A Limpy Update

Limpy has been spending his days in the yard, nestled in the tall grasses. He seemed to enjoy this.

At dusk, I have been bringing him into my office, to spend the night. Weeks ago he made it clear that he did not like the ‘house’ I created for him across the room from where I sit. Rather, he wanted to be right next to me. So, I got rid of the house, and laid upon the floor a thick towel to my left. As he would stay there, it seemed obvious that this is where he wanted to be.

OK!

Very late each night, I have been hauling him atop my desk to comb, clean, and pet him. Then I would have some wine and watch YouTube videos while gently stroking him. He would purr and curl his toes. I loved this.

 

Last night, I was having some late-night bacon and Limpy was atop my desk. I realize that he was watching what I was doing, intently so. He had brought his head up (rather than lying flat down, as was his norm). He stared as I reached down to pick up a slice of bacon. He stared, following the bacon upward to my mouth. He stared as I nibbled on the bacon.

In telling this tonight to my neighbor, Brad, I explained: “I think he wanted some bacon!”

Brad replied: “Or, Limply is a Muslim and was judging you!”

I burst out laughing. “Well, I did give him some bacon. He scarfed it down. Then I gave him some more. He scarfed that up! So, if Limpy is a Muslim, he’s a very bad Muslim!”

 

This morning, I noticed that Limpy did not fully eat his breakfast, leaving about 2/3 untouched. That was odd, as he has been devouring everything I gave him.

Putting him in the yard for the day, I noticed that his lower body was heaving in/out, and quickly. It was like he was being inflated/deflated, and quickly.

Were his lungs in trouble? I grew concerned.

I brought him food and water. He touched neither. My concern grew.

His labored breathing (if that is what it was) grew worse and at 4:15 Limpy was at the vet.

The vet said he likely had pneumonia.

Fuck.

 

Then the vet said: “I think it’s important to ask a vital question. Is my pet miserable? If so…”

I looked at Limpy. Even though he was obviously very old, and rather a wreck, he had not been miserable the day before. But looking at him on the stainless steel table? He radiated misery. He did not respond to my stroking him. He did not curl his toes. His right, rear leg was a mess from his second expressed wound.

And then it happened. I was slammed in the face with a decision I had not expected today.

 

I have told this story before:

My friend Christina and I developed our own ritual.

Somehow, and I don’t recall how, we stopped using words like DIE or DEAD. No, when one of our precious peas departed, it was announced that they had moved to Florida.

Moved to Florida.

Absurd, yes, but we both found this oddly satisfying. One of our beloved ones would not have, you know, DIED. No, it just moved to Florida. Our intellectual selves knew this was ridiculous, of course, but our emotional selves grasped at this tenuous explanation with a surprisingly eager tenacity.

Moved to Florida. If you repeat this enough times it proves kinda somewhat maybe a tiny bit plausible.

And broken hearts are easily deceived.

 

Today, I was greatly surprised to find myself at an airport departure gate.

I was greatly surprised to book a first-class ticket, for Limpy, to Florida.

I was greatly surprised to lean down, and give Limpy a kiss goodby.

I was greatly surprised as Limpy departed. For sunny Florida.

 

Limpy. The last picture.

 

 

 

39 Comments

  1. Mona in MN on June 18, 2021 at 12:21 am

    Hugs to you. Thank you for giving Limpy such loving care.

  2. LS on June 18, 2021 at 12:24 am

    I am glad you saw Limpy off to Florida with love and care. I am glad he got to enjoy bacon 🥓 as well. Sorry for the departure, Goodbyes are never easy. ((Hugs))

  3. mlaiuppa on June 18, 2021 at 12:40 am

    You gave Limpy a great life while he was with you. You understood him and you allowed him dignity and indulged him. The evening groomings and moving him to be beside you. And the bacon. That was heaven. I expect that night Limpy decided that it didn’t get any better than this and decided to pack his bags. I’m sure he was grateful to you for taking him to the airport and seeing to his luggage. The first class ticket was much appreciated.

    I was never able to see Caesar off. He left before I could get there to say goodbye. It haunts me to this day.

