Meowasaurus Tanner passed away last Thursday. I’d like to say that she went peacefully. She didn’t. She left this world about as dramatically as a living thing can.
Like her short time on earth, Meowasaurus’ death was anything but pretty. Let’s call a spade a spade. It was an ugly, ugly death.
RIP, Meowasaurus Tanner, RIP.
“I want the gray one,” Katie told me.
It was 2014. We were at the Human Society in St. Paul. Looking for a replacement for Fluffalufagus.
Fluffalufagus was a black cat. I bought Fluffalufagus when I was twenty. Way back in 2000. She was with me for about fourteen years. I loved that black cat. She traveled with me into adulthood. I eulogized Fluffalufagus poetically in a blog on my previous website. I’d link to that tender writing, but the site is no longer live. Like my cat Meowasaurus. I suspect that this eulogy about Meowasaurus will be less tender.
Anyway. It was 2014:
“I want the black one,” I told Katie. I liked black cats.
“To replace Fluffalufagus?”
At least I was honest. I’ve always had a thing for black cats. My first pet was a black cat named Cato. She traveled with me through my childhood. Helped me process my parents’ divorce, moving to different schools, and all the trauma described here. So we purchased a small black kitten in 2014. Despite Katie’s professed desire for the gray one. Another in a line of black cats. Brought her home and named her Meowasaurus.
Solomon was about six months old when Meowasaurus came into our lives. That kitten would curl up next to him on his baby blanket. Meowasaurus stole pieces of his cheese during lunch. Chased him around our townhouse in St. Paul. It was all very cute.
There were less cute things about Meowasaurus. She often chose to avoid her litterbox. Pooped on the floor instead. Yuck.
Later, when we moved to Pennsylvania, Meowasaurus began to have seizures. Did her condition stem from the anxiety of a 14-hour drive from Minneapolis to State College? It’s possible. Regardless, I watched her seize soon after we came to Central Pennsylvania. I took her to the vet.
“We can send her to Pittsburgh for some neural scans,” the vet told me. “It’ll be about $3,000 dollars.”
I laughed out loud. I’m poor. I could barely afford the $100 vet appointment, let alone thousands of dollars of neural scans.
So I took Meowasaurus home. She was never really okay after that. More often than not, Meowasaurus pooped outside of her litterbox. Wobbled when she walked. Was very finicky. Fell off tables chairs. Drooled. That sort of thing. The creature was not well.
Still, Meowasaurus lived. She liked to lay on my chest when I stroked her ears. Meowasaurus was very docile with the boys. Samson liked to “fluff her.” This involved grabbing her stomach and trying to poof her fur. Solomon liked to rest his head on her jello-y stomach.
Meowasaurus was relegated to our basement after we bought our house in Pennsylvania. I didn’t want her fur or poop upstairs. Don’t get me wrong, the basement is finished and comfortable. But that became her lair. With her sister Yara.
The boys loved Meowasaurus. Katie tolerated her. I’d bring her upstairs to sit on my lap when we played Mario Kart or Monopoly. Otherwise, she was, in Samson’s words, a downstairs Kitty.
And so it was until last week. Then Meowasaurus became a dead kitty.
I noticed that Meowasaurus was breathing heavily a week or so ago. She wasn’t in pain. But her body seemed to shudder with each rapid breathe. Seemed like it was getting worse. She was eating and drinking and pooping (outside of her litterbox) like always, but I grew worried.
“Should I take her to the vet?” I asked Katie.
“I don’t know? Yes?”
Meowasaurus’ breathing became even more labored last Thursday. And I was leaving for a conference in Baltimore the next day.
“I don’t want you to have to deal with her if anything happens while I’m gone,” I told Katie.
“Me neither,” Katie said. “We should’ve bought the gray one.”
I scheduled an appointment at the emergency vet in State College on a Thursday evening. I was worried that appointment would mean putting Meowasaurus – who was only five-years old – down.
“I’ve got some bad news,” I told Solomon after he got off the bus. “I have to take Meowasaurus to the doctor tonight and she might not come back.”
