What… might you ask… is a Squeaky Cow?
About thirteen and half years ago a small little furry black and white critter showed up at our deck door. His coloration looked almost like a cow. His voice was a high pitched, almost squeak sound. Thus the name, Squeaky Cow. We put out a bit of food for him but after eating it he disappeared back into our yard.
One week later he had returned to our yard and came up to our deck door once again. This time we put a bowl of food down, opened the door and he came in to eat. We closed the door after a brief freak out period he decided a warm house and three squares was much better than trying to survive in our yard with the coyotes, racoons and all sorts of other things much bigger than him.
The little guy, small enough to fit in our cupped hands, soon grew and grew.
Of course eating all sorts of goodies helped.
While he liked most brands and flavors of cat food, things like Chicken on a Beer Can, canned sardines and ice cream (melted first) were definitely on his favorite list.
For exercise his favorite game was “stringy”. Basically just a dangling string he’d swat at, or for variety, the same string dragged underneath a thick comforter or blanket. We have no idea how he could tell exactly where it was under there, but a focused stare, a quick tilt of the head to pinpoint and he would pounce right on it every time.
A few things would scare Squeaky (we normally just call him Squeaky). Aluminum foil torn off a roll would send him running as would the vaccuum cleaner. He showed his intelligent side too. He taught us to make a noise before we were going to vaccuum and he’d then make a determined march right to his favorite closet to hide in. It allowed us to warn him first and help to not stress him. Bring out a camera and most of the time he’d head the other way too. Perhaps not so much afraid as maybe just camera shy. Regardless we still got some good shots.
Sometimes the timing was just right.
Once he even played along as we slipped a miniature sweater from a teddy bear on to him. It actually fit just about perfectly. And no, we don’t normally dress our cats, this was a one time thing.
He seemed to listen for the sound of the desk being opened or a computer starting up. To him that meant the opportunity to nap in a warm lap for hours at a time while we were working on whatever project we silly humans busy ourselves with.
Each morning he always hung around when either, or both, of us were leaving and we soon learned that he was expecting a good bye petting. Over time that turned into our little ritual of always telling him he is a good boy and other good sayings (they evolved over time) along with a bit of petting. He purred and purred each and every time.
In late December we noticed his shoulder looked a bit swollen. It didn’t seem to bother him and we thought perhaps he just hurt it. Over the next few weeks it wasn’t shrinking and in fact seemed to be growing. We took him to see Dr. Grover our favorite vet.
No, not that Dr. Grover… although funny enough the real Dr. Grover has the same picture of the Muppets Dr. Grover on the back of his exam room door. He gave Squeaky a thorough exam, as he always does, and after running a couple of tests came back to tell us the bad news. Cancer. A sarcoma. The tumor was in his shoulder and chest muscles and a x-ray indictated spots in his lungs too. Without the lung issues we had surgery or radiation options. With it in his lungs the options were much less, as in none. Six to twelve months at best. The recommended treatment was to take him home and spoil him rotten.
Well, six months has turned into about eight weeks. The tumor, the size of half a golf ball back at the beginning of January is now the size of half a grape fruit and still growing. His front leg is being forced out of position making him limp when he walks. As many tumors do, it’s stealing all the nutrients he is taking in. We’re feeding him much more often and larger portions than normal and yet the weight keeps dropping. By the end of February he is mostly skin and bones and has all but stopped using one of his rear legs too. Turns out a minor case of arthirtis becomes severe when the tumor steals nutrients from the muscles and bones.
The time has come to say good bye to our Squeaky. On saturday morning at the end of February, Dr Grover helped our furry companion of 13+ years to cross the Rainbow Bridge. I’m sure Shmooshy and Sunday were waiting for him and are now showing him where all the good food can be found and where the forest of “stringy trees” grows.
Squeaky, you were and always will be loved.
Sleep good our sweet angel. Be at rest and feel no more pain. One day we’ll be together again and you can have all the lap time you could ever want.