August 25th, 2012, I had to take my dear old cat, Stewie, in to be put down.
He was sick, we figured kidney failure. He was an old cat, almost 18 years old. What a loyal beast he was. While we had put down another cat a few years earlier, I hadn’t been there for that, and as Stewie was considered ‘my’ cat (he was most definitely the family’s cat) it was up to me to first make the decision regarding his fate, and secondly, be there for him.
Alex and I took him to a park near the vet’s before taking him in. We bought him McDonalds french fries (which he devoured). We took him to the playground and let him run around on the equipment and sniff leaves because apparently that is what cats do.
When the time came to say goodbye, the vet asked me if I wanted to leave but I couldn’t, not after everything he had done for me. So I was there when Stewie fell asleep and passed away.
A week later I wrote a detailed story about the experience, from Stewie arriving on our deck one cold October evening, travelling across a city and lake to reach us, to almost losing him to his old owners, to his last days. I sent the story in to the Vinyl Cafe Story Exchange because why the heck not. It was carthartic to get the words out and down on paper while the emotions were still fresh.
Some weeks later I received word from the Story Exchange Producer that my submission had been put into the ‘good’ pile and might show up on the show. “Neato!” I didn’t expect much. It was something I wrote for me, because I needed to talk about how sad I was and how grateful I was for my good ol’ Stewie.
Well, last week, a year and a half later, I received another email from the producer who wanted to let me know that they had just finished recording Stuart McLean reading my story about Stewie, and that it will appear on the Vinyl Cafe during Easter Weekend!
It’s a little surreal thinking about it, especially given that I am a huge fan of the Vinyl Cafe and have been listening to it for years. The other half of me is thinking “Aw balls, that was, like, the worst thing I wrote. Ever.”
I’m excited that my story about the delightful Stew Cat will be read on CBC come Easter Weekend when a solid portion of my family will be gathered together to share in the fond memories of him! He was, after all, a very fine cat indeed.
You can listen in on Easter Weekend on CBC Radio 1 (I think) Saturday at 9:05 am, Sunday at 12:05 pm, and Tuesday during the reply at some ungodly hour like 10:00 p.m.