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Thursday, May 19, 2016

In Memorium: My Cat White-Chin

Greetings, dear readers.

Today, my husband made tragic discovery when he woke up this morning and went into the kitchen to pour himself some coffee. One of our big boy toms, White-Chin, had crossed the Rainbow Bridge into the happy hunting grounds in the sky. He was 3 years old.

Pest and White-Chin, 2014

White-Chin's death was not totally unexpected. For the past few weeks, he was suffering from an intestinal blockage due to hairballs. Despite our best efforts at treatment and hydrating him, it was too little too late. It was always right around this time of year that White-Chin would brush by death's door because of hairballs. While he had short hair, it was very fine and made him especially vulnerable to getting dangerous hairballs when the shedding season started. We would give him lard, water, any kind of fats, and specialty hairball products to unclog him and they usually worked. This time, however, it didn't work. It was painful to hear him yowling because of the clog in his gut, yet knowing there's not much you can do to relieve it. Surgery could have saved him, but we could not afford the procedure.

Though we knew the end was coming, it's never easy when a pet passes away. White-Chin was a cat we had raised from infancy, watching him grow from a tiny helpless kitten under the care of his amazing super mommy, Powderpuff, into a fierce alpha tom. His name came from his white chin, and he had been a twin to another shorthaired tom named Zlato ("Golden boy", because of his pale orange colored fur). Like many cats, White-Chin was aloof but liked to show his affection with us by headbutts, chirps, kneading while we lay on the bed, and standing on his rear legs to stretch up onto my husband. White-Chin was a lean, athletic cat with a long body, and he liked to stretch to show it off. When zooting around outside, White-Chin would often roost on the patio, near the front door, sometimes with a smug look on his face. My husband liked to say that the cat was being "dignified" when he did this.


Before we left for the clinic, my husband dug a grave for White-Chin in the yard. He found a stone to mark it, and we held a short funeral for our deceased cat. People might think it's ridiculous to hold a funeral for a cat, but I find that it gives me closure. My husband and I have raised and cared for cats for as long as we've been together (and he'd been caring for cats long before he ever met me), and I consider them a part of my family.

In a way, finding this new minnie of ours was an omen. It was as if God was saying "I'm gonna take your kitty soon, but here's another one for you to care for." Not quite a replacement, since I don't believe you can ever "replace" an animal like you can a pair of shoes or a shirt. You can acquire another animal after the loss of one, but each critter is unique. Anyone who has spent time around animals can attest to that observation.

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