Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Remembering Zen-zen 11 Manik 0 Yaxkin
If he was sleeping and I touched him, he would make this little noise, like an "umph", open his eyes slightly to see it was me and then purr and go back to sleep.
At night, he'd climb purring onto me and flop onto my pillow on his side, facing Willy. I would turn my face into his soft belly fur and curl my arms up around him and he'd purr and we'd sleep. I woke up once last night curled like that around a ghost.
He always wanted to be with me. If I was using the computer, he'd lay next to the monitor or on my arm or curl up between my back and the chair, purring madly. He was always a very purring kitty. When he was a kitten he purred so loud you could hear him in another room.
His fangs showed outside of his lips all the time and sometimes we called him Fang-cat.
He used to chew on Nutter and engulf half of Nutter's head in his mouth. You'd always know because half of Nutter's head would be wet and sometimes slightly pink because Zen would chew so vigorously that his gums would bleed. Sometimes he did bite Nutter and hurt him--Nutter would have little scabs on his neck. Nutter rarely complained, just sat there and let himself be chewed on and his ears licked. They would sleep together curled in a black and white yin-yang ball.
Zen could be pretty stupid too. He would fall off the couch or bed in his sleep. He'd be with me and then get up to go eat or pee or wander and a few minutes later he would start to howl. I'd call him and he'd make a happy noise and run to me and climb onto me purring as if he thought he'd lost me forever, even though I hadn't moved from where he left me.
In the morning, as I read my email and did my blog postings and other computer-stuff, he and Nutter would come into the bird room and wait for me to feed them. I'd turn and there he'd be, sitting or laying on the floor, just looking at me. As soon as I shifted or got up, he'd get up too and proceed into the kitchen to sit by the empty food bowls, or in the corner by the cabinet with the food, and keep looking at me. Nutter's the loud one when it comes to being fed. Zen was always quiet and patient, except when it came to milk. If I had milk, he wanted some. We couldn't even SAY milk or he would get happy and want some. My brother-in-law made a "got milk" commercial for film school a few years ago. It was filmed at our house and involved potheads eating brownies and then running out of milk. Interspersed with the potheads wailing for their milk were shots of Zen drinking it.
He lived about half his life with half a tongue. He had a couple of surgeries to removed dead/infected material. Although the tip of his tongue was left intact, a big scoop was missing from the right side. It took him a little while but he learned to eat and drink that way. He curled the tip of his tongue into the gap and used the left side of his tongue as the tip. Often instead of drinking right from his bowl, he'd dip his foot and then lick the water off his paw.
His whole life he was plagued with allergies. As a kitten, his head would swell, or he would get these granulomas down the back of his legs (like the seam on a stocking). Once one of his paws split open along the edge of the leathery pad; we never did figure out what he did to it. He had to get cortisone shots and once in a while pills. But as he got older his allergies got less severe. He was allergic to chicken, soy and turkey. Try finding cat food with none of those ingredients, and add in my hatred for fish and you'll see that he spent his life eating every flavor of beef cat food I could find. I am convinced that somehow his allergies were to blame for the fluid build-up in his chest. He was breathing like that in the spring when he was diagnosed with the thyroid problem and he had full bloodwork done and there was nothing wrong with his heart.
Zen was the most loving cat I've ever had or known. He always purred. He loved to be carried and hugged (unlike Nutter who hates to be held). He always wanted to be near or on humans. As a new-born kitten he was handled constantly by the owner's grandchildren and I think that's why. Nutter was never handled before I brought him home. When I became a Reiki Master I attuned Zen and his paws would sometimes be warm when he slept on me. When I taught Reiki or had someone over for a session, Zen was always there, climbing onto the person, purring, checking out the best place to lay and give his own brand of healing.
When he was a kitten I put a flea collar on him and he had a skin reaction which caused all the fur which touched the collar to fall out. That fur grew in white so he had a little frosting of white around his neck. With the years it slowly turned darker again, or maybe just because he was bigger the same amount of white fur seemed smaller. At his biggest he was around 16 pounds but when he died he was down to 12.
He was perfectly happy for me to carry him everywhere. He would either curl into my arms or against my shoulder, or climb onto my shoulders and lay across the back of my neck. When he was first sick with the thyroid thing I actually borrowed my friend's baby Snuggli because I was spending all my time carrying Zen around. I was too fat for the Snuggli and anyway it wasn't what I thought--I was thinking papoose but it had arms and leg holes which wouldn't have worked. When we went to the vet he would sit on the back of my neck while we waited. He did that on Monday and I reassured him that nothing bad would happen and that I would be with him. And then they took him and probably extracting the fluid hurt him and then he died and I wasn't there and I didn't kiss him goodbye. Please, I hope he knows that wasn't my choice. I was happy that he was breathing better and ready to come take him home and the doctor called to say he was gone.
He liked to go outside too, but he wasn't a fanatic about it. He had a purple harness and leash and I'd tie him to the clothesline. But he would get wound up in the chair legs, and one time he slipped the harness and walked away. He'd eat grass and throw up. We tried bringing him to my grandmother's for a while, but he really didn't like the car and he peed on Grandma's armchair and on the edge of her bed so we stopped bringing him.
He wasn't a perfect cat. He could be too demanding of affection, being smothering. He was always knocking things down. He peed in the bed and on any clothes that were left on the floor anywhere in the house. He liked to chew on my fingers and toes and sometimes he had horrible breath which would transfer to my hands, so I'd go to touch my face and be bowled over by the stench on my skin.
But I can't believe that he's gone. I look at his picture and know he was just here. How can he be gone? He's my kitty. So many of my beloved pets have left me in the last year. How could Zen leave me too?
Last night Nutter laid at the end of the bed watching the doorway, waiting for his friend. When Will came upstairs he got all happy for a moment and then starting meowing at him as if to say "Didn't you bring Zen?" He kept leaving the room and then coming back and watching the door again. I don't know if he's figured out his buddy is gone. I had Nutter for 2 days when I got Zen and at first he hated Zen. Zen was the runt, he weighed less than a pound and was sick constantly as a kitten. Everyone told us to put him to sleep. I refused because he was so loving. But eventually they got to be friends-best friends. The couple of times Zen escaped from the house, Nutter flipped out, howling and going through the house looking for his friend, not eating. But this time Zen's not going to meow at the back door to be let in. He's gone Home. My baby kitty, who I love so much, he's gone. And it hurts so much.

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