    Ramses had a direct flight from my bed, with my hands stroking him and my voice in his ears as he flew.

    Such is the reality of being owned by pets. It never gets easy, but it is the price we pay for the time we have with them. A time that is much too short, no matter how long. And it is the least we can do for all they do for us.

    You are the best Cat Dad. Don’t be surprised if he’s having such a great time that he neglects to send you a post card. Just know he thanks you for all you’ve done. He had the best time of his life.

  4. Judy L Gutierrez on June 18, 2021 at 12:50 am

    Oh Ross, my heart breaks for you. But not for Limpy, as he is sitting on that Florida beach, sipping his bacon mai tai and watching the fish jump in the sea. He had the best friend he could have in his last visit to Kansas and I know, as sure as I write this, that Limpy knew that.
    Bless your big loving heart.

  5. Annette on June 18, 2021 at 1:44 am

    I’m so sad that Limpy moved to Florida but there’s probably lots of bacon there. Take care of yourself Ross.

  6. Colin Boss on June 18, 2021 at 2:05 am

    Good morning Ross,

    This is the saddest posting.

    Limpy was so lucky to have you to take care of him for the past months and to be there as he boarded for sunnier climes.
    You’ve been so kind to each of the cats and they will each have been happier in your orbit.

    Bless you

    Colin

  7. Kim on June 18, 2021 at 4:21 am

    Limpy knew what he needed all along. He needed a truly trusted friend who would love him & help him eventually, get to Florida. You’re both lucky he chose you to be his true friend. 💜

  8. Sharon Brause on June 18, 2021 at 5:39 am

    My heart ……

  9. Pam on June 18, 2021 at 6:03 am

    Farewell Limpy and eat all the bacon you want. Ross gave you the best life ever and we grieve with him.

  10. Miss-Apple37 on June 18, 2021 at 6:33 am

    Oh Ross, I’m so so sorry for your furry loss. While i am very saddened by the sudden departure of Limpy, i am happy to know that my Chapou went to Florida a few days ahead of him!

    This white cat arrived god-knows-how around Easter. He was looking miserable. His hears were covered with scabs. He was skinny. Had a coryza: half-closed weeping eye, and most importantly his nose was full, you could hear it was difficult for him to breathe. And he sneezed a lot, resulting in lots of snot coming out. We wouldn’t touch him but we fed him, he seemed to get along with the 5 other stray cats living around here. Very very shy at the beginning, he turned into a regular cat, meowing, asking for strokes, which i did with the tip of my fingers and then washing my hands with gel and then water/soap. We called him “chat pouilleux”, which in French means “fleabag cat” (but fleabag in the sense of disgusting, repelling). Then it turned into Chapou. Then one morning he was finally here, so we grabbed the cat-box, put him inside and took him to the vet. I had great hopes, i had read his ears might have cancer, we would cut them off as it’s supposed to be. His head-cold/coryza? would be healed with meds. In our heads Chapou was our next cat. But then my husband called me to report what the vet said: he was too far gone. AIDS + liquid in his lungs + failing heart + coryza + ear issues. He had to go. Then the sky fell on my head. My husband’s too. We felt guilty. A poor cat came and found a loving family and then bam, one morning, he had to be put down. But now I know he went to Florida. And with tears in my eyes now, I still feel a bit better about it. Chapou and Limpy will have fun together! (pic: https://www.zupimages.net/viewer.php?id=21/24/i22y.jpg )

  11. Susan on June 18, 2021 at 7:14 am

    You have me crying at the least opportune times, friend. Thank you for seeing this sweet little creature to the gate, and thank you for giving him a friend to say goodbye to.

  12. AmandaB on June 18, 2021 at 7:23 am

    Big hugs, Ross

  13. Nancy Partridge on June 18, 2021 at 7:27 am

    I too burst into tears. People with out pets would never understand. You did give Limpy an amazing life and I’m glad you got to say goodbye at the gate.

  14. Lisa L on June 18, 2021 at 7:35 am

    Oh Ross, I’m so sorry.

    Why is it that sometimes the little strays break our hearts the most?

