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The ever-changing menagerie, part 2


I don’t write consistently, but when I do, I always try to follow up on “whatever happened to” events or data that I mentioned earlier in this log.

The menagerie is a little smaller this week. Blackie (our unimaginative name for the black feral cat who has been ill, and only because darling wife did not like my numerical designation for him), is now dead by our own tentacles. He had been limping occasionally for the past week, and the veterinarian could not find anything wrong with him. But finally Blackie suffered a blood clot which paralyzed his hind legs and caused him excruciating pain as his limbs grew cold and died.

I was not home for this, unfortunately, or I could have helped darling wife with him. As it was, Blackie was howling in pain, trying to drag himself along, confused and uncomprehending what had happened to him. The other cats were terrified and began howling in a mournful accompaniment.

As soon as darling wife found Blackie on the back lanai, she realized what she had to do. Crying uncontrollably, she bundled him into his bed and took him to the veterinarian, who graciously made time in a full schedule to inject him with the two drugs which would send Blackie on his way into the next life. Blackie fought the coma-inducing drug – he wanted to stay with Mommy as she cradled him and cried; he kept nuzzling her tentacles, seeking comfort from the confusion and pain. The veterinarian administered a second dose, and when Blackie finally lolled unconscious in darling wife’s arms, our veterinarian administered the drug which stopped Blackie’s heart.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) wrote an appropriate little poem called “Epitaph on an Infant.”

“Ere Sin could blight or Sorrow fade,
Death came with friendly care;
The opening bud to Heaven conveyed,
And bade it blossom there.”

I was not very fond of Blackie. He had always been a problem, from his inability to socialize (he always ran from me unless I slowly, carefully cornered him), to his feral habit of urinating (marking) on the walls and doors, to his tenuous health that cost us many doctor’s visits, to his annoying refusal to eat food that he thought was delicious yesterday, but which today was clearly poisonous. Still, in his autistic way, he did try to be a good cat. He functioned as well as a feral cat could be expected to function in a home where every moment, he was certain that I would eat him.

Darling wife buried Blackie later the same day that he died. When I came home two days later, she remarked that she found it odd that I hadn’t asked to see where he was buried. I did not say that I did not particularly care, only that I had not thought to ask. But when she showed me his burial spot, the reality of his death struck me in a way that it had not struck me before. Only a few days ago, I had pet him and he had purred, which he tended to do when he was tired of running away from me. I fed him and he lay in his bed, looking at me.

I didn’t realize, at the time, that it would be the last time I saw him. Now I look for him in the window where he always sat, and I have to remind myself that he’s not there anymore. It’s a strange feeling of loss, especially because I was not very attached to him in the first place. We have other cats of whom I am far more fond.

Still, I miss him. I hope he is happy now. I hope he has found his friend Jesse, another black cat we had, whom we had to euthanize a few years ago, and who is buried next to Blackie. They used to play together, two black cats from different generations and different parents of different breeds, yet they still found plenty in common. I hope they are playing together again.

I miss both of our black cats.


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