Louie the ginger tabby cat

I guess everyone has a favorite pet, now defunct. I mean, Andy and Dougy are dear to my heart. Yes, I congratulate myself for accepting them as gifts when they were kittens, but there is one cat before them that was something else: Louie the ginger tabby cat!

Before he died suddenly on 1 August 2011, I compiled photos into an adventure for a friend’s son and daughter, both pre-schoolers at the time. It has a moral, since it’s for kids. The story has some sloppy spots when I look at it again, but it still has some charm. More importantly, it reminds me how much I miss Louie, a goofy, fun cat that actually was the second cat I rescued at the time from the animal pound. The first one was in my life briefly. (Freckles the gray tabby, died after being spayed.) Louie was meant to be a companion to Freckles, but turned out to be the main cat, the only cat until I got Andy and Dougy.

So, here it is. A cat tale with a moral and a Jazz soundtrack, because Louie was named after Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong:

I hope you enjoyed the video, which was created from a PowerPoint file, something I couldn’t do when I made the story in 2011. I hope it also shows how a cat rescued from an animal shelter hours before he was scheduled to be euthanized became a good companion to some old, retired guy, who learned most of what he knows about cats from this loveable lump!

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.