Die Hard

We have a wonderful orange cat. We named her “Die Hard”. Why? Well, because she was the only one of a litter of six kittens who survived. She was born in 1994, two years after I met my wife, one year before we were married. The cat’s mother, named “Surf”, abandoned her litter for some reason and they all died except for “Die Hard”. She was always kind of a “runt” meaning she was always tiny.

I’m a modelmaker by trade and profession (Yes, I actually make a living doing it! So, enough with the model-glue-sniffing jokes, Mark! LOL!) , and she couldn’t resist getting up on my work table and climbing into a box of plastic model parts! Cats love carboard boxes, but for some reason she likes cardboard boxes with model parts in them even more!

She’s travelled twice across Canada with us. Once when we moved to Manitoba from Nova Scotia in 1997, and once more, ten years later, when we moved back.

The poor thing seemed to use up most of her nine lives within the first few years. In fact, I think she actually carries a deficit of a dozen lives or so now…

One time, a few years ago, she’d been gone a long time. Unusually long. Several days. I thought we’d lost her. Then she finally returned. I was happy to see her but when I picked her up I noticed something terribly wrong… I turned her over and noticed the had a huge gash across her midsection from one side to the other, exposing her insides. She’d cleaned it up so the bleeding had stopped, but she was seriously wounded. The cut was a very clean and straight slice which went across 90% of her belly. We quickly took her to the vet and had her sewn up again. But it was clear, looking at the wound, that it was no accident. Someone had captured her and cut her with a knife, and then let her go, presumably to die. I’d love to get hold of the piece of filth who had done that to her, but I’d be thrown in jail myself then, I suppose. It’s disgusting that there are so many cruel people out there.

That was just one example. I won’t bore you with the others. But there were many others.

Now, at about 16 years old, her health is failing. She won’t eat, my wife thinks she’s in pain. She’s not able to get up on the table and climb into that box of model kit parts anymore. She can barely go up and down stairs.

I’m afraid we’ll have to put her down. Now, I’m torn.

I don’t feel it right that I should make that decision. Should I let nature take it’s course or should I have her put to death? I am going through some of what you, Mark, went through as you talked about in “Rescuing Sprite”. The thought is something I don’t want to deal with, to be honest. When I hold and cuddle her she purrs and purrs and purrs and seems to really enjoy the contact with me. Although she’s “our” cat, she’s actually more “my” cat, as she gets most of the love and affection from me. My wife is more of a dog person but she loves all animals. I love cats so much more. And Die Hard is my all time favourite, and she’s kind of been like a best friend. She’s always with me in my shop, and is like my alarm clock every morning too… Wakes me up at the same time every day!

She is the last in a line of cats that my wife started breeding when she moved to Nova Scotia years before. This wasn’t a cat we found and knew for part of her life. We had this cat since she was first born. When this cat is gone, it’s the end of a kind of a “cat legacy”, and can never be replaced.

The cat’s as much a part of my life as our kids are. My oldest daughter (we have two) is three years younger than Die hard.

At this moment, reality has not set in.

I am not looking forward to the next few days, weeks or months when some kind of action will have to be taken, or until nature runs it’s course.

I could use a few prayers for our poor little cat. When that little precious ball of orange fur goes to Heaven, I hope she’ll remember us as fondly as we remember her. Whatever happens, I just hope I do the right thing, and Right now, I’m not certain what that right thing is.

— E. James from Nova Scotia, Canada