  15. Bill H on June 18, 2021 at 7:38 am

    My condolences for your loss, Ross. This news was heartbreaking, but not completely unexpected. Know that because of you, Limpy spent his last days knowing love, rather than suffering.

  16. Alice on June 18, 2021 at 8:23 am

    I am so sorry for your loss Ross–you made his pre-departure days wonderful. I can picture him in a lounger relaxing in the Florida sun.

  17. Dee-Ann on June 18, 2021 at 8:23 am

    So sorry!! I am glad you were able to have good times with Limpy and help him have pampered last days. You did a wonderful thing for him!!

  18. SEB on June 18, 2021 at 9:05 am

    a limpid love, full of purrs,
    may he rest in peace
    xo

  19. Steve on June 18, 2021 at 9:19 am

    Ross, I’m so sorry for your loss, thank you so much for giving him love in those last few weeks…you are truly an amazing soul. I know Limpy is sitting on a sand dune in the Florida Keys, a Maple Bacon Old Fashion in paw, watching a beautiful sunset his body healed and at peace.

    I can’t thank you enough for getting him that first class ticket.

  20. Alecia on June 18, 2021 at 9:38 am

    Deepest condolences.

  21. Barb Sanford on June 18, 2021 at 9:39 am

    Oh, Ross, my heart is just breaking for you. But I’m so very, very glad that Limpy found you. You gave him love when he needed it, and that’s the greatest gift any of us can ask for. I’ll be thinking of you and Limpy today. Sending love and hugs, my friend.

  22. Dan from LB, CA on June 18, 2021 at 9:41 am

    As a fellow cat owner who has been through that awful decision a few times before, you have my deepest sympathies. I’m so glad Limpy had you in his life for as long as he did–and that you had him! I think it was transformative for both of you. BIG HUGS to you, Ross!

  23. GrandmereLouise on June 18, 2021 at 10:25 am

    I’m very sorry you had to put Limpy on the plane to Florida but comforted that he had several weeks of a full belly and toe curls before he went. Big hugs to you

  24. Sandra Diane Lee on June 18, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    So sorry for your loss Ross.

    Limpy is frolicking with other Florida kitties!

  25. ColleenYukon on June 18, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    Ah, Ross. I am so sorry to hear this. Please take it easy for a while – emotionally, especially. (As best as you can, anyway. <3)

  26. Linda A. on June 18, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Oh my gosh, Ross!!!!
    I am at work and just saw this!!!!!
    In the last week we both sent our boys to Florida! 😢.
    I want to cry but my makeup will be shot.

    You sure gave Limpy the BEST final weeks and months anybody could ask for.
    Poor guy. As we used to say in the medical field, ” He was a train wreck”. But we always meant that kindly believe it or not. It meant there was always going to be something crop up around the next corner.

    Well. I hope my Bubba was a gentleman and greeted him warmly when Limpy arrived. And now they are both off running around again!!!

  27. Mike on June 18, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    I believe that all living creatures have a soul, or a life force, whatever you wish to call it, and I know that Limpy’s finding you was not an accidental occurrence. After what was obviously a prolonged period of hardship and suffering and who-know-what, he was guided to you because he needed love, care, and compassion. He needed it, and you provided it; his purring and toe-curling was his thanking you for being there for him. The world needs more kind people like you, Ross…my condolences…

    • mlaiuppa on June 18, 2021 at 7:13 pm

      If creatures had no souls they would have no personalities. That is my belief. And we are finding that all sorts of creatures, even insects and fish, can have personalities, hence they all have souls.

      I bought a small volume in a used book store about 50 years ago called Prayers from the Ark. It was a set of poems from animals to God. The author (and translator) caught the personalities of every animal perfectly in prayer form. There is a sequel called The Creature Choir but I think the first is better and one of my favorites. Best $1 I ever spent.

      It is telling that we give our creatures the dignity of taking away their pain and allowing them to pass as serenely as we can, yet laws are made to deny our human loved ones the same gift.

  28. Terri on June 18, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    Oh Ross! I’m so sorry to hear that Limpy moved to Florida. But, you gave him the best life until he moved and I know he loved you for it. I’m also glad Limpy had bacon! Best life and bacon! Hugs you.

