Tag: Slick

The Post I Never Wanted to Write

Tortoise Shell Cat Painting by BZTAT
“Slick” Painting by BZTAT

I used to awaken in the middle of the night sometimes, and when I did, I would look over and see Slick sleeping soundly next to me. Sometimes she would be on my pillow, and on chilly nights, she would be under the covers snuggled behind my knees. If not next to me, she would always be somewhere close by.

She’s not there anymore.

After 18 years of being my constant companion, she has left this world and returned to her Creator’s world of spirit.

I am deeply grateful that I was gifted with her presence for so long. Nonetheless, I am really kind of lost without her.

Not the “I’m not able to function” kind of lost. Not the wandering about aimlessly kind of lost.

The “I lost my sweet girl Slick” kind of lost.

Yeah. You know what I am talking about. It is indescribable – only felt.

When a pet leaves us, we try to cheer ourselves with stories of the Rainbow Bridge and other tales of perfect bliss that could come to an animal. Who knows what really happens?

All I know is that there is still a deep connection between human and animal that does not die.

Slick came to me after being rescued from a riverbed where an oil spill had sullied the waters. I imagine that her perfect bliss would somehow involve trees and grass and clean rolling waters.

But the thing she enjoyed the most was having her cheeks and chin scritched. I hope her heaven includes that somehow.

 Rainbow Bridge

When the original Beezie passed on, I found comfort in the many paintings I had created of her through the years. I salved my grief over her loss by painting a wooden bridge and placing it over her grave.

When I lost Bub a year later, I buried him next to the bridge marking Beezie’s grave. Bub was Slick’s best buddy, and was never quite replaced for her by any of the cats in my current brood.

I buried Slick’s body next to the bridge as well. The small cemetery is in Dellroy, OH behind a cabin in which we once lived. Although I do not live there now, my previous landlord has kept it undisturbed, and he welcomed me to bury Slick there.

I don’t know if it makes any real difference, but it does comfort me to know that they are all together again.

I have painted many commemorative pet portraits of animals that have left a hole in their humans’ hearts when they passed away. I always feel a deep responsibility when painting these portraits, because I know how very special it is to keep the memory of that relationship alive.

Now, I have had to take a taste of my own medicine. It is bittersweet, but the painting above, the last one that I painted of Slick while she was still alive, is the most wonderful thing in the world to me.

When I lost Beezie and then Bub, my world was crushed. I did not think I could get over it. What I learned over time was that I got through it, if not over it. New cats in my life did not replace the old ones, but they brought new joy to my world, and they comforted the pain.

Now, I look to the place where Slick used to sleep next to me, and it is empty. My other cats seem to respect that, for now, it should stay that way. But they have found their own places next to me, and  they are bringing much comfort in their own ways.

Slick, I miss you so much my little girl. Brewskie, Okey, Noah and Who do too. We will make it, but you sure made our world wonderful, and it just is not the same without you.

We still love you and we always will.

Now go enjoy your next adventure, and make sure to meet us on the other side when it is our time.


A Special Kind of Love

Tortoise Shell Cat Painting by BZTAT
“Slick” Painting by BZTAT

People who share their lives with pets are blessed with knowing a special kind of love. The love that we share with our pets is both deep and tender, and in some ways, it is unmatched by the kind of love we share with those of our own species.

The hardest part of the human animal relationship is that we usually outlive our pets.

The winding down time of a pet’s life is not something we look forward to – that time when you know she is ill, and there is not much time left, and you want to make the best of the time you have left. As hard as it is, though, we would not give up that last bit of time for anything in the world.

My cat Slick, whose illness I wrote about in April (The Greatest Cat in the World), is now in that winding down time. A trip to the vet yesterday and the blood work results today confirmed that her kidneys are shutting down. She is losing weight and stamina, although she is still eating and drinking. She’s hanging in there, but we know it is not forever now.

It could be days, or weeks or even months. She could bounce back a bit. But it is time to face reality.

Slick won’t be with me for too much longer.

I am very grateful to her and our Creator for giving us the eighteen years that we have had together, and I will cherish each and every remaining day.

Slick, you are my very special girl, and I will always hold you dear in my heart.


The Greatest Cat in the World

Tortoise Shell Cat drawing by BZTAT
“Slick” drawing by BZTAT

All of my cats are great. The best EVER.

But Slick is extra special. She has been my faithful companion for 18 years, and she is truly the greatest cat in the world.

Slick, my tortoise shell cat
Slick with her buddy Bub

Slick has been with me through the loss of our other feline companions, Bub and the original Beezie. She has been with me through relationships that did not last. She was with me when I went to Texas to bring my mother back to Ohio, and she was with me through the challenge of coping with my mother’s Alzheimer’s Disease.

She has been with me through different jobs, a career change, the eventual death of my mother, and other events that both challenged and enriched our lives.

It is hard for me to imagine that such a fun and loving animal came very close to a shortened life due to abandonment before she ever had a chance to bring her immense love to someone.

Slick was found along a riverbed when she was about 3 months old. She was rescued by state wildlife officers who were engaged in a wildlife rescue on the Tuscarawas River. An oil pipeline had ruptured and sullied the waters, threatening the wildlife that lived along the river. I was a volunteer with the rescue effort, and was surprised to find that the officers had rescued a domestic animal.

tortoise shell cat bztat
Slick as a youngster, making a tree out of the cabinet tops.

Slick has tortoise shell markings, which were mistaken for oil by the officers back then. She did not have oil on her, however, she did have an injured paw, which decreased her odds for survival if she had been taken to a shelter. So this wonderful cat came home with me, and what joy she has brought to my life. (Read more about her rescue story here.)

Slick is in the waning years of her life, now. She was diagnosed with chronic renal failure 2 years ago, and her illness has taken a turn for the worse this week. She is not keeping enough fluids in her body, so the vet says I need to give her subcutaneous fluids daily.

I am not looking for a miracle, and I am not looking to perform heroics with her. If I can keep her reasonably healthy and comfortable, though, while she lives out her remaining days, I will do what I can.

Anyone who has pets that are receiving intensive veterinary care knows that this does not come cheap. In order to finance her care, I plan to offer some special deals and arrangements to sell artwork rapidly. Stay tuned.

I am sharing this story now, because it is affecting me deeply, and I feel the need to share with others who have felt similar feelings towards their pets’ care.

Slick, my tortoise shell cat
The Greatest Cat in the World

I also am sharing this story because many cats have never had the opportunity to love and be loved as Slick has had. Many cats that were abandoned like her make it to shelters, but never find homes.

In my mind, that means that both cats and people have missed out on one of the greatest experiences to be had – the loving relationship between a human being and a cat.

Petfinder has a campaign right now to promote the adoption of cats by encouraging those of us who enjoy cats to proclaim that we are proud cat parents. I am a cat parent to 5 wonderful cats.

Again, all 5 are special to me. Today, more than ever, though, I am proud to say I am a cat parent to Slick, as I cherish every moment that I have left with the Greatest Cat in the World.

I love my cat

Are you a cat parent? See how you can proclaim it and share it in a way that helps cats get adopted here. If you are not yet a cat parent, what’s holding you back?
I remember the state when your wish doesn’t match your opportunities. Men, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. I always looked with pity at the men who bought the pills along with condoms.

There are many wonderful cats waiting to make your life as special as Slick has made mine.