The Kitty Who Taught This Fatass How to Love

meowser-48.jpg posted by meowser

Seems like there have been plenty of sad kitty stories going around the Fatosphere in the last year. Scroll on by if you don’t wish to read another.

A week ago Saturday I lost the most wonderful kitty friend I have ever had. That’s him, above. His name was Pendo — his name had already had been bestowed upon him by my pet sitter in San Francisco, who rescued him. She told us it was a Swahili word for “love and friendship,” and after meeting him for five seconds and feeling his silky head burrow into our hands, my now-ex and I couldn’t think of a better name for him. He just radiated love, and we knew he’d be a wonderful friend.

As a kitten, he’d been left for dead in a Dumpster with the rest of his littermates, with a corneal ulceration which we had to give him medicine for (the vet said it was from feline herpesvirus). How can people do shit like that to animals and live with themselves? He never did recover full sight in his right eye. And a couple of years ago, a routine vet exam had turned up a heart murmur that led to a diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (thickened heart valve). So all things considered, the fact that he made it to age 9-1/2 is pretty miraculous.

And he loved me so much.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I always love my cats and goosh incessantly over them, and I’ve got two others I adore and would hate to lose. But with Pendo, I knew somehow it would hurt that much more to see him go. More than any other cat I ever knew, he needed me — not just for survival, but for closeness — and wasn’t afraid to let me know it, night and day, every day.

I had gotten custody of him in the divorce (along with Binkley, my icon-kitty), and I can truly say that when I had nobody else around to love me nonstop like I needed then, he did. I told myself it was projection, it didn’t count like winning over a human did, all I had to do was feed him, all this…crap. Of course it “counts” to be loved by an animal. Does it ever! Sure, Pendo loved everyone, it seemed — even other cats! — but it was my attention he wanted most, always. Always wanted to engage with me. Always wanted to make sure I was awake and paying attention. Zoning out with a computer screen or a book? He’d fix that. He was a chatty guy — he meowed more than all my other cats combined — and he had quite the vocabulary of chirps, beeps, epic-yowls-of-boredom, polysyllabic squeaks, and don’t-put-me-in-that-carrier-again screams.

He could be exhausting. It seemed like he wanted everything, all at once. “Feed me! No, play with me! No, pet me! Do it all! I want I want I want!” I actually had to leave the house if I wanted to write, most of the time. A lot of the time, his meowfests would culminate in me following him around telling him to show me what he wanted, only to have him walk two rooms over and flop on the floor with his belly in the air. Like he couldn’t have done that in the room we were already in. (And yep, he ate into blogtime, too, no question.) But I truly believe I wouldn’t have been able to love Chris the way I have if not for Pendo, all out, not hiding anything. And he feels likewise, that Pendo was someone who unlocked his heart, who got him to feel for an animal the way he never thought he could have.

I was probably in a bit of denial about just how serious his heart condition really was. I knew cats with HCM typically didn’t live a full life span (and trying to get him to take his meds was a nightmare beyond belief) but I was hoping against hope that he’d be the exception. After all, he had no clinical symptoms; if not for the vet hearing the murmur, I’d never even have known about it. And the ultrasound said the valve was only “mildly” thickened. And yes, he was the one cat I had who was “normal” weight, the one I could point to and say, “See, I have one thin cat! The fat mom really doesn’t have them all hooked up to chocolate pudding IVs, honest!” But he was the one with the biggest health issues, and as it turned out, the most expensive ones thus far. (I haven’t had to take Binkley, who might be the biggest cat you’ve ever seen in your life, in for anything but routine vet care since he was a kitten, and that’s almost 8 years now. And Zevon actually weighs quite a bit less than him now and has been mostly fine since the food switch, about which more later.) I pretty much had to clean out my life savings to try to save Pendo after he collapsed in the living room two days before he died, screaming in agony, and they couldn’t save him. When they treated his heart, his kidneys started failing, and that was that.

Now he’s gone, nothing left but his hair clipping and paw print card and ashes, and I can’t believe how quiet it is in here. He just filled the place up with all his commotion and noise — and oh yes, love and love and love and love. He packed a lot of living into those 9-1/2 years, just like his mom — I counted no fewer than ten different residences I had with him during his life (although only two in the last five years), in four different states. I wish things had been a little less hectic for both of us during all that time. But when I close my eyes and picture him, he tells me I gave him everything a cat could want. And now he wants me to go get everything I want, everything I put on hold or slowed to a crawl to take care of him, and says that anyone who can’t see what I have to offer doesn’t know what they’re missing. Fat feels great when you’re curled up on the pillow next to mommy and she’s got her nice soft arms around you, holding your back feet just like you want her to. Who cares what other people think?

We have kind of a running gag now, Chris and I, that when one of us wants something like a chocolate hazelnut milkshake (in January!) or a long luxurious nap, that “Pendo would want us to.” Of course, Pendo would just want me to quit my job, too, and the hell with having health insurance — I used to tell him that if he paid my salary, I’d be happy to just follow him around the house and watch him do his stop and plop for eight hours a day. It would be a lot more fun than listening to doctor-drone. But you know, having two people who worked out of the house, he probably got more fuzzy-face time than a lot of cats who live full life spans do. I really did give him everything a cat could want. And he really did know more about how to love — and accept — better than most humans. He’d want you to have that chocolate hazelnut shake, too, even if you never got to meet him.

Sleep tight, furbaby.

27 Responses to “The Kitty Who Taught This Fatass How to Love”

  1. buttercup Says:

    I’m so sorry, honey. I know how it feels to lose your heart that way. My Max was that for me. Thank you for giving him the best life any cat could hope for.

