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Monday, July 29, 2013

bye bye baby bonnard

it was october of 1998 and i was sipping chai after a meditation class when a fellow participant mentioned that she had alley kittens free to a good home. a light bulb went off. i was fresh out of a most dysfunctional relationship and realized the only thing i missed about it was touch. a kitty could easily fix that! we exchanged numbers and i showed up at her home with only love. yep, no cat carrier. didn't even have a litter box or kitty food yet. i was a novice.

i got to choose between a tiny white kitty that seemed, well, normal or a feisty black kitty who, frankly, didn't. the black kitty it was. i took him to the nearest store to pick up supplies with him stuffed into a brown box with air holes {supplied by the woman whose alley he'd been consummated in}. i immediately knew he was special as he shoved his head through the holes, at times getting stuck.

we developed a beautiful bond that included mid-day messages to him left on my answering machine, a pink floral collar and leash to "walk" him around the 'hood {most emasculating}, and his first rush to the emergency vet the following month for eating something he really shouldn't have.

after getting neutered i asked if i could come visit him in the hospital. apparently the vet thought that was odd. then called for back-up when he was too ornery for one person to manage.

he chased people into closets, got riled up if he thought i was being harmed, and would sometimes slap at or bite your calf through the shower curtain when wanting attention. bonnard was a staple in the early days of tranquil space in my living room. pulling people's hair with his teeth while they were in savasana, getting onto their mats and not moving, and standing in the center of the room during parties, often hissing.

years went on and bonnard continued to be alpha, require more vet visits for various health issues, and become quite obese. he was literally OCD about food. when the vet informed me that he was the equivalent of a 400-lb man, i was horrified. however, not having food out 24/7 meant bonnard would paw at books near my head and pull them off one by one until i woke up and put more food in the bowl. he was not a fan of an empty bowl. i often found food from kitchen cabinets stashed under my bed or in secret hiding places. yes, he'd open kitchen cabinets with his paws and pull food to safety.

at one point in 2005 he became blind and partially paralyzed, was failing fast, and was rushed to a kitty neurologist. after a cat scan, a few grand, and some steroids, he made a miraculous recovery. baffled the vets.

my 33rd birthday was spent visiting bonnard in the hospital after having two rubber bands extracted from his belly {happy birthday to me-see pic in middle with naked belly}. when we picked him up, he crawled onto beau's lap and pooped while he drove us all home. no respect. oh, and this was not new behavior. he peed on an old beau's lap while driving in 2000. he had a thing for sharing his feelings in not-so-subtle ways.

despite his lack of love for others, he had a thing for me. when my gramma died and i would spend days in bed crying, he would come to comfort me while louis the pug preferred snoring at the foot of the bed. he slowly grew to tolerate beau and maybe even like him a bit. when pulling together photos for this collage, i came across many of bonnard snuggling up to tim and tim looking scared. when we first began dating, bonnard was on the back of the couch and when tim turned around, he popped him in the forehead. not yet a fan. feisty, yet fabulous.

he mellowed in his older years and continued to have numerous health scares such as the random irritation on his leg that, when healed, grew back with white hair on his all-black frame. his ongoing battle with crystals in his bladder that required a special prescription diet from a young age. his occasional need for an electrolyte-filled IV just because. a dose of it and he'd perk right back up. and then there was his bout of psychogenic alopecia where he over-groomed his belly leaving him half-naked {note lower left pic}. oh, and his ongoing need for medication that we doused in spray cheese for happy consumption.

the decline began october 2012 when he was diagnosed with a hyperthyroid. we planned to go through the radioactive treatment that had a huge success rate but when the chest x-ray was done in the prep stages, they found fluid there. i was in india so sweet tim had to go through this process solo, count his kitty breaths, and take him to his cat-free cabin for monitoring over thanksgiving. god bless.

after surgical extraction of fluids i had him see a kitty cardiologist to try to identify the cause of the fluid. a mass was found. i still didn't think cancer and was like, "of course he has a mass in front of his kitty heart. i mean, it's bonnard!" next stop was an internist in january who told me it was cancer. when he did the sonogram he said neither chemo nor surgery were an option because it was intertwined with organs. he said he'd go this year. my heart broke.

after an april emergency vet visit, we were told he was in hospice care. although i've slowly been preparing for this moment since his january diagnosis, i still wasn't ready. over the past week he seemed to be declining rapidly and on thursday i contacted my holistic vet to make a saturday appointment. friday i baked all day with fellow baker kimberly in prep for a tranquil space teacher tea and secretly felt it was a sweet send-off for my baby who savored organic whipping creme during the process, followed us around constantly, and chose to spend time in the bathtub most of the party. some long-time teachers said their sweet goodbyes privately.

