It was after midnight on Friday morning and I was watching a new DVD set. Even though my bedroom was so extremely hot, I didn't mind that my baby cat-Friendly was sitting next to me while I watched the series. Brazen had eventually joined me as well.
As I was finally starting to drift off to sleep, Brazen started making this TERRIBLE noise. Usually, when he was hot, he'd pant heavily. Sporadically he'd also have episodes where he became extremely dizzy and cross-eyed and move about tenderly to ease whatever pain he was feeling. I've never heard him make a sound like the one he was making as he was in my bed that morning.
What really alarmed me was when he hind legs wouldn't move anymore. The look on his face told me was in a lot of pain. The noise he was making made Friendly come to him and try to console him.
I frantically checked my Uber and Lyft credits to see if I could get to a 24/7 Animal Hospital I knew of. When I couldn't get a ride with either one, I tried to call a cab. No answer at two cab companies. The third one was awoken out their sleep by my call and couldn't understand what I was saying.
I finally called one of my best friends to get him to order an Uber for me. By this time Brazen wasn't making the noise anymore, but I could barely tell if he was breathing.
I threw on some clothes, grabbed his carrier, and quickly cleaned it out. As I gently lifted and slide him into it, he made a small guttural and painful sounding meow. I didn't realize then that that was his last breath.
I talked to him through the carrier; assuring him that he'd be okay and we were on our way to the Vet. I waited a half hour for the driver to arrive, and assured him my cat wouldn't cause an issue in his car. I honestly thought Brazen had just passed out from the pain he was in.
We went to the address I had for the 24/7 Animal Hospital to find out it wasn't there anymore. The driver started acting like he wanted to turn back and take me back home. I had to beg him to let me call my friend back so we can find a different 24/7 Animal Hospital the driver could take me to.
After another 10 minutes of enduring the mans' insensitive driving, I found where the Animal Hospital was relocated. I don't know what I expected, but even at Two a.m. I still thought customers would be there. Only one customer was there before me; trying to not cry while leaving their precious poodle for surgery.
As soon as the Vet looked in the carrier, she told me my cat was gone. He did look very different and very still than when I put him in an hour before, but I still thought he was passed out. Or maybe, as soon as she opened the carrier I KNEW, but couldn't accept it.
She took him in the back to confirm for me that my cat was dead. I couldn't tell her what happened because even I didn't know. I showed her the video I took of his final moments. She said based on his size and how his legs stopped functioning, it was his heart. She then asked if I wanted an Autopsy to determine his actual cause of death. As much as I wanted to know, I couldn't bear him being cut open - even after death. Then I had to prepare information for his burial.
I kept thinking that this process was moving too fast. One moment it was confirmed that Brazen was dead, the next moment I had to think of dates and look at nearby Pet Cemeteries. There wasn't a moment to fully grasp what was going on. Except when she asked me if I wanted to spend time with him before she prepared him to be shipped in the morning for burial. Maybe she saw the look of anguish and defeat on my face and figured I needed closure.
I've been through sudden animal deaths previously in my lifetime. I grew up with over 15 cats in my childhood home. Their parents would eat some of them upon birth, either my brother or I would smother them overnight because we didn't realize they'd crawl in the bed with us, or our next door neighbor/bully would commit heinous acts of animal cruelty on them and end up killing some. Back in the early 2000s, I had a cat that passed away due to a fall.
Yet as traumatizing as all these instances were, nothing was more affecting than saying goodbye to my Tiger Brazen. His mouth was open as he lay on the table, and she wrapped him in a cute cartoon kitty blanket. I couldn't even speak to him through my sobbing. All I could do was say I was sorry over and over to him.
I wished I could've been a better cat mom to him. I wished I'd taken him to the vet every three months. I wish I had the money to get his fur groomed in the summers. I wished I had been able to get a licensed collar for him. None of that matters now. On Friday, June 23, 2017, my cat Brazen Steele died.