You may think being God is all about being the boss and doing what you want but after last Friday I am no longer interested in the position.
God has got a tough job.
Kharyn and I are animal lovers. As a result, we are very close to our mate Jak.
Jak is more than a family cat. He’s a human in a cat’s body. With a Jamaican accent.
Jak is a big, boofy box of bad attitude. He’s arrogant, undignified and obnoxious. Jak’s got long black hair and he feels fantastic when you give him a big man rub. Kharyn’s always said he’s a man’s cat. He almost prefers it when you ruffle him up like you would a big old dog, and he actually did drag my 100kg self across the lawn when he was refusing to let me put some toxic flea muck between his shoulder blades. Our favourite thing to do was to come up behind him and straddle him while he was watching bird porn on the hot asphalt driveway and pat him right down his back really fast. The result was his hind legs and tail would stand up and he would be purring madly while his front half would still be lying down. Hilarity for us, bliss for him.
But he was Kharyn’s cat. And they were best mates. No-one new Jak as well as Kharyn did and I’m pretty sure no-one new Kharyn as well as Jak did. With a blink of an eye he would be following her across the lawn and mia aow-ow-ow-ing as he trotted, big bushy tail straight up just to munch on a big juicy blade of green grass she’d have picked for him. Before I came along, Jak would rip her clothes off her clothes rack and savage her bed if he considered it breakfast time.
Jak was the world’s coolest, most social cat. He didn’t have that pride gene that normal and lesser cats seem to have. If another cat would get all territorial and do the growly hunched back thing in his face, Jak would just look at him and go – ‘what’s your problem?’. If the other cat would resist his offer of food or a bed and still hiss and growl, Jak would easily beat the snot out of him.
Jack wouldn’t suffer stupid cats, but he was known to share his basket with his best mate from next door. While you could drive down our street and unknowingly pass about 25 cats watching you from all sorts of hiding places you wouldn’t miss Jak. He would be sitting on the footpath talking to the neighbours, on occasion the postie or he would be wandering across to road to sniff a parcel that might’ve been dropped off. Jak would just sit in the middle of our driveway and refuse to budge so we’d have to drive ROUND him to park.
If cats had a middle finger, Jak’s would’ve been up a lot.
He’d RRRRAOW at the neighbour’s teenager from a bush just to scare him, he’d sit in the doorway just so our other cat couldn’t get out to go to the toilet, he’s catch birds them and bring them in demanding that we cook them and serve them with gravy, he’d sprawl out in the sun across half the width of the garage door with his body corkscrewed almost three quarters of the way right around, big guts everywhere. When he was hungry he’d gargle when he RRRAOWed. If you left your car open and went to drive it later you’d get a huge RRRAOW from your driver’s seat as if to say – ‘uh-uh, this is my spot and if you want to drive, you can do it from out there’. It was always the driver’s seat. Never any other.
Jack was in love with a ‘baby alive’ plastic doll. He’d roll around the floor with it, smooch it, cuddle it, claw it and hump it quite inappropriately. That doll got dirtier and dirtier as none of us dared to touch it. And he’d savage plastic bags. He loved plastic bags. Because plastic bags are loud. So it was fitting that Jak spent the last three months hanging out beside me in my office on his bed of plastic bags. He’d developed a thyroid condition a couple of years back which made him even more hungry, even more obnoxious and even more expensive. Four months ago, the vet reckoned he’s last a couple more days. His lungs were nine-tenths full of fluid, his heart was almost had it and he was wasting away.
He was an excellent vet, but he’d underestimated Jak and he’d underestimated our determination to give Jak every chance to carry on his obnoxious existence. He’d also over-estimated our financial prudence.
So for the next four months we would fill him full of four different medicines twice a day, and he stayed alive and obnoxious. Instead of RRRRAOWING at us for food and savaging plastic bags he would walk up and press his forehead up against my leg while I’d be working telling me it was time for his nightly cuddle. After a few minutes, every time he would climb onto the desk and sprawl ON the keyboard, destroying anything I may have been writing.
Kharyn said he’d become my cat, but I knew that he was aware of everywhere Kharyn was every second of the day. At the forefront of our minds was the desire to make sure we were keeping him alive for his sake, and if it became apparent that we were filling him full of medicine only because we wanted to keep him around we would make that very hard call.
Last Thursday we made that very hard call. Jack wouldn’t purr any more and he wouldn’t eat. He smelt funny. It was time to go.
So the next day an incredibly lovely vet called Jenny arrived with a nurse and a big vet kit. She’d explained that she would inject an anaesthetic into his veins, and while he may give a few gasps, pee or twitch a bit, he wouldn’t feel anything and he’d drift off to sleep.
Why would we ever expect that Jak would agree to die by anyone else’s rules?
We all sat out in one of his favourite sunny spots, him on my lap with Kharyn holding his paw while the anaesthetic went into his front leg.
But Jak’s heart had become so weak it couldn’t pump the stuff around his old body as fast as we’d expected, so it just felt creepy to him and he got annoyed. And Jak’s spirit is tough so he fought it, clawing Kharyn and trying to get away.
The vet was amazing, and while we could tell she was thinking
‘Uh-oh. I’d forgotten that this cat is famous for savaging fifteen of our best staff’ she was incredibly calm. Jenny gently told us exactly what was happening while she soothed Jak and gave him another shot – this time in his tummy. After a few more shudders and strange noises she said he’d gone. He lay sprawled out in his superman pose in the sun, his huge front paws dangling either side of my knee.
I thought he was still moving, until I realised it was my hands shaking.
Cat’s eyelids don’t just close when a cat dies so I sat with Jak for half an hour or so holding his eyes closed as his old body got colder. His fur still felt amazing, and I gave him one last big rubdown before I wrapped him up in his favourite old blanket and started digging his grave in the garden.
So while it was the right thing to do, to interrupt nature’s plan to take him, we’re really hurting now. The sadness that he’s not here any more, the trauma of the procedure, the strain of watching him get sicker and not being able to help.
Whatever pain it is, I guess we can be glad that we’re now wearing it now and Jak doesn’t have to any more.
But God, its over to you now. You can keep your job.
Rest in peace in our garden with your dolly, ball and hairbrush Boofy.
We know you’re a human by now.