Friday, March 19, 2010

Rest in peace Rio

Rest in peace Rio! I sure am going to miss you. 08/03/1991 to 03/18/2010
I thought I would do a short post in honor of my cat Rio. This is for any fellow animal lovers whose pets are also their companions. I also have friends who don't get that close to their pets and that's fine too. I'm not a fanatic but my pets become part of the family. Rio was my birthday present when I turned 21. She has been my companion for just about half of my life. That is a long time. I was still in college when I got her and I was like a little kid I was so excited. She was so tiny she was just a little puff ball. We weren't supposed to have cats so we had to keep a low profile.

Over the years she traveled with me to the various places I moved to (Chicago, Southern Illinois, Madison, WI). She was pretty out of joint when I got our second cat Buca. She was 4 and was queen of the roost. It was amazing how she reacted. She wouldn't let me come near her for 3 whole months! She would hiss at me and literally was downright mad. She finally came around and several years later Buca became her wrestling mate. I don't think they were ever "close" as far as cats go, but she tolerated him. She really seemed to like "punching" him with her little paws and jumping on him and chasing him during their wrestling matches.

She was funny in that she was never very friendly to strangers. She kept her distance and growled or hissed if you tried to pet her. But hang around with her for a while (like my husband learned after a few months) and she would be giving you her classic "head butt" that I think was her form of a kiss. She was so affectionate. Whenever I came home from working, she would be by the door and lay on her back wanting me to scratch her chest. She'd stretch her paws out while I scratched her like she was really enjoying it. She also had this habit I call monkey cat. When she was on the chair and I stood near her, she would "walk" up my legs until her paws stretched out like a little baby with its arms up asking to be held. So I'd pick her up and put her on my shoulder and she'd nuzzle me. She could stay in this position for a while. Once I went and changed the laundry while she was hanging out on my shoulder. That was one of her famous positions. We also had our spats too. She could be moody and sometimes nip you while you were petting her. It wasn't often though.

She was really beautiful, looking like a mix of Maine Coon and Tortoiseshell with black paws, a tabby face with a white mouth, a tan tummy and orange and black/tabby markings down her back. She was an indoor cat but would love it if I took her outside on little field trips on beautiful days.

One memory that really stands out for me is during the time period right after I lost my mother (She died of breast cancer when I was 21). I would have times I would lie on the bed and just cry and cry and Rio would find me and lay on my back and stay with me. It was so comforting.

Over the last 6 months, we noticed she was throwing up more. Then she started having "accidents" and not going in her litter box. She was also losing weight. This was when I knew she would probably not be around much longer. Towards the end, she stopped eating and I think just wasted away. The vet said they could do testing but at her age I decided to just do comfort care. I gave her an IV for a few days, but then she just passed on her own in our basement. It was really hard to watch her go like that, but I am glad she could pass at home rather than putting her through the trauma of going to the vet and having someone she didn't know giving her an injection. Today I did a lot of reminiscing about the wonderful moments with her and what joy she brought to my life. I will always remember her and carry her in my heart.

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