Part Warning, Part Memory

This is Kitten, also known as: Nimbus (his “official” name), B/G/Moose, Toosie, Goose Goose, Hoose Hoose, Professor Hoose’n’Toose, Butter Bunny, Puddin’ Pants and The White Monkey of Doom. He died on Friday the 28th, after his health declined sharply due to vomiting, loss of body-temperature, dehydration and aspiration pneumonia, associated with still unexplained problems with his kidneys, liver and a possible bowel obstruction.

Kitten in Carrier

The most gratingly painful dimension to his passing are the ambiguous traces of a cause to his death (and in that culpability in it) that lure both Kristen and I to an impossible task of reconciling his otherwise young, unmitigated vitality with an assortment of factors ranging from his diet, insufficient concern on the part of his vets, insufficient advocacy on the part of his owners, and a blur of genetic factors probably never knowable. In the end, he is dead.

While not truly knowing what set the particularly irreversible chain reaction that killed him, it seems that it resided more in his body as such (i.e. his genetics or the failure of certain organs to perform their functions), rather than an immediate factor in his environment (i.e. a bowel obstruction or potentially hazardous turkey juices [my first thoughts early in this crisis]). In this regard, Kristen and I feel we fell short of our jobs as responsible pet-owners for not heeding the warnings from many of our vets of the dangers of commercial pet-food. I won’t unleash it all here, since you can find more elsewhere online, but the problems with his kidneys and his bowels seem consistent with dietary complications associated with the unnatural composition of most, if not all dry commercial cat-food. To say the least, they contain a quantity of grains not consistent with natural cat diets, but also chemicals inserted to maintain “freshness,” flavor of the ostensibly meaty ingredients, and sometimes things like ostensibly digestible plastics that serve as fillers.

For the sake of your cats, I urge you to consider exactly how irresponsible and dangerous it is to feed them a diet that, with all the appropriate translations, we would not feed a human. Some people advocate raw-meat, while others do not, and still others advocate preparing meals at home, where the ingredients can be controlled for variety and quality. I am not here to settle those debates, but to suggest that they are worthwhile. To those of limited income or unlimited miserliness, this will seem like a ridiculous luxury that only “pet-freaks” lavish on what are in the end “just” animals. Humans are “just” animals too, mind you, and a similar epidemic in our diets has at least some media and medical attention. Not many question the common knowledge of how bad too much of anything in a human diet can be, to say nothing of decades of subsisting on Purina Human Chow. Why, then, do we not sulk a little when we turn this all-too-common knowledge to the world of the animals that live with us, that are in so many ways too much like us for us to admit?

None of this will bring Nimbus back though, nor really fill his absence. Kristen and I loved him perhaps more than we loved each other, though now that is all we have. He was our little boy (not even 3 years old), and a complex, beautiful and magnificently intelligent creature. Do not under estimate the love and attention that the animals, human and otherwise, in your lives need for a full, happy and healthy life.

One thought on “Part Warning, Part Memory

  1. What a sad – but important – post. My girlfriend and I (we’re probably about the same age as you) have a 2 year-old formerly feral cat that took us a helluva a long time to figure out what was best for Charlie and especially, how MUCH he should be eating…because once-stray cats just want to keep eating and eating. Despite the obvious discomfort of Rickets, Charlie has faired well in this new environment. I wish you two the best of luck in dealing with this tragedy and hope his absence, while never capable of being filled, will subside with time and love for one another.

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