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I got Rusty at the place I use to work, a trash company. A couple of the drivers heard a kitten crying and it was coming from a trash truck. The truck was the front loading kind, the one with forks to pick up containers and lift them to the top of the truck to be emptied. They found Rusty at the top, stuck between the bar that the forks are attached to and the body of the truck. It took them forty-five minutes to release him. Of course they brought him in to me and I took him home. It was the summer of 1983.

He was full of fleas and dirty and skinny. I gave him a bath and fed him. He was a very lovable kitten, glad to have a good home at last. He fit right in with the rest of the brood.

Rusty is the kitty that would cuddle with me at night like a stuffed animal. He slept under the covers with my arms around him, his head next to mine on the pillow. He was my best friend when I was single. Always there for me and always a sweetheart.

He got better looking with age. My old landlord said about Rusty, "he sure wouldn't win any beauty contests." He has grown into a fine looking cat.

His biggest pleasures in life now are picking fights with Boney, chasing the dog, Junior, pretending he is my shadow, and running around like a crazed animal. He loves attention and being carried. If he wants to be picked up and you ignore him, he will run up your body until you are forced to hold him. And that's just how he likes it. To be held like the baby he is.

April 3, 2002 This past Saturday, Rusty crashed. He was doing very badly. I started him on amoxicillan, but it didn't look good. He was having a hard time holding his balance when he walked and he wouldn't eat or drink. Monday morning, I took him to the vet's, but the vet was out sick. Rusty got sub/q fluids, but he had lost three pounds from his last visit, back in August 2000. He was skin and bones and the techs mentioned how bad his breath was, a sign of kidney failure. I called the office at four Monday afternoon to see if the vet would be in on Tuesday. He would. I made an appointment for 9:15. During the appointment, the vet felt Rusty's kidneys and said they were small and rough, definitely damaged (part of the aging process and a key part is genetics). He took blood and told me that he'd call me with the results. Rusty was given more fluids and a shot to settle his tummy. I brought him home and waited for the phone to ring. In my heart, I knew the news wouldn't be good. Rusty has been having seizures since the day after Pepper died and he was arthritic in his back and legs. It was very hard for him to get around. He hadn't groomed himself in years.

The vet called a little before noon. Rusty's kidneys were over 80% failure. He said there wasn't much we could do. We could try to prolong Russ's life with fluid therapy, but he didn't really think, in Rusty's condition, that was the best way to go, at least for Rusty. I had made up my mind to not do anything drastic to prolong Rusty's life. I made that promise to Bobby after he died, that I wouldn't do to another kitty what I'd done to him. That I'd let them go when it was best for them, not when it was best for me (never would be best for me). After speaking with the vet, I paged Brian and told him the news. After I hung up, I thought about if I wanted to go alone or go with Brian. I didn't want to go alone. I called the vet's office to see when I could bring Rusty down. The appointment was made for 4:15. Brian got home about 4:00. We went down.

Rusty passed on at about 4:30, April 2, 2002. *tears*


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