hobbled up to me and shoved this frowzy fur ball into my arms.
"He's not much to look at, what with being the runt of the litter and all, and he's getting bullied something bad," the man said. "The others ain't letting him eat, and I just don't think he's gonna make it unless he gets a good home."
Um, YOU try walking away after THAT.
We THOUGHT we had picked out a shy, nerdy cat. Instead, when we let him loose inside the house, he tore through it like his ass was on fire. (I can say this with some authority, because Mac did once set his own ass on fire when he fucking sat on a candle.) He was nothing short of a little shit. He knocked over water glasses, bit our toes, constantly jumped onto the off-limits banister on the deck to swat at the birds at our feeder, and cuddled like nobody's business. Every morning when I left, I said, "Toodles MacPoodles," and he meowed in response (no, seriously, he did).
So, when he fell to the floor and yowled in pain, my heart stopped beating. Or at least, that's how it felt. Chris and I whisked him to the animal emergency hospital, where we were told that Mac had a congenital heart condition. He needed to be put down. From the minute he fell to the minute I used my hand to close his eyes, only 15 minutes passed. I whispered to his little body, "Toodles MacPoodles," and bitterly noted that no response came. We'd had him for a splendid four years and four months.
(What?! I warned you that this shit was sad.)
When the slaughter was over, I sobbed. Uncontrollably. Like my 2-year-old niece when she wants a cookie. Through my snot and saliva, I bawled, "But Mac CAN'T die. You don't understand. I MIGHT HAVE CANCER! AND I JUST TURNED 30!"
I just sat there in that small, cramped little room at the animal hospital where my dead kitty's body lay, limp and longing for the soul that once occupied it. (Just when you thought I couldn't make it more macabre, I come out swinging!)
At least 50 times, I asked, "Why is God punishing me?" I asked it of Chris. I asked it of the vet. I asked it of the vet's assistant. And I asked it again when the receptionist came in and took our payment (seriously, it takes nerve to CHARGE $200 for KILLING your cat), and casually asked us: "What would you like to do with your poor kitty's body?"
For 2 Benjamins, I would've liked them to resurrect it, but since that wasn't an option, Chris and I stopped to seriously contemplate how to deal with a dead cat's corpse. And we came up with some pretty rad options:
1) Shoot us some birds
I don't know if I've mentioned this or not, but my husband and I are ex-pat Yankees living in the deep south of Dixie. And where we live, guns are sorta the cat's meow (pun both intended and unfortunate.) And by cat's meow, I mean, they are LITERALLY required by law. (No, really, the city where we first lived here in Georgia mandates that every household is required to own both a handgun and its ammunition.)
So, on the way home from the vet's, Chris turns to me and says, "We could always use Holy Smoke."
Me: "No goddamn way."
Chris: "Why not?"
Me: "Are you seriously asking me why we can't gather our cat's ashes, mail them to some hicks out in Alabama, let them stuff Mac inside of bullets, and then they ship us live ammunition containing our cat's remains?"
Chris: "I thought I could use the bullets to shoot birds from our deck. Mac would have liked it if we did that in his memory."
For realz, there's a company that gathers your loved one's ashes and turns them into lethal objects. The company, actually called Holy Smoke, advertises it's services by arguing, "Talk about a classy send off -- this is high caliber, literally. You pick the caliber."
2) Game of Drones
Once I shot down the ash-bullet idea (yay! another pun!), Chris wondered if we should keep Mac's body and follow in the footsteps of the engineering genius/mad scientist who taxidermied his cat onto a hovercraft and used it as a drone/helicopter.
If you have children in the room, remove them. Now.
Because BAM! Here it is. THIS is what Chris wanted to do to my poor Mackles's body.
In Chris's defense, I did think it would be fun to call our cat drone the Mac Attack and use it to scare the shit out of those stupid neighbor kids who skateboard in our parking garage.
3) Beary Good Business
As if bullets and heli-kitties aren't scary enough, I learned that many bereaved folks walk into their local Build-A-Bear store carrying a container housing the ashes of their loved one and PAY to have the remains enclosed in a bear.
What. The. Fuck?
Chris and I considered this option briefly, but we were worried that Mac's evil-esque influence would compromise any stuffed animal he might inhabit, and if we ever accidentally donated the bear to a thrift shop, it would come alive and eat any child that looked at it sideways.
Obviously, I went with option... oh, wait...
It Gets Worse.
Mere months after Mac passed, I cut off my hair to stave off the inevitable baldness from my treatments, I was closer to 31, and I still cried every day, wondering what I'd done to piss off God (okay, so I actually know what I did, but I'm not telling you that shit.) And just when I thought things might be not so terribly dismal...
God murdered my other kitten.
Cue the montage of Booger in his Christmas bowtie.
Look at that pile of snot-colored cuddles! Just like Mac, Booger was a wedding present of sorts. Chris and I married privately in a courthouse in July (when we obtained Mac), but we then had a gaudy ceremony and reception in September, and my total wanker of an aunt decided that she didn't want her cat anymore, so she dragged that poor feline across state lines and gave him to us as wedding present.
We didn't know what to do with him, so we just sort of shoved Booger in the house with Mac, filled up an extra food bowl, crossed our fingers, and then hopped a plane to our Jamaican honeymoon.
When we got back, we found Booger had provided a wedding contribution, too. He had puked or pissed on every. single. thing. we. owned. All of our wedding gifts sat soaked in a pile. That monogrammed china? Covered in barf. That crystal cake stand? Resting in a puddle of urine. That gorgeous angora throw? Yup. Both vomit AND tinkle juice stains.
We don't really talk to my aunt anymore.
That being said, once Boogs got past the trauma of being thrust upon ill-prepared owners who immediately abandoned him for a week straight, he proved to be the world's sweetest snuggle kitty. We fell in love with him, and he became an essential member of our quirky family. And then, four months after Mac croaked, Booger collapsed, and we found ourselves in the same douche-y vet's office.
When we brought Booger in, his heart was beating and he was breathing. So, you can imagine my displeasure when the vet walked into the waiting room (same fucking room where we learned Mac's fate) and was all like, "Well, as you probably know, your cat's dead."
No, asshole. I actually * didn't * know that. That's why I brought him here. Because you're supposed to be a healer. Seriously, WHAT IN THE NAME OF THOR DO YOU DO TO THOSE KITTIES ONCE THEY GO THROUGH THOSE DOORS?!?
Anyway, there we were again --- me asking God why, while the same receptionist asked us for $200 and a decision on what to do with our poor baby's body.
In the end, dear reader, we chose none of these options. No means of disposal was good enough for our dear Mac and Booger. Instead, we told the vet to dispose of them with dignity. Because it's what they, two dapper dudes, would've wanted. That, or the whole being-a-bullet-and-shooting-the-birds thing. They would've LOVED that.
True story: Life would be super swell if we all embraced our OMG side instead of living a Facebook-friendly existence. So, let it out. How have you disposed of your loved ones? How would you LIKE to dispose of them? Feel free to disclose details. You're safe here.