It’s always sad when a friend’s cat dies. My heart hurts for what I know they’re about to go through as they mourn their loss. We’ve all been there, and even though everyone grieves in their own unique way, we all know how hard it is. And when the cat is one I’ve come to know and love, I feel the loss, too. I always had a soft spot in my heart for Squirty, my “feline nephew.” He lived with my friends in New York City for 18 years – New Year’s Eve would have been his birthday. He passed suddenly and peacefully on Christmas Eve morning.
I first met Squirty 12 years ago. When I first met him, he lived with gregarious and portly Tudy, a beautiful torbie, and shy and sweet Yummy, a pretty tabby with white markings. Tootie and Yummy passed away within a few months of each other a couple of years ago. When my friends adopted now 2-year-old Rudy and Fanny, Squirty initially wasn’t thrilled, but true to the gentleman cat he was, he quickly came to accept and even love his little brother and sister.
Squirty had a strong bond with both of his siblings. Fanny, who is a super intuitive little cat, acted more like a big sister to him, always watching out for him. Rudy adored his old man. I really think he looked up to him, and I suspect he’s going to miss him very much.
Squirty could be a bit aloof, but he and I really bonded when I spent a few days cat sitting for my friends when their regular cat sitter wasn’t available. In the past, Squirty had occasionally gently hissed at me (something he did with other visitors, too) and this time, I was prepared. Whenever I approached him, I always had a couple of treats in my hand. It didn’t take long for him to decide that if mom and dad couldn’t be there, I was the next best thing.
My friends left detailed instruction on how to feed everyone, but Squirty didn’t read the fine print. He rarely emerged from his favorite spot, a basket on a small cabinet in the bathroom, so he got “room service.” At first he seemed a bit confused, but he quickly adjusted to getting breakfast (and dinner) “in bed,” and of course, he expected (and got) that service from me at every subsequent meal.
This past summer, Squirty had a couple of odd seizure-like episodes, and my friends thought for sure that they would lose him then. Vets weren’t able to determine the cause of whatever was going on, and he never showed any other signs of any kind of illness and lived a happy and full life until his quick and peaceful passing. At almost 18 years, he lived a good, long life – but of course, it’s never long enough.
Rest easy, sweet Squirty. I’ll miss you.