I woke up yesterday to find that my remaining cat, Tuxxie, died in his sleep.
He wasn't ill. He had played, snuggled, ate, drank just as usual. With the passing of the other cats he has been receiving an unusual amount of attention from me and every little sneeze or cough had me jumping up to inspect him.
His paw was still tucked under his cheek. Whatever happened, happened quickly and he didn't appear to suffer.
I am truly a mess, total emotional wreckage of a human being at the moment.
There's a lot of stress, decisions, worry and fear happening in my everyday life and I feel like I'm drowning in sadness and loss.
In October of 2001, Dennis and I had moved to our new apartment in DC. It was a huge adjustment to lifestyle but we were learning to love city life. One of the striking observations about the odd subculture of living in a building that backed up to an alley was the number of alley cats that ran around. Being the softy bleeding heart that I am, I started feeding the alley cats and we had a veritable shanty town set up on our back porch. We gave nicknames to the cats and noticed that unlike other alleys in the neigborhood, our alley cats were black, gray or tuxedos. The largest of the tuxedo cats seemed to herd the kittens to our porch, waited patiently for them to eat or drink first, and would often come up to sit just out of arms reach when we were socializing with neighbors on the porch. It wasn't long before he came close enough for a pet or a scritch and then would carry on about his cat business elsewhere. Dennis and I discussed taking him in, but we already had a LOT of cats in our small apartment and we decided it wasn't a good idea for anyone. Besides, the tuxedo wasn't feral, he seemed healthy, it was likely that he was someone's pet that they let outside. This wasn't a pleasant thought, but a distinct possibility.
In February of 2002, I received a call from our neighbors (with whom we shared the porch) who told me that the big tuxedo cat was passed out on our doorstep. They took him to the vet where he was diagnosed with a sinus infection, warmed up, given antibiotics, dewormed, checked for fleas and ticks and sent home with my neighbors. They tried to bring him into their home, but their two cats began a warfare campaign against the sick kitty. When I came home that evening, I took in the tuxedo cat in, paid for half the vet bills, and set him up in my room. He curled up with me and went to sleep as if he has always belonged there.
Dennis tried to get friendly with him, and indeed was the first to be approached by the cat on the porch, but Tuxxie, as I named him, did not want to have much to do with him, or anyone for that matter. He was most certainly my cat.
Through the years, Tuxxie remained suspicious, aloof and wary of anyone new but never wavered in his affection for me. It was a VERY BIG DEAL that Scott was allowed to pet him, hug him and give him kisses.
Tuxxie had a very strong hatred of pens, and would sometimes give pencils the stink-eye just for good measure. He had a distinct purr, an affinity for cuddling with my butt, and seemed to enjoy being called fancy. He would place his paws in such a way that the white line of his mittens would line up perfectly.
Tuxxie had a great level of dignity. He was my darling and I loved him so very much.