Solomon looked at his mother to see if I were joking. I often joke about Meowasaurus to the boys. Talk about how mommy needs to be nicer to her. Talk about how she’s an airplane pilot. Or a teacher at their school. That sort of thing. Am I crazy? Maybe. Still, Solomon knows enough to look to Katie whenever I bring up Meowasaurus. He’s skeptical of me. That’s a good thing. Kids should be skeptical when it comes to the things adults tell them.
Anyway, we convinced Solomon I was telling the truth. Solomon and Samson got very, very sad. They stroked Meowasaurus vigorously all afternoon. 5:00 came around. It was time for me to leave.
“Let’s say goodbye to Meowasaurus,” I told the boys. They did. They were very sad.
Samson wanted to watch me put Meowasaurus in her cage. Solomon too. Meowasaurus was not happy as I got her into a kennel, loaded her into Katie’s car, and drove her to the vet.
The kennel was in the passenger seat. I tried to stroke Meowasaurus’ head as we drove. Calm her down. I talked to her. Told her was sorry. She eyed me as I drove.
We arrived at the animal hospital. I put Meowasaurus’ kennel down to work on some paperwork. She was convulsing a little. Clearly unwell. I tried to fill out the forms quickly.
An old woman, she looked like a crazy cat lady, was sitting in the waiting room.
“Is that cat okay?” she asked one of the women behind the counter.
“I don’t know,” the woman said.
I was silent. No, the cat wasn’t okay. Hadn’t been for a long time. If ever.
I raced to finish filling out the forms. I figured Meowasaurus was having a seizure. Or would have a seizure. She never did well with stress.
They called us back. I set the cage down when we got to the room. Meowasaurus began to convulse. Another seizure. I watched as she sputtered and shook. And then her eyes glazed over. This wasn’t all that alarming. After previous seizures, Meowasaurus lost consciousness. Still, this one was particularly dramatic. Ugly, even.
The vet came into the room.
“She just had a seizure,” I told him.
He looked at Meowasaurus. His eyes got wide.
“Let me take her back.”
He left the room with my cat. He returned a moment later.
“She’s gone,” he told me.
“I figured,” he said.
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
“I sort of expected this would happen. She wasn’t well.”
He left again. Meowasaurus didn’t even have the decency to get checked out before she left this world. Again, that cat wasn’t well. Ever.
They showed me burial plans. A smarter man would have left with the cat’s body. Buried her in the backyard. I spent $184 dollars I don’t have to get her cremated.
I spent the evening working through mortality with Solomon and Samson. She’s gone forever. Meowasaurus lives on inside of us. Cat heaven. That sort of thing. I do believe in the immortal energy of living things. But I’ve never had to talk that out with little boys. What a trip. They were very sad.
Yara, our other cat, has now outlived both her sisters. She’s a trouper.
I left for a conference in Baltimore the next morning. I told one of my closest collaborators about what had happened.
“That’s awful, Sam,” she told me. “Man, bad things happen to you in November!”
My mother died in November. Solomon had an afebrile seizure in November a few years back. Now Meowasauras died. Yikes.
My friend’s comment shook me. Bad juju. Cleansed my palate a little bit. Said some prayers. Broke the curse. That sort of thing. I like good things happening to me. Not bad things.
The conference went well. The boys processed death. And then I wrote this eulogy for Meowasaurus.
I did love that cat. Meowasaurus snuggled with me. Cuddled with me. But I’ve been bracing for her early death ever since her first seizures.
I feel bad. Wished I could’ve done more. At the very least, I wish I had just let her die at home and buried her in the backyard. Saved her the anxiety of a car ride. But I did my best to give her whatever quality of life I could. Despite her incessant pooping on the rug in the basement. And the drooling. And falling off tables. Poor thing.
Anyway, RIP Meowasaurus. Once something is conjured, a great man once wrote, it doesn’t go away. That energy keeps transforming into something else. So keep transforming, Meowasaurus, and may your energy grow healthier as the creation is redeemed.
Or something like that.