On December 1, 2018, my cat Greedo (which my girlfriend and me later named Schinken (translated: Bacon)) sadly passed away. This blog entry should serve as a tribute to its life and also as a new start to pick up blogging again which had stopped since that day.
If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you might have realized that I usually try to keep up the daily writing routine. But sometimes life can throw unexpected stones in your way, often ones you can’t easily jump over and forget about, especially when emotional baggage is concerned. Now there are lots of bloggers who love nothing more than posting pictures of their pets or other animals and write about them. I haven’t done anything like that, but I really felt to do this now. Something I had to do before starting to blog again about fun stuff.
Of course this doesn’t mean only sad stories and pictures to share. If you’d had asked me in December or the following months, I would probably have written something very different or I would have stopped writing altogether because of tears in my eyes. Maybe it’s difficult to understand for some people who don’t have pets or who don’t have an emotional connection to animals. But for me, it has been a terrible period of time in which I couldn’t bring myself to continue blogging as if nothing had happened. Obviously I can’t and won’t forget my cat’s death, the final hours, minutes, seeing it put to sleep (and here tears come again if I want to or not) and burying it. Whoever tells you that it’s just a pet, that it’s the way life is, and that you don’t have to be over-dramatic, is just someone who’s not you, who simply can’t feel like you. It hurts the moment you realize you won’t see, hear, or feel your cat again when you get home. And it will continue hurting, maybe less and less as the days, weeks, months, and years pass by, but it will always be there. You can’t ignore it, you won’t forget it, because if you do, as with all emotional baggage and problems you try to push away, it will come back with full force. After all, we’re not robots, but human, coping with what life throws at you in different ways. Getting over it is a slow process and everyone should deal with it however he or she likes.
Before I present some anecdotes and photos, I’d like to say a few words about how I got my cat and what its health problems were to better understand why this affected me in such a way that it was impossible for me to write for quite some time. First, I don’t quite remember the day or even month when it entered my life. It had no name, so I called it “Greedo”, but more about this later. I knew that I came back from my academic year in Birmingham, UK, to my new home in Germany and I lived there on my own for a little while. It was the end of 2008 or the beginning of 2009, because it was in January 2009 that I posted some pictures on Facebook, but details about exact dates are fuzzy.
My cat was simply left behind in another apartment by the tenants, a sad story to begin with. However, it didn’t take long for it to jump on my lap with a happy purr, even if it was to the sound of whirring chainsaws and guns in the Xbox 360 game Gears of War. Of course I played it with the volume turned down, but somehow the higher the noise level, the faster my cat would fall asleep, except for very high-pitched sounds. Suffice it to say that Michael Bay movies were the perfect lullabies, as crazy as it sounds. Having a compulsion to jump into any big or small box is a trait many cats share, but what is even stranger is that my cat slept in the (open) animal cage/box one would usually carry to the vet. Another peculiarity was how he crossed his paws as if he knew how fluffy they felt (one could even hold them without being afraid to get bitten or clawed). Maybe not as cute but just as strange was the way how each time after having done his number two business, he would happily run around as fast as he could, often proving that he wasn’t only able to sleep very long, but also that there was some power in his legs, even if he didn’t show any cat killer instincts, losing interest in most games (except for chasing light).
The cat took longer to eat something, but when it finally did, it was more than greedy to gulp it down. That’s how I came up with the name Greedo, and because I was and still am a Star Wars fan. But it wasn’t just being greedy for eating, but for drinking as well. Greedo was obviously interested in jumping on and into all sorts of things because of his inquisitive nature, but the first thing to get in was probably the tub (and later the sink), waiting for me to let the water run. The sound of fluids of any kind being poured into a glass triggered something in him that he would be there and look at me with those big black eyes. As cute as it sounds, it already hinted at something which would become one of his biggest health problems… Greedo suffered from a kidney disease, so normal food was soon out of the question, replaced by special urinary food which was dry and obviously made him even thirstier.
After having overcome these problems, life got better. Even if my cat had the habit of tearing down wallpapers and clawing his way through sofas, it turned out to be the best companion in an animal one could have. It slept a lot, but it was always there. The strangest thing was that every time when I lay down on the sofa or in bed, it lay right down beside me or at my feet. It also seemed to make sure that one wouldn’t leave the house, as it was frequently found in and on shoes as well as in and on bags. Important sheets of paper and documents one would need for work in addition to clothes baskets weren’t safe, either, although it never made it into the washing machine, at least not completely. Of course when I was away, I was greeted with a lot of loud meowing. Not the best thing for neighbors passing by when he heard noises, but it showed his affection and that he couldn’t be alone. Another pet would have been an idea, but Greedo was already enough for two cats.
Greedo was one of the kindest cats one could imagine. Other cats would go crazy and take an attack or defend position when they saw other animals, but Greedo was just curious. Despite a few scratches, it didn’t really bite, usually just licking one’s fingers and maybe nibbling on one’s fingernails. It remained a house cat, because outside there would be a high chance to get run over by cars. While it might not be what nature intended, it was still the best solution to keep it calm and free from harm. A few outside trips to the balcony were okay, although Greedo could get overly excited at times and even tried to squeeze through the lattice.
Unfortunately being a house cat and eating quite well added to the urinary problem, so he suddenly had to undergo an operation to clear his urinary tract. It again got better until November 2018 when things happened too fast: two operations in two days and two weeks of wearing a protection collar around its neck because of a catheter. Then Greedo (which my girlfriend and me called Bacon because of its size) stopped eating and desperately tried to urinate. Seeing it slowly become so weak that it became lethargic and couldn’t stand on its four legs anymore… the only way was putting it to to sleep despite all the best efforts. Trying to go from one doctor to another didn’t help anymore, as all organs started to fail…
Writing this now again brings tears to my eyes, and I actually didn’t want to go into too much detail, but there’s no helping it. The only way to cherish Greedo’s/Schinken’s life that started in 2008/2009 and ended in 2018 is to remember the good times and share the best memories. Going through all the photos that would fill a whole 1 TB hard disk, it’s very difficult to make a selection, but I’ve tried, anyway. So here’s to the best cat I’ve ever had. There were others I shared time and love with at my grandparents’ house, but Greedo was and still is a huge part of my life that can’t be replaced. Hopefully this blog entry will help to keep it alive in my heart and maybe even in those who just read this and look at these photos.