Sunday, November 07, 2010



Lucky is thinking, "Gulp!"


Vincent

There are many ways to divide up the people in the world, but animal lovers and non-animal lovers is a significant division.

And I do not expect the non-animal lovers to understand or appreciate in some way the following post.

This is not some sort of criticism. Some people simply want animals to be part of their lives and others don’t.

Two animal lovers raised me. I married an animal lover. Our foster daughter and granddaughter are not animal lovers by any means. That doesn’t make them bad, just different.

My late father often said he would much rather be around animals than people. He sometimes noted that as a kid growing up in crushing poverty in rural Alabama during the Depression that the family dog was his best friend. Dad was anti-social, but that’s just how he felt. My mom remains an animal lover, although she no longer has any pets.

When we had the small family farm in Granby, we had plenty of animals, but the diary goats were clearly my mom’s favorites. They came into the milking area of the barn by name and were as loving and intelligent as a dog.

My mom could barely stand the day they had to sell the herd. She had to leave the house.

So I expect some readers to roll their eyes. That’s okay. We’re the crazy animal people.

One of our favorite pets was put down this week. Vincent – named for Vincent Price – was a jet black short haired male cat wit the most intimidating set of double paws I’d ever seen.

Despite Vincent’s appearance – he had a swagger that indicated he would stand for no foolishness – he was a sweetheart.

Vincent lived with us for 16 years. He started life as a stray – a feral kitty born of a mother cat we fed on our porch. This cat – which eventually died – was somewhat friendly, but Vincent as a kitten was not. He was as wild as he could be.

When winter came we were fearful for his safety, but Vincent made a decision. One cold day, he simply ran into the house and was instantly part of the family.

It amazed us that he could turn off one set of behaviors and turn on another, but that’s what he did.

He was a favorite of our friends and got along fine with the dogs in the house. He would frequently want to help me write, by lying down in the space between the computer and the monitor.

Unlike some of the other cats, he enjoyed being held and we could carry him around cradled in our arms like a baby.

To wake us up, he would gently but firmly bite a selected finger.

He had a problem with one eye, which necessitated its removal. He was not even more intimidating with just one eye. I wanted to get a small watch patch for him, but that suggestion was vetoed.

Although he no longer had the advantage of third dimensional sight, he caught a bird right after coming home from the vet’s.

In his later years, he developed the habit of sitting with us when we were watching a movie or television. He liked to sit very specifically – close to us on a side that would prevent the dog from being close to us. He tolerated Lucky the Wonder Bichon – just tolerated.

In the last few weeks, his health broke and we were forced to put him down. He’s buried in a flowerbed in the back yard.

What is amazing about pets is they want to express affection and they look for affection. They don’t judge. They don’t discriminate. It is a cliché to say we could learn a lot from them, but it is the truth.

Like all of the cats we have Vincent was a rescue. I think he had a good life and I know he enriched ours.

4 comments:

dogboy443 said...

Vincent had a terrific life and you are both wonderful people for letting him into your home and raising him so well.

Bill Dusty said...

Mike,

I'm real sorry to hear about your cat, Vincent.

I love cats - and dogs, and even rats (I actually had one as a pet). I have a cat now that is my best companion at home.

I lost a cat ten years ago, and I still have a little memorial to her (including a photo of her) in my house. I cried when she died, and why not?

Since she was always an indoor cat, I took her to Forest Park and buried her by the top of a hill, with a terrific view.

Michaelann Bewsee said...

Love you story about Vincent. Sorry for your loss.

I regret not having a back yard of my own anymore-- seemed so wrong to have to leave my dog's body with the vet.

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