Friday, April 25, 2008

FATTY
1987 - 2008


I suppose I could have titled this “Things that break my heart”, but I won’t do that. What happened this morning did make my heart ache in pain though. I have started and stopped writing this a dozen times, my words blinded by my tears, memories flooding my mind.

For the last 21 years Fatty has been a beloved and faithful cat. He brought me more joy then I could ever put into words. The little kitten that I picked up in 1987, that could fit in the palm of my hand, who has been my constant companion through all the ups and downs during half of my life is gone. He had a stroke last night. One minute he was out on the deck enjoying the sunshine and the next he was dragging his hind legs. I yelled for John. I knew it was bad. He called one of the Vets from work. I couldn’t listen. I knew what he was telling him. I knew.

Fatty had been failing steadily for well over 6 months. He’d have his good days and his not so good days. The last month or so his not so good days were outnumbering his good ones. He wasn’t even fat anymore. Just a shadow of the big round lump that he used to be.

I can say that he had a glorious life. He lived outside for most of the year, only venturing in during the chilly fall nights. He hibernated with us in the winter. His favorite spot was on the back of the couch. I would pick up him when he couldn’t jump up anymore, just so he could spend some time there, looking out the window.

When I was divorced and living on my own for the very first time in my life, it was often just Fatty and me. The boys Dad would come to take them and I was left alone in the house, petrified. Every night he would lie on the couch right above my head, and he would let one paw hang down so it touched me ever so slightly. I always liked to think that was his way of saying “I’m here Mama”.

He was hunter. I couldn’t even begin to count all the mice, moles, squirrels, and birds that he left for me over the years. Always making sure I saw his latest catch, happily purring and rubbing against my leg until I said “Good Job Fat Man” and gave him a scratch behind the ears. He was happiest outside, lying in a sunny spot, drinking out of the mini birdbath that he claimed as his watering dish.
He always kept us laughing. One of the funniest Fatty stories happened at Thanksgiving time. I had baked up a bunch of pies, wrapped them up and covered them in linen towels. I had them lined up on the stove. Thanksgiving morning I awoke to find Mr. Fatty comfortably curled up in one of my pies. He was quite content all balled up in my pumpkin pie. Must have had a nice warm nap. I wish I had a picture of that, but at the time I was quite perturbed with him, so I wasn’t reaching for the camera.

He and Moose didn't get along so well at first. Fatty had been the king of the house for many years and he wasn't so happy to have Moose join the family. They slowly got used to each other. Over the past year they would lay on the couch together and even drink from the water bowl at the same time. They became buddies. You just couldn't help but love Fatty. He always looked cranky, in almost every picture he looks a little pissed off, but that was just him. Inside he was a big lovable mush.
When he was younger he would announce that he was ready to come in by jumping up on the deck rail and inserting a claw into the screen of the kitchen window. He would snap that screen back and forth until you heard him and let him inside. Pretty smart kitty.



Mitch and John had to shave him a few times over the last few years. He had stopped grooming himself and became so matted that they had to get the industrial sized shears from work to shave his back. He looked so pitiful after those shaves, but he felt (and smelled) so much better.



As he got older, even his voice changed. He no longer meowed, he squeaked. Short little bursts of sound to let us know he was hungry, or wanted out. We discovered the squeak about a year ago. About 3am one morning I heard what I thought was one of the smoke detectors starting to loose battery power. You know how they make the annoying noise every 30 seconds or so? Well I heard that noise and nudged John to get outta bed and please pull the battery out until morning. When he returned to bed I asked him which smoke detector is was. “Fatty” he said. “That was Fatty. He was hungry”.



Two years ago John brought him into work to have a small tumor removed from his side. As the Doctor examined him he told John he couldn’t believe that he was 19 years old at the time. He was in great shape. His only complaint was that he purred so loud that he had trouble hearing his heartbeat. That was my Fatty, always purring, always happy. He really was the perfect cat.


John always said he was the first friend he made in Rhode Island.

He had been my friend for 21 long and happy years. I don’t think there is a cat out there that could have wished for a better life.



I will miss you my sweet
boy.

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