I was so touched yesterday and in tears of the Meezer's loss of Norton. I knew he had good life and who oculdn't be touched by the loving tribute, yet I was dissolved and more upset than I could imagine. I didn't know this cat, yet I felt as if I had lost one of my own. I realized then, that yes, indeed I had. This coming Sunday is the one year anniversary of the loss of my own old ginger cat, Iggy.
Iggy was only 16 but we had 16 long years together. He was a cat that had such personality, though I have worked at veterinarians and animal rescue, I couldn't pass him by at the pet store. I had to have him. His tail was so long that it curled when you expected it to end.
We watched many losses together. We took in two cats of a friend who was moving for 6 months and watched them go off to their homes. We fostered a tailess tuxedo (like Abby!) and sent her to a wonderful home with an elderly family. He lost his playmate, Cougar, a wonderful Abbysinian ticked cat who died at two of renal failure, probably the result of poor breeding as it's a common problem in abbys to have malformed kidneys.
Iggy and I said good bye to my frist husband, our dogs, particularly the boxer/dalmation mix that Iggy loved. He and I and his best buddy Oscar Grey moved into a smaller place. A year or so later, we said a tearful farewell to Oscar who developed lymphoma at age 5.
Iggy had always been a large cat--over 17 pounds at his biggest, but until that loss he had kept his little kitten head, never developing the jowls of a tom. I thought perhaps I had neutered him too yoiung. Yet within a month of loosing Oscar, he became a true male cat, his thin cat face taking on the look of a tom. He had so respected Oscar that even his hormones kept his face in check so he wasn't a threat to his mentor.
He saw me through the loss of my mom and my dad. After my father died, he was diagnosed with cardiomyapathy, giving him about three years to live. I was in acupuncture school so I tried a naturopath. We pulled him off his meds, the Hill's products and put him on Solid Gold Katz N Flocken and a homeopathic. He acted like he hadn't acted in years. It was another 6 years before he started to look like an old cat in kidney failure and it was only in that year that the vet could once again hear his hear murmur.
He failed for some time. I knew he wanted to die at home, though my other cats had always been euthanized when they stopped eating. As if to make his point, Ig never stopped eating. He had his favorite Taco Bell bean burrito up the Friday before he died. Saturday morning he seemed to weak to be much interested. When he crossed the bridge, I was there. Georgia was there. Only Simone stayed away. Perhaps as she was so close to her own crossing, she was afraid she'd be tempted to go to?
I often visited the Animal Rescue Site, but I had forgotten for about 6 months. Monday after the Saturday he died, I went there. On the site was a phoot of a big orange cat with a disgusted look on his face. Behind him was a circle like for a water bottle but it looked like a halo. I laughed and told everyone to vist there because Iggy was sending me a post card from Heaven. No one else got the photo. I downloaded it so others could see it was real. I saw it for three days.
Though I knew he crossed, I know he still keeps an eye on me and my cats. I have no doubt that as Gemini showed up only 11 days later (the day after my beloved Siamese, Simone crossed the bridge herself) found me because of him.
I still feel the loss of this cat who saw me through so many transitions. We had a long history. The memories are sweet though. His death was hard, but it was a good death (though the process seemd to hard at the time) and the memories are good. His spirit has moved to other places and things but I know that he appreciates the things that I did for him. Some cats are just special and Iggy was one of them.
I think of him often, wondering what he would have thought of Gemini and how he would have treated her as a kitten. She would have liked him I think. Though Georgia was closer to Iggy than Simone, it was Simone she searched for for several days after she passed. I think, having been there, she knew he was gone.
He loved to sit next to the computer as I surfed and typed. He wouild give me this look as if he was quite pleased and surprised by my cleverness. When I cried to him before he died, that I would miss him, he often just gave me a disgusted look and walked away. Female weakness no doubt.
They don't leave us but live on in our memories and though we may still cry to remember them as closely as we do, the memories are more often happy than sad. Cats like Silas and Norton and Ralphie and Iggy will be with us as long as we are around and given the larnest of the personalities, no doubt far beyond!