vale tommy

the white fluffy cat i've been minding
passed away this morning
he'd become more withdrawn as the weeks wafted on
slowly yet perceptively
until last week
he began hiding in the bushes 24 7
i wondered if the cold snap had anything to do with it
he ate the food i brought him
though i often had to dish it up to his mouth
and i carried him into the house for some sunday freetime tlc
and he purred and enjoyed that
feline appreciation
but on the monday food didn't interest him
i took him to the vet on tuesday morning
this morning
wednesday 16 July 2008
he passed on
tommy was 15 1/2 years old
and his diet over the past three years had coexisted with medication
to prevent urea build-up in his blood

tuesday 15 july 8:50am
sunny and cool
i come out to tommy
he sticks his sweet beautiful white head out of the shrub
tommy - i purr myself
i lift him into the cat box
carry the box to my car
and drive him the short distance to the vet

the drive was seemingly quick
yet distressingly long
tommy wailed his distress signals
motion and bumps he did not enjoy
and his wails and cries jarred on me
my stomach tensed up
my mouth pulled back, narrowing and downing
my face ashened
and my eyes felt watery & crusty
i heard something deeper in tommy's cry
tommy was crying for all sentient beings
'what have you done to bring us to this
why did you not leave us in peace
to enjoy this beautiful earth'
...i was relieved when we reached our destination

2 minutes to 9am
the clinic is shut
ok, the vet's just gonna get here right on time methinks
meanwhile this is Anzac Parade Kingsford
cars and buses whir and jet past
tommy and i are on the kerb waiting for this friggin' vet
who is now Late!
i kneel down to tommy and apologise for his distress
and here comes someone else
with a huge dog in tow
a lovely gentle dog who's tail has been damaged by the children playing with it
the owner tells me...
i keep reassuring tommy he'll be ok

5 past 9am
the vet scurries towards the clinic
hurriedly fumbling his keys in one hand
and briefy case in the other
sorry i'm late, he sez
in the clinic we let tommy out of the cage
and for a second while the vet is distracted
tommy attempts to hide under a cabinet
his head is under while his body's attempting submergence
an endearing moment at a sad time
with graceful elegance the vet swings one arm to pick him up to the table
the cat's not well
and so be it
after a shave and sedation
he awakes on wednesday morning
but dies soon after

all deaths diminish us
but yet where there is death there is also life
life cannot be separate from death
for we are all life
and we are all death too
because without exception
we ALL march toward where death's shadow's wait
and each tick of the clock sends us closer there
therefore death and life must be two sides of a universal coin
i sensed shadows around tommy since i've been with him these last 2 months
i'd been with tommy a few times prior over the years
this time, it was different
when cats are happy or contented they exude their contentedness
with a quirky please-themselves happiness
content to live out their own comical proclivities
sleeping on that bench that day
on that rooftoop on the other
under the flowerholder that day
jumping on someone's head another
and generally roaming all over the place
with their cartoon-like alertness
this time tommy seemed tired
as if a certain malaise had overcome him
he became scared to come into the postage stamp garden
instead prefering the shrubs of the outer-rim
i feared from the beginning of this mission
that it would be a tough one
that it would be a touch-and-go exercise
to keep this lovely creature alive and happy
until my final day at this abode
8 September
it was not to be
for tommy was making his personal descent
into the winter solstice of his life
the owner phoned me from Portugal
to thank me for all i'd done
and to not feel bad
i accepted that
i loved the cat
i spent time with him as best i could
i talked to him
brushed him
fed him
stroked and becalmed him
but, this is a grand arena where we live
and all earthdwellers come and go from it
we are ticketholders
with time of arrival stamped
mine says 1970
departure time tbc
by the universal saucepan
tommy's passing equivalates to a new litter of kitties born somewhere else
this is a crazy circus
and don't we love it!
let's love each other
and be good
for we aren't separate from that cat
there will come a day
when we will want to hide under a lovely green shrub
or tree
and lullaby ourselves to eternal sleep
goodbye for now
notice the photo of tommy above
look into his eyes
he is staring through the deep unknown
where his future lies


tresordinaire said…
Ross, as a self confessed Cat lover, I truly feel for you.

As I read your blog my eyes well up.

I can tell that you loved Tommy as I love my own Ralphy.

Take care Mate, I hope to see you again soon.

Simon Lee
ross b said…
Hey Simon, thank you for leaving a comment. Yes it is sad, particularly not having tommy anymore, the garden misses him, and i sense he misses the garden too...

All the best and hope to catch up soon. I plan to visit Jason's store in Mona Vale soon when I get time off, partly to give him the photos on disc (finally!), and to check out some axes, particularly a certain CC Angel...!

Anonymous said…
Hey Ross, it's Sunday which used to be the saddest day of the week for me but not since I stopped working Mondays. Now it's the best day - the me day. And so here I am ctaching up with stuff and, in particular, with your blog. And I was so sad to read about Tommy but you gave him such a eulogy that I smiled through my tears (yeah, I'm a sentimental fool, especially when it comes to animals but I know you don't mind that)
I miss you little bro. I am feeling a bit cut-off and estranged here on the heart island with only my Owl and my Catiana for that deep connection comfort.
Take care and good luck on the coffee front
Cat woman
eek said…
Poor Tommy. I'm sorry. :-(

But lucky Tommy too, because he was loved and cared for and I'm sure he knew that and felt safe. I'm glad he was with someone who had affection for him. He got to live out his life in dignity which is great. I hope I'm so lucky.

One (well, probably two but one seems pretty stable right now) of my cats is winding down and I dread the sadness I know is coming soon. I also dread giving him many of his medications and treatments (antibiotics and sub-q fluids right now in addition to his thyroid and blood pressure medicine) -- I'm trying to psych myself up to do battle (Max doesn't like to take some of his meds).
ross b said…
Thank you for your comments Elida & Holly. I must say the sadness lingers even though tommy was not my cat per's just that the garden misses tommy and tommy was just so sincere and real and loved living his simple life among the leaves and shrubs. Why must everything come to an end??

Holly unfortunately it won't be pleasant when it happens. Cats don't like to be given medication at the best of times though I used to crush his tablet and dissolve it in pet-milk which he drank with relish. When the cat starts to withdraw...that's when you have to make the decision...

All the best, r.
veleska1970 said…
i'm very sorry about tommy, ross. it is hard when you lose a family member. and tommy WAS family for you.

15 is a good long life for a cat. i'll tell you about george~~he lived until he was 18. we picked him out of the litter when he was just days old, didn't even have his eyes open yet. when all the other cats were weaned, we gave them away, but we kept george because he was special. he was king of the neighborhood and everybody knew george. but then he began to have arthritis and also his kidneys were failing. when he passed away at the ripe old age of 18, even my dad cried!!

he died in 1990, and i still miss him like crazy. he was a silver tabby, and in his heyday he probably weighed 20 pounds. but that was all muscle.

"let's love each other
and be good"
wouldn't it be great if we could.....

Anonymous said…
So, you were minding Tommy, what did the owner say?
ross b said…
The owner called me from o/s and thanked me for everything I'd done and not to feel bad. I'd minded Tommy in the past, about 5 times actually and this time and the time before he was on kidney medication. The vet told me that the medications work to a point until they inevitably fail. I didn't feel bad in the sense that the owner was talking about, but I felt sad about the loss. For a few days you feel the spirit of the cat in the garden, and the garden grieves too, for the loss of the cat.

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