Thursday, July 28, 2011

Goodbye, Old Friend

My cat Morris came into my life on October 17, 1998. It was a day when it started raining buckets at five in the morning and was still raining buckets at noon--what my father calls a "frog choker". All around, the water started to rise. First Cat Isobel and I were watching the reports of all the places that were now underwater, when we heard a soft knocking at my door. There on the doorstep was a soaking wet, bedraggled looking, pissed off yellow cat. He was staring at me. He looked so utterly pitiful that I let him in. He even let me dry him off a bit so he wouldn't soak my carpet.

After figuring out that Morris did not have front claws and trying to find his human, I took him to the vet. This was not fun for Morris, and therefore was not fun for the vet. Morris suffered from post-traumatic stress, likely from when he was declawed, and he was not about to let any person in a white coat touch him. I just stood back and watched the fur fly while the vet figured out that Morris was a)a boy, and b)probably about three years old, and c)fixed. Subsequent visits to the vet involved the use of those long leather gloves used for working with birds of prey, every available able-bodied person, and some forms of anesthesia. Morris never did get over his vet-phobia, but thankfully vet visits were a once-a-year thing.

Morris was a cranky cat from the very beginning, and as a young cat was as likely to bite you as he was to purr. In fact, he would purr to distract you and THEN bite you. He was an extremely messy eater, who would shovel in as much food as possible instead of eating daintily like other cats. Morris demanded to be fed at all hours of the day, and he didn't take no for an answer, following me around the house until I put a couple of kibbles out. He answered to no one except for the dinner bell; if you said the words "Morris, dinner!" that cat would immediately materialize at your feet.

Morris wasn't the sharpest cat. Many times I wondered just how he had survived being abandoned until he showed up at my house. His reflexes were very slow, he wasn't the least bit playful, and he wasn't sociable. He also wasn't afraid of things he should have run from. He once faced down a German Shepherd like he was the same size; and it was only luck that the dog ran off instead of eating him.

I used to wake up in the morning with Morris' face three inches from mine. He would be purring. Morris would also curl up behind my knees on cold nights, and he would purr. Occasionally he would show up while I was watching television and would sit in my lap. He would purr. If you pet him, especially underneath his chin, he would purr.

At approximately 16 years old, Morris was spending more and more time sleeping. He wasn't taking care of himself; his fur was matting in areas he was no longer able to reach. He was moving slower, and was starting to have difficulty getting up the stairs or jumping onto the bed. Morris did enjoy going outside into our yard. As he got older, a little sun seemed to help with his arthritis. Every now and then he would ask to go outside at night, and he would hide in the bushes until I called him. Except last Saturday night, when I let him out, he disappeared. We have searched for him in our yard, behind the house, and in the woods, but there's a lot of places that a yellow cat can hide.

While Morris would miss many things, he would never miss dinner. I will keep looking, because I don't like to give up. Morris has a collar, and someone might find him. I still have a tiny spark of hope, but that spark is fading with each passing day. I have come to the unfortunate conclusion, given his age and the horrific heat outside during the day, that Morris went out into the night and died.

He showed up suddenly, and Morris left me just as suddenly. I wish I had known, so I could have said goodbye. This is the best that I can do.


Goodbye, old friend. You sent me to the ER with puncture wounds, you peed on my shoes at least once, and you left clumps of yellow fur all over no matter how much I brushed you. You also made me laugh often, listened to me when no one else would, and you showed me lots of love and purrs. I will miss you.


  1. My heart goes out to you--I also recently lost my cat, Gremlin--only I know where he is. He is patiently (?) waiting for me somewhere over the rainbow along with the rest of my dearly loved and departed pets.

    Michele aka MikiHope

  2. Morris was a real personality. I wish him lots of fun driving the Heaven-vets batty.

  3. Awww, you poor thing. I had a cat Manda who needed the falcon gloves with the vet. And she would win. Every time. I bet they are up there getting the last laugh at our vets.

    I'm sorry. Hugs.

  4. I hope you get "better" closure on this...sorry.

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