saturday i took louis to daycare and spent the day giving bonnard oodles of treats, hours of stroking, and lots of love. it was hard watching the clock and knowing that there were only so many hours left with him. she arrived shortly after 7:15pm. it was the hardest thing i've ever done. that evening among tears i purchased the perfect urn for him online and found rainbow bridge when googling "how to grieve pet loss" and "do cats go to heaven." tonight there is a candlelighting ceremony tribute and moi, mama wilson, and beau will be joining for bonnard.

i'm sad he won't be joining us in person on the tranquility tour this fall but he definitely will be in spirit. he seemed a fan of our vintage RV lillie {see him in passenger seat in upper left corner pic} and enjoyed car rides {except the one where tim got a new car and he crawled into the back seat to puke and poo on it}. despite this incident and many more, tim penned this sweet tribute over the weekend.

my heart is broken and although i know it will heal, the pain of loss is still so raw. speaking of gramma, when he was a kitten he came leaping across my living room and knocked gramma's glasses off her head, leaving them dangling and disfigured. naturally, i showered her with his photos for years as a reminder of their tormented love.

ah, the stories could go on and on but i must get up and pretend to have some sense of normalcy today. thank you for indulging me and please send lots of love to his sweet spirit that can never be replaced. au revoir, baby bonnard. you were a true gift. bisous. x

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AZ said...

Kimberly, I'm so sorry for your loss. Stay strong.

Sarah said...

Kimberly, I'm so sorry for you loss. Bonnard was a special guy and will always be remembered. I'm sure he is at peace now and with you in spirit.

The loss of a pet is never easy, so hang in there.

lisa said...

What a personality! Love those stories.
It doesn't matter if we know it's coming, it's still so hard to be without our four legged friends. My thoughts are with you.

creatingavisiblelife said...

Kimberly - I had a cat, Fluffy, that had a personality very much like Bonnard. She lived for 21 years and passed away 29 years ago. There is very rarely a day that I don't mention her - much to everyone's dismay. People will say "how could you love that mean, ornery cat so much?"....I know you understand. My dad still misses her too.

My heartfelt thoughts are with you and all of Bonnard's family. Maybe he and Fluffy will meet in cat heaven.


D said...

It sounds like Bonnard had a loving and adventure-filled life (providing most of the adventure himself). What a lovely tribute to him. I had two cats pass away this year (both from age-related natural causes) and after a few days of grief I found myself remembering only the happy times. I don't think life *can* be happy without a cat in it, and I am so grateful to those felines for their love.

Take care,

Linda said...

Bonnard was truly one of a kind and I do hope all the stories that are told will be recorded for people who are cat lovers. It would make a most enjoyable "cat" book and one that Tim would, maybe, enjoy.
I am so glad that you picked the black kitten.

Love you,

goodmoodyogagirl said...

Thinking of you, pet loss is tough. Take care & give Louis an extra hug!

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss, Kimberly. All you can do is celebrate the time you had together. :(

Unknown said...

Oh honey, I'm so sorry! My cats are my babies and I know how hard it is to say goodbye especially to one as delightfully persnickety as your cher Bonnard. I'll be thinking of him stirring up trouble somewhere in cat heaven.
Remember to be extra gentle with yourself... xoxo

Sara said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.. it's always hard to lose a pet.

It sounds like you had a wonderful time together with Bonnard and he'll always be with you in spirit.

Gina said...

I am so sorry to hear about your lovely kitty's passing. Losing a pet is so difficult, and my heart is heavy for you.

kimberly wilson said...

a BIG merci for your outpouring of love. it's been a hard few days and i greatly appreciate your love and support during my loss of this precious creature. x

Susan said...

Hi Kimberly

So sorry for your loss. I know how you feel, my husband and I were on a month long holiday in Italy , on the Amalfi coast and at the end of the third week got a call from home to say our beloved dog Charlie, who was 17 was very ill. We flew home a week early , the old boy knew we were home and I lay on the floor cradling his head for hours. He died a few hours later. He was such a part of my life, my faithful companion who loved to dance with me in my kitchen. We buried him in the garden on Tuesday just before a thunder and lightening storm, followed by the most enormous rainbow. I'll miss his handsome face.

Alice said...

Oh, I am just now seeing this. I want to extend my deepest sympathies for your loss. I know the pain - I have been through it myself. It's been 6 years since I lost my little Peanut and the hole in my heart is still there.

WineChef said...

I'm so so sorry for your loss Kimberly. It sounds like he has had a similar journey to our Hunter kitty. He would be sick, drain our bank account, and then miraculously heal. Sending you lots of love.