Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Dad Daze: A catastrophe as Jane’s beloved cat Soo Soo passes away

The tears were warm and relentless. Jane’s flushed face was flooded for 15 minutes after discovering the lifeless body of her beloved cat, Soo Soo, prone by her dresser. His passing wasn’t a surprise since Jane’s best friend was losing weight and mobility. There wasn’t much a veterinarian could do since Soo Soo was at a ripe old age.

Jane, 12, was planning his birthday party. Soo Soo was 26 days short of his 19th birthday, which is the equivalent of 92 human years. He lived a long, happy life. There are no regrets. It’s just painful since Soo Soo, honorable uncle in Chinese, was easily the best cat I have ever had after owning a dozen felines. Soo Soo was intelligent, affectionate and loyal. I’ll never forget how he would sleep on my chest and lick my nose and forehead. Somehow, he would sense when I was depressed, and he would lift my spirits with some much-needed attention.

Over the last four years, he clung so closely to Jane, it was as if Soo Soo was an extra appendage. It was one of Soo Soo’s many wise moves. He lost Sagwa, who was from the same litter and his life mate, when she passed away nearly two years ago. They cuddled, slept together and cleaned each other. When Sagwa departed, Soo Soo looked lost like my dad when my mother was hospitalized with a broken hip.

However, it was Jane to the rescue. Jane slept with Soo Soo. Soo Soo cuddled with her as she read books, glanced at her phone and gazed out her window. As Soo Soo aged, he would take comfort in sleeping completely under the blankets, like Jane has since she was a toddler. Jane’s love was evident over the last year since Soo Soo developed bladder issues. You have to be crazy about a cat to endure the times when he couldn’t quite make it to the litter box.

“It’s like caring for an elderly person,” Jane said. “I’m figuring out how to deal with this. Soo Soo was so good to me for as long as I can remember. I’m going to care for him for the rest of his life.” Jane is cut from the same cloth as yours truly. I’ve never been good about putting a cat down. The only time I was successful was when I was the same age as Jane.

The other special cat in my life, Sneakie, had some minor issues, and my parents decided to terminate him. I’ll never forget that horrible experience. An SPCA truck pulled up to our house, and my mother told me to find Sneakie. Being the ever-dutiful son, I complied, and I’ll never forget the shock and betrayal in his eyes when I placed him in the cage. He gazed at me as he left, and I cried as hard as Jane and felt worse since I was complicit.

“Why did you listen to me?” my mother asked. “When you went down the basement, I thought you would go out the back door with the cat.” What my mother said made no sense, and that decision still haunts me. I was reluctant to put down two of my feline friends Uncle Carbuncle and Soot (BTW, my pet peeve is giving pets human names) who became diabetic. Each required a daily insulin injection for years. It reached a point in which mercy was required.

The strange common denominator was that each left three days before they were slated for a final visit to the vet. Apparently, cats can sense when it’s their time as each left to die in peace. The impact cats have on humans is evident. My stress level drops when a cat is near or when one simply rests on my lap or sleeps by my side. Medical News today reported that folks who live with cats have a lower risk of experiencing a heart attack and that cats can protect people from allergies and asthma.

That’s not surprising since most of my childhood friends who had allergy issues didn’t have pets. Also, whenever I had cats on patrol, mice became a nonissue. Cats are wonderfully complex and often unpredictable, which appeals to me. Some cats I’ve owned were not the warmest, but a couple were absolute gems. Each gave more than they ever received.

“We have to get another cat, if not for us, for Jane,” my son Milo said. Milo, 16, has never been so concerned about his little sister, which is encouraging. We will adopt another cat after we digest what happened to Soo Soo. We want to experience the love generated by our future furry friend. But it’s a two-way street.

There’s nothing like spending time to toss a ball at a cat or have him or her play with string. It’s been so long since I experienced games with a kitten or a young cat. Perhaps you should think about adopting a cat. You’ll be surprised how much your life will be enhanced. “You can’t help but love a cat forever,” Jane said while bawling her eyes out. “Soo Soo will always be in my heart.”