  2. meerkat Says:

    He was a great cat. I’m glad he had people who loved him.

  3. Veronica Says:

    Sorry for your loss! But I’m happy for you that you learned something from him that improved your life! And I cried as I read this – at work.

  4. Patsy Nevins Says:

    I send you my condolences & best wishes for your healing. He was a lucky kitty to have you & you were very lucky that you had him. I know that he will be in your heart forever.

  5. vesta44 Says:

    Pendo was a lucky cat to have you, and I’m so sorry for your loss.

  6. Jennifer K. Says:

    Very good looking cat. I’m sorry for your loss.

  7. Ellen Brand Says:

    My condolences on the loss of your cat. This was an absolutely beautiful tribute to him. (I’m sniffling as I write this.) My cat Rodeo died thirteen and a half years ago… I still miss the little brat, but it does get better. *hugs*

  8. shyvixen Says:

    Pendo sounds a lot like my kitty Sparkles. Your kitty left this life knowing he was very loved. There’s nothing more important than that.

  9. Twistie Says:

    Better 9 1/2 years of this kind of love than a longer life without the love.

    (hugs you tight)

    Kitties know when someone truly loves them. Pendo was every bit as lucky to have you as you were to have him.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go cling to my talky, demanding furbaby. Pendo sounds an awful lot like my Jake, and believe me I know I’m damn lucky to have him.

    And at the earliest opportunity I fully intend to have a chocolate hazelnut shake in Pendo’s honor. He’d want me to do it.

  10. TropicalChrome Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and for all the people who will never get to meet Pendo. May the joy of the years you had with him continue to bring you joy.

  11. the fat nutritionist Says:

    So, so sad, and so sweet. He looks (and sounds) like he was a real champ.

  12. buffPuff Says:

    Ah, meowser, I’m so sorry for your loss. These little creatures leave a massive crater in our hearts and lives when they leave – especially the noisy ones. (I have one of those and I love him to bits and, frankly, he can take food or leave it most of the time; it’s cuddles and chats he wants out of me, pretty much round the clock). May Pendo rest in peace; I’ll raise my next Oreo milkshake to his memory.

  13. meowser Says:

    Awww, thanks, y’all! (And Pendo thanks you, too!)

  14. Judith B Says:

    What a lovely story! Here’s to Pendo! (takes swig from cup of tea). My Maggie was a stray who turned up on my doorstep skinny soaking wet and bedraggled. Of course I invited her in, and she’s been here ever since (nearly a year now) and like Pendo it’s company and love she wants, food is secondary.

  15. Piffle Says:

    He sounds like a wonderful cat.

    Of course they’re all wonderful in their own ways, I still miss my little girl who died five years ago. She spent her whole life convinced that one day I’d roast her for dinner, all seventeen years of it; despite seeing that her brothers managed not to get roasted despite spending all the time they could snookering the humans into fussing over them. Her kidneys failed at the end too

  16. KellyK Says:

    Pendo sounds like a wonderful cat, a lot like my two, Tom and Haley. Lovey lovey lovey cats.

    I’m really sorry for your loss, but glad that you gave the cat a good life full of love. I’m sure he knew how much you loved him.

  17. spacedcowgirl Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful little guy and how cool for both of you that you had the time together that you did. It must be unbearably sad for you right now, but I hope the good memories bring you some comfort in the coming weeks and months.

  18. Karen the sheepdog mom Says:

    I’m so sorry, and I know the pain, in ways related. How could they leave us, once we were so accustomed to the Presence they shone on us? Dear ones! Thank you for the trust in us, and the ways you helped us grow.

  19. Val Says:

    My deepest sympathy – it’s never easy to lose ’em , even when you know it’s inevitable…
    Here I was, all braced for my ancient kitty who seemed to be in decline – but she has rallied [for the time being] while instead the Angel of Death swooped down to take my oldest horse! Damnit that none of ’em live long enough…

  20. Rosa Says:

    I’m so sorry, Meowser. I lost my First Cat this time last year and I’m right with you on the joy of a needy/loving cat.

  21. Kate217 Says:

    ((((((((((((Meowser)))))))))))) You have my sincerest condolences.

    I still dream about my Tigerlily and she’s been gone for almost 30 years. She liked everyone, but she loved me. I was hers. I honestly don’t think I would have made it through my teens (with undiagnosed clinical depression) without her.

    My next extra-caramel Frappucino will be in honor of Pendo: gone in body, but with you always.

  22. Emerald Says:

    I’m so sorry, Meowser. Such a beautiful little guy. We lost our Mooffy last year, and the gap is still huge. She was very much the conversationalist, too, and the place seems so quiet without her.

  23. fatfairy Says:

    I’m so sorry about Pendo.

  24. Meowser Says:

    (((all the kitties and their people)))

    I guess the most encouraging thing about all this is that before it happened, I was sure that losing him would make me take to my bed for a month. If it had happened two years ago when my depression was really bad, I might have wound up in the hospital myself. Yay functional mental health baseline. 😛

  25. Tiptoe Says:

    Just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. I lost my oldest Boxer this past December. It was so difficult. Though I have three other dogs who give me plenty of joy, sometimes there is something extra special about that one animal that means so much to you.

    It sounds like Pendo knew how much you cared for him and in return he did the same, teaching so many lessons along the way.

    I hope you find comfort in memories and know that he is in kitty heaven now.

    Btw, read your other post, and I do raw food for my dogs. I think it is a great thing for cats too!

  26. And Now I Am Deathfat… « fat fu Says:

    […] The Kitty Who Taught This Fatass How to Love […]

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