December 16, 2010

There were only four to greet us...

The day we have been expecting, but not looking forward to, has come. Today we lost our beloved Michael T, the King of Cats.

Affectionately known as Mikey or MT, Michael came into My Sweet Baboo’s life back in 1996, as a little gray and white long-haired puffball. He was originally our neighbor’s cat, but spent most of the time on this side of the property line. Neighbor Bob offered the cat to MSB, and the rest is history. A cat named Zoey went to the vet, but Michael T was the cat that came home – you can hide a lot under all that fur!

Over the years, MT established himself as the king of the house, and more importantly, king of the garden. There were always other cats around, but he was the Big Shot, his gorgeous gray fur and pure white mane demanding attention not only from people, but from the other cats as well. He wasn’t at all interested in birds or squirrels, but adored the flowers, shrubs, and all of the little hiding places he found in the garden, and we always said that for MT, a bad day outside was way better than a good day inside.

Earlier this year, while MSB was doing some weeding out back, MT was at his side, helping out. One of his favorite things was to lie down either on our hands, on the weeds we were trying to pull, or on top of new plants we had just put in… This time, MT stood up looking as if he was going to chase something, then jumped, let out a yelp, and fell to the ground. Making a long story short, after a night at the emergency animal hospital, it was determined that he had suffered a heart attack, he had fluid around his heart and lungs, and a blood clot had likely cost him use of his right hind leg. Worse, we were given a very discouraging prognosis of only three to four months.

Well, MT had other ideas. Loaded up on Plavix, enalapril, Lasix, and aspirin, he fought back slowly but surely. Within a couple of weeks, he had regained almost full use of his hind leg. With good weather every day and the garden starting to come into bloom, he began to thrive, returning almost to the Michael of old. He spent his days in his favorite spots, on a bench out back in an untamed part of the garden, or hiding under the euonymus, or on the bridge over the dry creek bed – we didn’t know for sure where he’d be, and we were pretty nervous at first when we couldn’t immediately find him, but he stayed close to home, came in every night, and was just a happy cat.

As summer turned into fall, and the weather started to turn, he continued to enjoy his time outside; the gazebo became his favorite spot, where he could sit and survey the garden from a cushioned lawn chair, out of the sun. He’d come to meet us at the car when we got home, and when we’d head inside the indoor cats would race to him, greeting him as if he were a conquering hero.

Even when it got colder, he wanted to go outside, he didn’t want to waste a single day of it. Once it got really cold and we had all the snow, he’d grudgingly spend the day inside with the other cats. Every day when we got home, there’d be the five of them waiting at the door, MT in the front of the pack. If it wasn’t too bad, he’d go out and sit on the front porch, or maybe head out into the driveway, getting his curly belly hairs damp with the snow, and then hurry back inside.

Today, when we came into the house, there were only four to greet us. MT had seemed fine last night and this morning, but he passed sometime during the day while we were at work.  I like to think he just figured that all this snow would take way too long to melt, and he couldn’t stand the thought of being inside that long.

Rest in peace, MT.