Monday, December 30, 2013


The result of Norman’s blood work was bad. His kidneys were starting to fail. Dr. Bart had some strategies for us to try to stall his decline but there was nothing available to cure the problem. Normie had been losing weight and his normally ravenous appetite had slowed to a trickle. How much time did Norm have left? Dr. Bart said there was really no way to know. It could be tomorrow, it could be three years from now.

Norman has appeared periodically throughout my blogs. He got his name from his erratic, bordering on psychotic behavior. He was named after Norman Bates. He was the most gorgeous orange poof ball who could turn on you on a dime. He was smuggled by one of my students into his home from the streets and he was feeding him tuna out of the family pantry until he was busted by his mom. I got the phone call just as my living room was crowded with friends on our way to a Rolling Stones concert. So we put the trip on hold for a few minutes as I picked up the tiny dude. This was before my association with Planned Pethood, and I was actually able to secure a place in a shelter for him. But, with his maniacal behavior, he would have spent his entire life in jail. You know what happens next. Norm became part of the family for the next 16 years.

Norman came to us during a time when I was not enlightened that cats should be kept strictly indoors. His psychosis tapered off with age and he enjoyed stopping by and visiting the neighbors. Megan’s porch was one of his favorite haunts. He was dubbed the Mayor of Wildwood. On one occasion, I got a phone call from a lady who had found Norm’s collar and tag in her flower bed. He had been leading a double life. He ate there, slept there, and even had an alias. They called him Ranger. He was charming and beautiful and popular but he disdained real cat behavior. Normie never condescended to hunt in his life. A mouse would have been suicidal to end up in his clutches. He was more the GQ pretty boy cat.

Norm may have been a social butterfly around the neighborhood but he was a no-holds-barred pack leader at home. This all started with my rescue chow/mystery mix Helga who was kind of a full figured bully at first. The silly girl decided that it would be entertaining to chase him. Normie stood his ground, looked up, and in the blink of an eye, fired her up with two rights and a left. Hellie blinked and walked (no ran) away with her nose bleeding. From that day on, Norm schooled each and every dog who came through the door on the proper way to treat a cat. If they didn’t follow the proper kitty etiquette, Norman’s wrath followed.

It really seemed like Norman would live forever. He became ill at one point so I started feeding him from my plate. He, to this day, is the only animal EVER to accomplish that feat. We fell into a routine when his kidneys started to go. We went to the vet once a week for fluids and a B12 shot and he was energized until the next week. And I indulged him with ridiculously expensive cat food I would never normally buy. But after several months, the fluids were not helping anymore and Normie got really skinny. I could tell he felt terrible. I asked Dr. Bart for advice. I thank heaven that he is honest and frank but also kind and empathetic. It is an impossibly tough call to make. But it was time to say good bye to my boy. He left my heart broken.

It is an awful and gut wrenching decision when you have to let your best friend go. But releasing them from suffering is always the right thing to do. Norman is with me every day in my heart.

I have to laugh when I think of Helga’s reaction when she saw that Norman was approaching the pearly gates (if Hel MADE it to the pearly gates!). She had to be thinking, "oh crap, there is a new sheriff in town."

by Judy S.

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