Crisco, our beloved family cat, passed away at approximately 6:30 pm, December 2, 2009. Crisco was a member of our family and we will greatly miss him.
One afternoon more than four years ago, the children and I were taking a walk through our shade garden when we thought we heard a baby crying. We followed the sound as it became louder and louder until we found ourselves at the road. We still weren't sure what the sound was, as it was very hoarse but loud. The cry was coming from the kudzu patch on the other side of the highway on which we live. I crossed over and began looking in the vines for the baby, and finally found him--a very tiny orange kitten. The beautiful long-haired tabby kitten had cried so much his voice was hoarse.
I could not catch him. He wanted to come to me, but was too afraid. He would work his way toward me through the briars and vines until he was almost within my reach. But when I reached out to him, he would run away, frightened. Crying the whole time, begging for help, the little kitten acted like he'd never seen a person before.
This went on until dark, when we finally had to give up. The next morning I tried again, with the same sad results. Periodically throughout the day, I would go back to the road, trying to show the little kitten that I could be trusted, but he just wouldn't come to me. Later that afternoon after the children returned from school, we heard the little fellow crying again. This time when we went to try to get him, we found him hiding under the azaleas on our side of the highway--He had crossed the road! So then I took the long way around to put myself between him and the highway. This way I could try to catch him, and if he ran he'd be forced to go down the hill toward the house and away from the road. He still wouldn't let me get any closer than arms length, but by dark this time, he was near the house. He would follow the children crying, but when they tried to backtrack to get him, he'd run.
That night he actually snuck up to the porch to try to be closer to us, I think. My husband was quicker than the kitten's little legs could carry him, and he was able to snatch up little Crisco and put him in the laundry room. Although he bit the fire out of my husband's finger with his tiny little razor sharp teeth, the very next day he let the children hold him while his tiny little body vibrated with very loud purring!
'He's the color of Butter Flavored Crisco!' my little girl kept saying, so we named him Crisco. He had a few nicknames too, but I think I called him Crybaby more than anything else. He cried all the time. He was the most vocal cat I've ever seen. We always figured that was because he lost his mother before he was ready.
Crisco had sort of semi-retired recently, leaving most of the mouse catching to the younger kittens. He slept most of the time. I thought that was pretty normal for him, since he'd never really been a very active cat.
Two days ago we noticed Crisco was breathing very rapidly. An X-ray revealed a heart abnormality we were not aware of. Crisco had a much enlarged heart, and his lungs were filled with fluid. Although the veterinarian immediately began treatment with Lasix to reduce the fluid and a heart medication to slow the heart rate, Crisco passed away that evening. I can't help but wonder what we could have done differently. I've racked my brain to understand how I could have prevented this. But we just did not know Crisco was sick until the hard rapid breathing began.
Thank you for allowing me to share this with you, in hopes that you will pray for my family and me. The loss of a beloved pet is difficult for us all but especially the children. Crisco was a very important part of our family, and it will take us a long time to learn to live without him.