Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Good Cat, Laid to Rest


Phoebe came to us in the autumn, about twelve years ago. Tom was entering his senior year in college and had a broken heart. He needed someone who would love him unconditionally. When we went to the SPCA to look for a kitten, he went directly to the worst-looking, most unkempt animal in the place. Her fur was matted beyond detangling, she had many sores, her eyes were goopy and she looked totally miserable. She'd been brought in as a stray and obviously was unaccustomed to life on the streets. I would point to a sleek, black male with green eyes, or a marmalade color cat like Mac and suggest that kitty. Repeatedly, Tom would shake his head "no," and tell me, "I want THAT cat." He must have been looking for a cat that reflected his own emotional state.
. . . .

After signing the adoption papers, we learned that we couldn't just take Phoebe with us, but rather she had to stay and be spayed. Tom was leaving for Manhattan the next morning, so I agreed to pick Phoebe up after her surgery and deliver her to his apartment the next weekend. When I went to retrieve her, she didn't look like the same cat! She'd been cleaned up, and most of her matted fur was gone. Her body had been shaved very close, leaving a fluffy mane around her head and a poof at the end of her tail. She looked like a very peculiar miniature grey lion. This picture is not Phoebe, but shows what a lion cut looks like.
. . . .
Phoebe was a wonderful companion to Tom for a couple of years. Eventually, after a series of roommates who were not crazy about cats and an expanded travel schedule, Tom believed that Phoebe would be better off living with us. We welcomed her into our home and enjoyed her quite a bit. She loved to be brushed, she liked to chase a light pointer, and was adept at stopping a rolling coin instantaneously (Tom always said she'd perfected this move on roaches in the apartment!). She had a sweet disposition, liked to sleep with us, and was remarkably tolerant of other animals.
. . . .
We had Mac when Phoebe came, and she thought he was just fine, though the feeling wasn't mutual. We also had a cocker spaniel, Molly, at that point, and Phoebe wasn't the least bit bothered by her. Over time, Phoebe became accustomed to two other cats who lived with us, Jack and Bodacious. When Andrew and Amy would come with their energetic dog Zoe, Phoebe appeared utterly indifferent, confusing Zoe no end. This picture shows her with Bo.
. . . .
Sweet to the very end, Phoebe began to fail over the past few months. She began having embarrassing elimination accidents, had difficulty with the stairs at times, and seemed to not be eating much. She lost weight and her hearing, and asked for milk more and more often. Solid food didn't stay down well. Tom, who had moved to Richmond to be with Anastasia and her two cats, dreamed of being able to bring Phoebe to live with them. This wasn't to be; a few days after his wedding, it became clear that Phoebe was sick and uncomfortable, and she was put to rest.
. . . .
Phoebe was a good cat who brought a smile to the faces of all who met her.

4 comments:

Ms. Jan said...

Poor little Phoebe. It sounds like she hung on until her Tom was happily settled. Rest in peace.

Susan said...

What a lovely obituary. Most *people* aren't so lucky when someone writes about them.

Sharon said...

What a lovely Phoebe story! So sorry that she isn't here now, but she'll be waiting for you and Tom across the Rainbow Bridge.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about Phoebe. She was such a sweet kitty and will be missed.

Marsha