Saturday, February 25, 2006

Dear Bert,

I am so sorry. I should have locked you back in my room when I left the other night to play out my delusions of self-importance onstage. You didn't want to be in there, though. You seemed to have grown quite content resting on the couch in the computer room. Perhaps it holds some nostalgic value for you. It was, after all, the couch you spent many hours snoozing on when we first met, after you became comfortable in your new surroundings at the old apartment in Arlington. Then, when we moved to the Dream House a few miles away, you would perch yourself right on the top cushion and sleep the days away until I came home late at night, just so you could greet me instantly, since the couch was right by my door. The couch must have been a deep source of comfort for you, and seeing as you spend 8-12 hours a day cooped up in my bedroom while I am off running errands or working, it's perfectly understandable for you to have wanted a reprieve from your daily prison for a few short hours until I came home again, at which point you would gladly follow me to my room to sit on my chest and purr until I either fell asleep or grew weary of your kneading paws digging into my bare chest and pushed you off onto a nearby pillow.

You didn't want to be in my room, so I didn't force you to, as I have many times over the last twelve months. I wanted you to be happy, and I didn't think a few hours left unattended would have me find you mauled to death on the kitchen floor by my roommate's vicious fucking dogs. I thought you kept them at bay. I know they were very mindful of your ferocity and dominance, at least while there were humans around. I thought you would be able to escape any imminent danger, especially as an agile feline against a couple of clumsy dogs. They must have cornered you, ran you down somehow. There were three of them, after all, and only one of you. I know Story did not do this to you, though I am sure she had a role in your tragic demise. You guys sleep right next to each other, and I know she never had any ill intent towards you. Sometimes she gently chased you while trying to sniff your butt, and other times she would aggravate you into giving her a few swipes on the nose after you grew wearisome of her incessant licking, but she never once growled or snapped at you. Those other fucking dogs have, though. And they've killed cats before.

I honestly had no idea that they would become so insane as to attack you, Bert. I really didn't. I guess that's what happens when your owner leaves town for nearly a month and doesn't do anything to care for you, short of having someone come over once a day to let you out for five minutes and dump some food in a bowl. I'm so sorry, Bert. I should've known better, but my hurriedness to get out the door after work must have clouded my judgment.

My guess is that you were sniffing and chewing at the plants in the living room, and maybe Story began playing with you, chasing you down the hall, which riled up the other dogs, at which point primal instinct took over. It doesn't matter.

What matters is that your last few moments on this earth were filled with sheer terror, and I did nothing to save you. I'm sure, loyal as you are, that until the very last second you were just waiting for me to come in and call off those fucking pieces of shit, even as you fought for dear life. What could you do? They couldn't have taken you on one-on-one, so one of the fucking cowards clamped down on your neck, suffocating you, while the other one bit at your stomach and back. I'm sure Story was around there somewhere too, barking either in protest or sadistic pleasure. There's no way to know.

The horrible irony is that what I said before virtually came true, body positioning and all. I'm still having a hard time considering the implications of it all, but it does seem to fit in quite resoundingly with the rest of my life, and I am so deeply sorry that you became yet another example. You spent the first years of your life grossly mistreated, and then for a while, you lived a somewhat normal life. You were loved very much by both Rebecca and I, and the love and appreciation you showed in return was unequalled by any pet I have either had or known. You truly were a unique being.

When I came home around two a.m. and found you lying on the kitchen floor, I gasped and yelled in horror and fell to my knees to check to see if you were okay. Your eyes were open in terror, and I cradled your head, the only part of you that was still dry and unharmed, and attempted to check your pulse. I couldn't find one, but I don't know that I'd be able to even if you had had one. Your body was still warm as I frantically pet and talked to you, and called my girlfriend and roused her out of bed with my crying hysterics. A small part of me believes that a small part of you was still alive when I found you, as if waiting to fully let go until you could see me and feel my touch just once more, because ten minutes later, your body was no longer warm, and your extremities had begun to stiffen. I could be wrong and simply deluding myself as we humans are wont to do when it comes to dealing with loved one's passings, but you don't mind, do you?

Minutes passed and I became enraged. I alternated between storming through the house, destroying doors and kicking the dogs and laying on the ground with you, pleading for your life. I assure you, Bert, that any terror you might have felt in your final moments was multiplied tenfold in the dogs. I don't think they thought they were going to make it out alive. Story was mortified. I put her in her cage while I mercilessly beat the others. She was shaking so hard that the door of her cage rattled as I threw the murderers outside. She hasn't been the same since. For the first day after your death, she would not leave my bedroom, even to go outside. Even now, she is wandering throughout the house, whining for no reason. She was truly affected. She misses you.