  29. Alex Dent on June 18, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    I wouldn’t like it in Florida, but I imagine that Limpy, like most will find it to his liking. Giant virtual hugs for Limpy and Ross.

    • mlaiuppa on June 18, 2021 at 7:15 pm

      I think all cats go to Florida, lots of sun, but all dogs go to….Colorado. Lots of trees.

      Yes. All of my dogs went to Colorado. By train. All with window seats.

  30. Laurie L Weber on June 18, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    I so did not need this today. I’m such a smush when it comes to animals (furry ones). (I even feel sorry for monsters in horror movies!) I agree with others that he picked you. And he had a good end of life because of you. He and you were blessed for a short time. I have luckily been saved from having to make the difficult choice you had. I always prayed I wouldn’t have to )’bout only prayer I think was answered) 🙁 My best cat Zorro died in the night, after I kept telling him he had to live to 20! (13 and I think he had kidney probs but vet….) Casey died in my arms of a seizure around 4 yrs after surviving a car accident . Orange kitty died in my garage – he was the 1st I had cremated. All my fur babies were strays who adopted me (except Casey who had no choice but to let me love and take care of him! I love your analogy of Limpy going to Fla. I, however, hate the heat, so mine went to animal heaven, and then visit my parents and brother and sister in heaven. I’m so sorry you have to go through this. Know we all feel for you and send you hugs and peace. 🙂

  31. Kara Hudson on June 18, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    OH my goodness – I’m crying for a cat I never knew

    Thank you Ross for making his last days comfortable and full of love (and a little bit of bacon).

    You’re a good man!

  32. Nancy from New Yawk on June 18, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    So sad for you! That’s never an easy decision, even for pets we just have a brief relationship with. I had to have a cat I called Stealthcat put to sleep as he was an ancient feral cat who had an abscessed tooth. He adopted me briefly and I helped him get to Florida. He was suffering, but I still felt terrible. You did well by Limpy and he had love at the end. We should all be so lucky.

  33. Cindy Belanger on June 18, 2021 at 7:26 pm

    Ross, I’m so sorry to hear about Limpy. Putting a pet down is one of the hardest decisions to make, it takes courage. You gave Limpy a wonderful life while he was with you and it was good you got to say goodbye and wish him well in Florida. I know you’ll miss him terribly, but he’s enjoying the beach, tuna and bacon feasts and his other cat friends.
    Our cat Gizmo is 19 and has thyroid and kidney problems , he’s on meds, but we know it’s just a matter of time before that dreadful day comes. We spoil him rotten and give him extra love. Take care of yourself.

  34. Karen Spencer on June 18, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss dear Ross. You gave Limpy a wonderful last part of his life. I’m also so glad you gave home some bacon.

    Like so many others here, I enjoyed reading about him, about you caring for him. Thank you kind Ross.

    I always think this poem helps people who have lost a animal friend. And yes, I do think they definitely have souls.

    Evidently the Rainbow Bridge is in Florida.

    Hugs to you and Limpy.

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

    Author unknown…

  35. Dan Goodall-Williams on June 19, 2021 at 3:54 am

    Ross, you are a true angel on Earth. Caring for Limpy and making his last months as comfortable as possible is truly remarkable. Bless you kind sir, and know that my heart is with you at this difficult time.

  36. Beth H. on June 24, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    Ross, I am SO sorry – I just saw this now. You truly gave Limpy the best care he could have possibly had in his last months, and he left for Florida knowing he was loved. “That’s not nothin’.” If he gets along with dogs, I hope he looks up my Sadie who moved there this past January, after 13 1/2 years of being a much-loved member of our family. I hope your heart isn’t hurting too much right now… so many of us understand the pain of these sudden departures.

  37. Ross on August 15, 2021 at 1:29 am

    Thank you, everybody. It was…impossible for me to respond at the time (it’s now August).

    It’s still really hard…though my tears, reading all this, these many months later…to write about Limpy.

    I miss him so much. He was utterly wonderful. It was like having Cary Grant in my life for a short while.

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