Last week, our cat Daniel passed away.
Abandoned in a local Petsmart, he came to live with us about two years ago. He could get nasty when he was scared or mad and mauled a couple of family members, but mellowed a bit after a couple of injuries, one involving another cat and one in which his tail was accidentally shut in a door. A year ago he was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). He nearly died, but the amazing doctors and techs at Eastern Animal Hospital restored him to a reasonable semblance of health. In his last year, he wasn’t as energetic as he’d previously been, but he still liked to zip outside to chase mice and birds whenever the door opened. Shortly before 2:00 AM on March 18, 2015, his heart gave out. He was about three years old.
Kathy and I have had cats and dogs for most of our married life, and are no strangers to such loss. Some of our animals have died young, like Daniel, and some have had very full lives. Punkin, a female tortoiseshell who Kathy referred to as her “attitudinous kitty”, lived to be 20 years old. Lily, our Great Dane/mastiff, is now 13 years old, which puts her squarely in “older than dirt” range for a dog of that size. I doubt I could provide a complete catalog of the cats who have passed through our lives; at one point we accidentally ended up with an embarrassingly large number of them. But in all cases, we have had to contend with the basic fact that our canine and feline pals don’t live as long as we do, so to have a dog or cat is most generally to lose them.
For me, though, there is great consolation in knowing that on the whole we do our best to give them a good home. Many of our animals have been cast-offs, creatures other people didn’t want or for some reason could no longer keep. Even though Daniel’s life was short (some might say tragically so), while he was with us he was cared for, had a “brother” (our other cat Logan) to play with, and regularly escaped through the front door to chase local wildlife.
What more could a cat ask for?