June, 1990 – February 8, 2008
For the first time in seventeen and a half years, I am unable to claim ownership by a cat. T.C. finally began suffering the effects of chronic renal failure, and so I made the decision to have him put to sleep.
Surely I could own no sweeter cat, no more affectionate cat, no more forgiving cat. And perhaps no tougher cat. Tests done earlier in the day revealed levels of BUN and creatinine much much higher than normal, and much higher than cats generally tolerate.
I adopted T.C. from a coworker’s pet store as a kitten, in July or August of 1990, between my first and second years at Indiana University. He lived long enough to see me finally graduate college, in August of 2007.
T.C. also saw me get married, moved with us to St. Louis, moved with us to Austin, saw the purchase of our first home, and the birth of our daughter. In fact, save my parents, I have lived in the company of no living being longer.
One of my favorite memories is the time I came home to find he’d knocked a bag of flour off a pantry shelf. The kitchen floor, and his black fur, were covered in flour. How could I be angry; it was so cute! Then there was the time he decided he didn’t like eggs, so he dragged the shirt I’d dropped on the floor, over the plate which formerly held the eggs, which I’d also put on the floor.
He had, until his later years, a compulsion to hide in empty boxes, and empty bags.
He liked to sleep beside me in bed, until Ellington usurped his place. He started sleeping beside me again a few months before he succumbed.
He would greet me with a chirp when I entered the room. Woke me up reliably around 4:00am if he had eaten all his food. Remained playful until nearly the very end.
Groomed my beard, my hair, my arms – sometimes to the point of causing discomfort.
Insanely protective of his turf, he once took a chunk out of my face when I interrupted his warning caterwauling at a feline interloper on the other side of the apartment door.
Ever a cat of sensible intuition, I knew to head for cover if he sought a safe place during severe weather.
He enjoyed sitting on the papers on which one was working, and sitting on one’s lap, even if the timing was inopportune. I even found him, in his last few months, curled up on our laptop computer keyboards.
He liked head butting, sometimes fairly forcefully, and rubbing cheeks. I’m no fool. I know he was marking me as “his.”
He also answered to “Goof” and “buddy.”
T.C. was preceded in death by Ellington, an intruder who he generally tolerated fairly well. But – not always. Ellington was supposed to be a companion for play to help keep T.C. trim. T.C. instead taught Ellington how to be chunky.
T.C., you too, will be missed, sweet boy.
Summer, 1996 – May 19, 2006
The very last picture of Ellington
He was a good boy, with a sweet and gentle temperament, if a little skittish. He left strands of his handsome coat of long dark gray hair everywhere, most often, it seemed, when he sensed I was about to sneeze and he’d beat ass and boogie.
My wife didn’t always appreciate his vigorous purring, his pungent kitty breath, and his carefully placed hair on the furniture and carpet. I thought he purred at just the right volume, he was warm and soft, and it was sweet when I’d wake up and he’d be stretched out beside me. Of course, invariably, his head would be at my knees, and his ass pointed at my face, but, still, it was sweet in its own way.
Ellington was survived by T.C.
You will be missed, sweet boy.
Next to the last picture of Ellington
One of the first pictures I took of Ellington with our digital camera. This is not quite a year after we moved to Austin.
Cats wrestling on the bed in our Morado Cove apt. TC was, despite Ellington’s size advantage and youth, the Alpha Cat.
And a more peaceful picture on the same bed.
Ellington went through a phase where he couldn’t not play with TC’s tail.
For being so skittish, he tolerated Emma pretty well – though Emma heard (and hears) “Be gentle with the kitty” a lot.
Another of Emma and Ellington.
Hanging out with Grandpa Bob, who’s taking a nap.
One of Ellington’s favorite places – sitting beside me on the couch.
Edward Kennedy Ellington Cat (“Ellington”)
Summer 1996 – Friday, May 19th, 2006.
picture from August, 2000