Tuesday, August 14, 2007



the dark fellow at right came into our life unexpectedly. frisky was his name and i really can't think of a better one for him, except maybe 'contradiction', which i'll admit is not catchy.

the contradiction here is that when frisky was loving, he was virtually irresistible. he'd charge right up to you, purr loudly, bump his head against you, knead his paws and nibble at your shirt.

the bad part is that these actions were rare. more to the point, the other name he came with (seriously) was 'trouble'. when i first heard that i went pthbbbt and said, 'we're calling him frisky.'

yeah, trouble is more like it. let me count the ways in which this was so:

- scratching all manner of mortals so as to leave scars
- badgering the cats while they ate
- or tried to use the facilities
- or walk across the room
- several times a day
- repeatedly got into closed rooms (by using his head as a battering ram) and made a mess

those are the ones coming to mind now, when i should be asleep because i have to get up really early tomorrow. but suffice to say, the clincher for frisky was the badgering, especially as relates to facility usage for our other two cats, muffie and dolce.

this, i'm sorry to say, led to various sections of the household being terraformed into impromptu litter boxes. the best part is that because we have a few stacks of old clothes, etc (that we plan to sell) around the house, and the house is a decent size, this terraforming went unnoticed for a couple of weeks. unnoticed until about a week and a half ago.

now ever since we acquired frisky we've been working on his behavior. the scar-inducing scratches waned. frisky got 'in trouble' -- sprayed with a water bottle, peeled off of another cat, taken off the kitchen counter -- several times a day, but the special thorn in our sides was the cat-on-cat action. in addition to the aforementioned terraforming, last week min caught muffie in the laundry room (where the litter box is), cornered by frisky. when muffie saw min, she wailed a heartbreaking little 'save me!' wail.

so i've painted a half-assed (mostly since i'm tired beyond belief) picture. saturday night (my birthday, incidentally) we came home to more terraforming. we said ok, that's it we have to take him to a shelter. he's not scaring the cats into terraforming the entire house into a litter box!

sunday morning i began the shelter research. sure frisky can't be with cats, or small dogs (yes she and frisky played, but pearl got food-intimidated too). what about with kids? a house with no pets? oh right, then he scratches his aggression all over the humans too. ok but surely a shelter will take a cat that's only good with medium or large dogs!

how about no. seriously, i got laughed at.

and how can you blame them? no-kill shelters have to be picky. and the other ones...well... so we talked to a vet at adobe. explained his behavior, how we've been working with him for 9 months and it's actually getting worse, was there anything we could do short of doping him up to death, what kind of life is that anyway and is it possible frisky was mentally ill?

first the vet thanked, praised us (via min, saint that she was to take frisky in) for working so hard with frisky. then she said that in all likelihood, frisky *was* mentally ill. frisky's mother was feral, making a bad start, and the first several months he was fending for himself. but his wild, obsessive tyrannical reigns, followed by a day or so of virtually hiding, was very similar to what you might see in a bipolar human (not on meds of course). and so with all this in mind, with no real treatment a possibility, with no reasonable expectation of frisky being able to find a new home, it was decided that the best thing was to put him to sleep.

i didn't want to believe we would end up here. on sunday, post research, when i suspected this might happen, i cried. i cried monday morning, before the vet. all day i hoped the vet would think up a miracle. all day i felt like i could hardly breathe. but monday afternoon frisky was gently laid to rest, and monday afternoon and evening i cried yet again.

i know some of you may think badly of us for doing this. hey, guess what? i hate having done it. so even though i still think this was the kindest thing to do, given the options frisky truly had, it doesn't mean i'm not riddled with guilt about it.

this little interloper wormed his way into my heart and the intensity of the loss i've felt has surprised me. i think it's because he was like an alcoholic. when he was loving, you forgot all about the earlier rages. the rages always returned, but that doesn't mean that i don't miss his joyful trill.

rest in peace, frisky. i hope now you're up trilling and snuggling with min's mother, the one person you really loved.


gs said...

I don't think badly of you. I admire you for making a hard, hard choice in a very difficult situation. The real world isn't like a movie -- sometimes even the best outcome isn't a happy one. I hope you are able to get past your grief. And it was very brave of you to post this. Thanks.

heather said...

thanks gs =) yeah i almost didn't post this, because it's not exactly something i'm proud of. but frisky needed a bit of a eulogy, and it was good to write it.

wen said...

i'm really sorry you had to put him down. i know how hard it is to make those kinds of decisions for our pets. i hope that mr. frisky is indeed a happy boy now, cavorting about with mom-of-min.

gs said...

Hmmm. The acronym for mom-of-min is "mom," so it starts with its own acronym. How cool is that?

(And don't look at me out of the corner of your eye like that! :)

snarfdog said...

Oh Heather. I'm so sorry for you and Min. I know that was truly difficult and upsetting. I wish there was something I could say to make it better, but I know that's impossible, so just know that soothing feelings are being sent to you and Min.

Dharma said...

Oh honey. What a saga and what a sad outcome for everyone. Such a hard decision. I'm sorry.

heather said...

thanks, all, for being so kind.