Post 1299: On the passing of my sister’s cat, Sox…

I read the sad news this morning. My sister, Kathy, had to make a decision about her tuxedo kitty, Sox, yesterday. He had a cancerous tumor on a front paw. She wrote:

I did have to have Sox euthanized today.  It was so hard to do, but Kitty Boy was miserable and so sad to watch.  It took me until 3:30 this afternoon to finally let him go.  

The Dr. said he most likely had a stroke, perhaps caused by the cancer moving to his brain.  It’s going to take a long time to get over his death.  Molly was so sweet.
She laid on top of me and put her paw and head on my hand.  She knew something wasn’t right.
Sox is missing in Seattle.

Sox in his prime.

My sister “inherited” Sox as a kitten when her grandchildren got him from one of my sister’s neighbors, but were unable to keep him. Like me, she wasn’t a cat person till she got one. We always had dogs when we were little, then no pets till we were older and closer to retirement or retired. Sox was her first kitty.

Sox was an only kitty most of his life. Then my sister had to move. The first day she moved into her new home, she let Sox out to do kitty business, as was their habit from their old home.

That was the last time she saw him for 10 months, a story that I documented here as encouragement to others who lost their kitties. My sister never gave up, and she finally located poor Sox in a shelter!

Molly Moon looks like a sweetheart to me, and my sister says she is a sweet-dispositioned kitty, too.

When Sox disappeared, my sister eventually adopted Molly Moon, who was a bit older than Sox, but is a tuxedo kitty, too.

When Sox returned home, he no longer was the only kitty, and it made adjustment necessary. Molly and Sox eventually became friends and shared my sister without hassles. (Molly, of course, was the top kitty in the home since Sox hadn’t been home to defend his “title” during his absence.)

My sister told me about the tumor and what she had to deal with some time ago, but one hopes against hope for a happy outcome. I didn’t mention it here though anyone who’s followed this blog for any length of time knows the story of Sox and how he was lost then came home.

That story was the “happily ever after” part. Today’s news is the blunt, sad reality. Anyone with kitties, dogs, any creature in their lives knows the joys and laughter they bring, yet always has that other reality at the back of their thoughts: The joy inevitably is followed by the sad reality that those beloved pets are mortal.

Poor Sox. I’ve shed tears for you today. Kathy, I know that you did what was best for Sox, no matter how sad and difficult the task was for you. Hugs and love, sis.

RIP, Sox the tuxedo kitty. Thank you for the joy you brought into my sister’s life.





Post 670: Panther


I came across the sad news today that one of my favorite Internet cats, Panther, had to be euthanized. The joy of pets comes with the sting of their mortality, yet not to have them in our lives is to live without that special  joy. I join Doug and Sharon in mourning the loss of their beloved Panthy. On Facebook, they left this tribute to Panther:

We had to say goodbye to our dear sweet Panthy today, yesterday evening he stopped being able to eat, his mouth was bleeding every time he tried.We hoped he would heal up enough over night to try eating again but this morning it was much worse, moving his tongue made him choke and put him in great distress. We arranged for our vet to come by this afternoon and relieve poor Panthy from his pain and discomfort.
He spent the day resting quietly, getting cuddled on our bed, sitting on our laps on the sunny step and walking with us/being carried by us around the yard and neighbourhood. Despite being hungry and in pain he purred, talked to us and took great interest in the world around him. He seemed like his old self but his mouth cancer would no longer allow him to eat or drink, so we had to say goodbye.
He is buried in our garden, where he use to love to explore and sun himself. We are heartbroken that he is no longer with us but are happy he is no longer in pain.
We will always love you Panther, be free our dear friend, our big sweet boy, our beautiful Panther love.


Thank you, Panther, for the joy.

Love, Andy, Dougy, and Doug

Post 484: a dreaded anniversary

Tomorrow is the third anniversary of the death of Louie the ginger cat.

Picture 215

This is how he slept by my computer desk when I was on the computer. He was an affectionate cat, a cat happy to be with me, near me. He was a rescue cat his veterinarian estimated to be five years old when I got him. My only regret with Louie is I didn’t get to know him as a kitten. I bet he was a hoot! And exceptionally cute. I just know that.


When he couldn’t be outside, he liked to look out the back door, in this way. As a big cat, the settee was right sized for perching on the arm.

Louie came into my life because he was picked up in the northwest part of town by the animal control officer: Louie had a record! Two things came out of that period in his life: He liked to go outdoors and he became extremely stressed when I took him in the car to the veterinarian’s for care and shots. I don’t think his experience being caught by the animal control officer was pleasant.


Louie inspired me. This photo, for example, became one of several Louie photos that ended up on coffee mugs I still use.

grumpy coffee =mug

Yeah, Louie hated TACO the tuxedo cat, a unclaimed cat still in the neighborhood by some miracle. (Andy and Dougy find him fascinating but scary.)

