The Death Of Brazen Steele. My cat of nine years.

The Death Of Brazen Steele

Describing the night that my beloved cat died.

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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.

Cover Image Credit:

Kimberly Steele

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Those four paws are good for a lot more than just face kisses.

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Shortly before my husband and I officially moved out onto our own, he surprised me with a puppy in hand on the morning of our anniversary. Moving out, tackling college, and everything in between, I thought another huge responsibility was the last thing I needed. However, in reality, Oakley, the lab/Australian shepard/collie mix, was exactly what I needed to get back to "me."


He provides emotional support

One of the most obvious reasons is how much emotional support dogs, (and other respective animals) can provide. His paws have been accidentally stepped on, and he certainly isn't a fan of the forced flea/tick medication doses, but less than 30 seconds later, he is without fail immediately by my side again, tail wagging and ready for more kisses. Although he is not trained or certified as an ESA, it's without a doubt he has effectively (and unconsciously) combated random anxiety attacks or feelings of being alone.

He requires being cared for

You'll heavily judge every crazy fur mama, as did, I until you become one. Getting Oakley immediately got me consistently back on my feet and forced me to ask myself, "What does he need today?"Even simple, easy tasks like taking him out to run/go to the bathroom had me excited and forced me to find a motive in the day to day activities. I loved no longer having even the mere choice to be unproductive. Don't want to start your day? Well, Oakley needs his day started, so let's get moving.

He serves as protection

It's no surprise how far a dog's loyalty will go to protect their owner. For decades, specially trained dogs have had life-saving responsibilities assigned to them. Even being married, my husband and I's schedules vary significantly to where it is not uncommon for me to be alone. The slightest sound or shadow from outside our door immediately initiates barking. In the bathroom taking a shower? He's there. Knowing that Oakley is looking out, even when I get carried away with tasks like cooking dinner, always calms my nerves.

He's become something to look forward to

The nice thing about having Oakley is regardless of how my day goes, I know exactly how it is going to end. Whether I passed an exam with flying colors or got the lowest grade in the class, I know what waits for me when I open the door at home. After a long day, nothing resets my mood like walking into a face that is just as happy and excited to see me!

He encourages bonds with others

If you want your social interaction to sky rocket: get a puppy. No, I'm serious. You'll have people wanting to come over and visit "you" (let's be real… your puppy), like it's your last day on Earth. For me, this was exactly what I needed. Getting Oakley had family members constantly checking in to see how he was growing, learning, etc. Not only did this encourage more interactions with family and friends, but it also "livened" my husband and I's home life. Instead of the "normal" weekend nights consisting of Netflix and MarioKart, (which are enjoyable in their own respective ways), spending our nights playing Monkey in the Middle with our new four-legged friend has proven much more entertaining.

So ideally was it the right time to get a dog? Probably not. However, adding Oakley to my small little family combated anxiety and depression in ways I wouldn't have ever thought possible.

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When You Give A Stray Cat A Home

Most people don't know the difference between a stray cat and a community cat, yet these animals lives depend on it.

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The difference between a stray and a community cat.

Stray cats are people's pets who have become lost or abandoned. These cats are very friendly and comfortable around people. Stray cats are usually completely reliant on humans and haven't been able to adapt to life in the wild. They're the ones that will usually post up in your backyard or garage, hoping you'll feed them or give them some love. Community cats are those that have likely been raised in the wild. They've adapted to living on the streets, tend to keep their distance from humans, and like it this way. Community cats often live in colonies that allow them to live a longer life- especially with the help of a human caretaker. Caretakers provide spay/neutering, shelter, and regular feedings for community cats; allowing them to survive and live a long, happy life.

When you give a stray cat a home, you potentially save a life.

It's a tough world out there. Stray cats face many dangers in the wild like starvation and extreme weather conditions. Most of the kittens born in the wild will die within their kitten-hood due to diseases, parasites, and infection that they've been exposed to in the environment. Even then, if they survive their first few months their lifespan is still only expected to be about two years living on its own. People can be cruel and will set poison traps among other cruel attempts to eliminate the stray and community cats (In MY college town, there was food found on the side of the road where a colony of community cats lived that contained razor blades intended to harm them).

When you give a rescue a home, you give a rescue hope.

While some stray cats learn to adapt to the wild, "community cats" often tolerate human interaction, and in some ways, depend on humans for survival. These animals may be shy and abused by strangers in the past, but give them a chance. Offering help and kindness to a stray or community cat can encourage them to warm up to you, and give them a sense of hope. They have feelings too.

When you give a stray a home, you gain a best-friend

As I said before; a "home" to a stray doesn't even have to be living inside your house; a home to a stray could be your garage, under your porch, or any type of shelter around your house. Remember, these cats are likely to approach you and want affection. When you offer them shelter and food, they will become your best friend. ALL of my animals are rescues. We share a special bond, and they are so thankful and absolutely know who rescued them from the dark. They'll always be by your side and love you no matter what.

When you give a stray a home, you give them love, security, hope, and life.

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