When my vengeful rage had finally passed and my breathing returned to normal, I wrapped your wet, broken body in a red towel and cradled you in my arms, trying my best to close your eyes, though they would not. I held you, a body heavier now with the weight of death, just like I did the first night I got you, about two years ago, now- wrapped in a towel, pressed tightly against my chest. The first night I did this was to comfort you. The last night I did this was to comfort me.

Soon, Rebecca came over and sat on the floor with me while I kissed your nose and blubbered tearful admissions of guilt, responsibility and memory. Later, I placed you inside a box, along with your food bowl full of Deli-Cat, the towel you always sat on while eating, and a plastic sack. I placed you up high, on a speaker cabinet, so the dogs wouldn't get to you again, if they came back, that is.

Rebecca gave me a sleeping pill, at my behest, as I knew I would never be able to sleep on my own, and around 6 a.m., I passed out.

I awoke with a start at eleven the following morning, and walked into the living room to see the dogs that I threw out the night before. I kicked Linus Wang in the ribs, and punched Daisy Mae squarely in the face twice, drawing blood, and kicked them out the front door again. I should feel bad for abusing those animals, but I do not.

The torrential rainfall that day made it easier to dig the three foot hole that would become your grave, and the mud that is still caked underneath my fingernails will not likely be gone soon. Can't say I really care.

I buried you on the side of the house, underneath the third stone of the walkway. That was the stone you always sat on when you went outside occasionally. You would just sit there and look around, not doing anything, really, but always sure to come when I called for you.

Rebecca came over after school and laid a white rose on your grave and said some really nice things about your poor, tortured life. I know it doesn't mean shit to you, but it made me feel better, if not sadder. I couldn't say anything. I just littered your grave with guilty tears.
The worst pain comes in knowing that in just three days, I will be moving to a new house free of vicious dogs and busy roads- a new place where I planned to let you run around outside as much as you wanted, free from the limitations of a small bedroom. We almost made it.

I'm so sorry, Bert.

Bert the Cat
??-February 23, 2006

Rest in peace, Baby B.


Jonathan and Rebecca[in absentia]


maniclulu said...

i'm so sorry. it sounds so tragic. hope you guys are okay.

Guy Newport said...

I'm so sorry Jonathan. Poe and me may of had our differences with Bert, but I always admired him and deep down loved him. Steve

Allie D. said...

I send out peaceful thoughts and many condolences to you. Bert was a beautiful creature...

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry! I read this over James's shoulder and couldn't stop crying. I know exactly what you are feeling right now, I've lost many of my little friends too. I only met Bert a couple of times....but I could tell he was a special kitty. Hope you get to feeling better...I know it's hard. - Jennifer

james said...

Bert was the nicest cat I've known. Even when we barely knew him and he hid in the bathtub to get away from Poe, he still emerged a few days later to introduce himself and knead our chests. He was my favorite cat, and I didn't know him nearly as well as Jonathan.

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry for the loss of your cat. Being a pet owner ( both dogs and cats) I can understand your sadness, but there is NO EXCUSE for beating any animal.
Knowing animal behavior I can tell you with no hesitation that your dog Story was part of your cat mauling. Dogs are pack animals and as pack animals will display aggressive behavior toward lesser animals. If you were a truly responsible owner you would have been sure to keep your cat safe when you are not home ( either keeping your cat in a secure area or keeping the dogs confined to an area outside of your home.) And you and your roommate should have discussed a good living situation for all of your pets.
I am disgusted that you could claim to have beaten two animals that were only doing what is in their nature, and terrifying your own dog in the procees. That is abuse and you should not ever own any pets. You should fingd your dog a good home safe from your aggressive behavior.
You write of anger with these dogs which is a valid feeling to have, but if you are to punish anyone it should be yourself.
I would not be surprised to find out you display this same anger and aggresion in every other facet of your life ( after reading your other posts it seems very likely).
Considering these dogs did not try to attack you after you ABUSED them just proves that they are not dangerous or truly aggressive. It was a terrible situation for your cat to be in but remember animals are not human and the behaviors they display are not based on feelings but instincts.

Jonathan said...

Dear Anonymous,
Considering a number of things, namely that a) you know nothing about me or my life except based on what you've read on this blog, b) you've made numerous assumptions about how I've cared for my pets based on just this ONE blog, c) you've probably never been in the situation that I've been in, and d) you're too cowardly to post your own name when attacking me on my own blog, which is perfectly honest and traceable only to ME, your opinion means absolutely nothing to me. If you knew me, which it is perfectly clear by your post that you do not, you might "fingd" it in your best interest to talk to me personally about my situation before spouting your bullshit platitudes about pet ownership. If you want to contact me personally, feel free to do so. Until then, keep your anonymous, petty, fly-by-night strikes to yourself.

amanda said...

I am sorry that this happened....if that happened to one of my cats I would have kicked the shit out of the dogs too