TACO came in and sampled Louie's food. Louie was spitting mad.

TACO came in and sampled Louie’s food. Louie was spitting mad.

My favorite photo of Louie, though, is one you’ve probably seen before if you pay attention to backgrounds in videos of the boys: Louie as Captain Me-Ow!

New Louies Cape_Complete

That photo’s on mugs, shopping totes, and a poster hanging on the wall behind my computer. That way Louie is always in my thoughts. He was good cat. A great cat.

Louie died on August 1, 2011. When I made the memorial video on the second anniversary of Louie’s death last year…well, here is the memorial video from last year:

It still makes me cry.

where have I been?

It’s been a long, hot summer. Lots of visitors, transitions. It all left me stunned, tired, worn.

I enjoyed the visits. Those were good! Some friends I’d not seen in years. Larry and Robert: four years. Ralph: three years. My brother from California, my sister and friend from Seattle, my other sister from Rapid City filled in the rest of the time. I felt blessed by each visit, and look forward to more in the coming year. Another friend, from Rapid City, couldn’t break away from his railroad job long enough to visit with us, an all too common thing, eh?! The person closest to the host is the one who can’t make it. Life can be perverse.

After 22 months of companionship, laughs, my cat Louie died August 1st or lymphoma. I was – am – shocked because I didn’t even suspect he was ill until his last day. I made a video for his veterinarian, thinking I could somehow save Louie by documenting how ill he was. The morning of August 2nd, I found him dead in my dryer, his favorite “hideyhole”. I bawled. I bawl just writing this. Louie was a beautiful, great cat.

Don’t watch this video if you are sensitive.

If you are sensitive, watch this Louie video. It is Louie at his best. He was a great cat!

When I picked up Louie’s ashes, a lady who works as a technician at the veterinarian’s asked if I’d be interested in a kitten. He wouldn’t be ready to leave “home” for about a month, she said. He was a pure bred Persian, suitable to be a pet, but not suitable for breeding or showing because his face is a bit crooked.

My face is a bit crooked, too, I thought, and I said I’d at least take a look.

It was instant bonding! I will tell more about this new kitten as our relationship develops. He isn’t a Louie, but, as this little video shows, he is quite the character. I named him Andrew (after the patron saint of Scotland) and James (because I like the name and all my pets have “James” as a middle name- why not?). Just plain Andy!

What do you think? Is Andy a keeper?

a little death

I had a call from the veterinarian this morning, 8:00 o’clock.

Freckles had died during the night. They were very sorry. They- the vet who spayed Freckles and another vet, who is an old friend of mine from over at the last place I lived- would do an autopsy on her, would let me know what they learned. She would be cremated. Would I like the ashes (“No.”) Would it be OK if they spread them, then, around a tree they have in front of the clinic? (“Yes.”)

Picture 63

Freckles and Me

Who accepts death immediately? I fight denial as I type. She was such a sweet little cat. She was so gentle, I’d hoped to take her over to the care center, for her to become the cat version of the dog, Benji. Benji belongs to one of the staff, and everyone loves him, he’s such a sweet little dog. See the pattern? She’d be a therapy cat or just something sweet and alive to cuddle in old arms and hands. No way can she be dead!

Freckles died. Is dead. Won’t come home. She will be cremated, and her ashes will be scattered round a tree that grows in front of the clinic. I like that. I drive by the tree many times a month. Her new home.

The vet reported the findings of the autopsy to me. Clear lungs. (I’d mentioned she sneezed a lot.) Normal kidneys. (She was a young cat, her life measured in weeks.) Nothing out of order where she’d been opened surgically. (The vets at the clinic all have great reputations, for cause.) In short, Freckles died of an “undetermined cause”.

In the human mind, though, “undetermined cause” is the start of outrageous speculation!

What of her three weeks in the pound, listening to and smelling the barking dogs? The stress of surgery plus the return to a cage while she recovered? That the recovery cage was surrounded on two sides by recovering dogs? Did they bark? Did she cower in her cage, frightened she was returning to this hell?

When the mind runs wild, anything is an answer. Stress. That’s my guess. It’s as good as “undetermined cause”, though I grant the two veterinarians involved in the autopsy the credibility that comes of their long years of study and practice as veterinarians.

guard cat

Louie and Me

What next?

Louie still lives with me. He is a charming, quirky cat. I will use him to fine-tune my knowledge of cat companionship. When I feel I’m suitably trained, Louie and I will adopt another pound cat. Or maybe a dog. No, a cat.

Today has been sad, there have been tears. A little death can do that to your day.

p.s. While I write, Louie holds vigil at the backyard window above my computer desk. Several times every night, he sits in the window, then backs out, comes over to me for a little loving. Or to stretch out over my mouse, mouse hand, and part of my keyboard, a good spot to snooze, by Louie standards. We’ll get on just fine.