2020 has been a terrible year for everyone: death has been depressingly commonplace. I have another passing to report. After a brief illness, Paul Drake has left the building. I use the old Elvis concert phrase because PD was an internet rock star. He deserves a star send-off.
It started last Friday. One minute, he was a normal cat then I left the room. When I returned 10 minutes later, he couldn’t stand up and started dragging himself across the floor. Initially, I thought he had a broken leg.
We raced off to the emergency veterinary hospital. It turned out to be much more serious than a fracture. PD was diagnosed with saddle thrombosis. It’s a malady whose most sinister symptom is clotting in the legs. His hind legs were paralyzed, which was the source of enormous frustration for such a vigorous and hitherto healthy cat.
We followed the course of treatment recommended by the vets. We knew survival was a long shot but, despite the pain meds, he was still present and fighting for his life. Yesterday when we arrived for a visit, he started purring the minute he saw us. It was a tough visit, but we left hoping Paul Drake could beat the odds. They were too long.
Late last night, the vet called to tell us that he had another blood clot. She asked for instructions. We decided to let the poor dear go.
It was sudden, shocking, and sad: taking only 51-some hours from start to finish. We were dazed all weekend. It’s an unfortunately common problem and is nearly always fatal. PD is a special cat, so I hoped he’d be one of the survivors, but it was not to be.
Some of you have met Paul Drake, others have followed his antics here and on social media since his gotcha day, Twelfth Night, 2018. He was a happy and gregarious boy. When we had Carnival parade parties, he didn’t hide under the bed like a sensible cat, he assumed the party was in his honor. He was certainly the life of the party.
I knew we were in for a bumpy ride when he stopped eating. We took some shredded cheese to the clinic yesterday, but he was not interested. This from a cat who came running every time the refrigerator opened. He seemed to think it was a magic food box full of wonders. I laughed every time it happened.
A word of thanks to Doctor Margaret and her wonderful staff at Avenue Animal Wellness and Emergency in Uptown New Orleans. We had such a bad experience with our former vet’s staff during Della Street’s final illness that we “divorced” after 30+ years. I was nervous about leaving her pesky kid brother in the hands of strangers during the pandemic, but they were magnificent: kind, competent, and transparent. Like everyone else, they were smitten with the charming Mr. Drake. Thanks again, y’all.
The house is quiet without PD’s thunderous footsteps and zany bag-play. I’ll even miss yelling at him for jumping on the counter hoping to steal our supper. He always looked at you as if to say, “I know you’ll forgive me, but I’ll get off anyway.” That’s a confident cat.
I sometimes kvetch about the Tweeter Tube in this space. Not this time. I was overwhelmed by a flood of kind words and best wishes as I updated his status. Thanks again, y’all.
I feel somewhat awkward about going on about my cat’s passing when there is even more suffering in the world than usual. But Paul Drake was special, dammit. He was not just my cat or Dr. A’s cat; he was your cat too. I’m glad I was able to share him with our readers.
The last word goes to Al Green with one of the saddest and loveliest songs I know: