It must be the season of loss… So many of our loved ones seem to die in the spring time. My father in March 2010. Delilah April 2010. Jezebel May 2011. Penny March 2013.
We lost our “baby” in March 2012. A beautiful black and white tuxedo with soft velvet fur, named Thomas after the main character in The Aristocats – “Abraham Delacey Giuseppe Casey Thomas O’Malley, O’Malley the Alley Cat.” We were presented with his mother, Lucy, while she was pregnant, so we were there for Thomas’ birth and held him within moments of his arrival. And we held him until his departure.
Thomas was huge by cat standards – bigger than many small dogs, with a laid-back attitude. He was talkative and affectionate. His favorite perch was the raised portion of the kitchen counter that served as his dining area. From that point he could easily reach out with one large paw to grab a passerby and pull them in for a good nose-licking. Because we held him so much and so often, we could do almost anything to him – clip his claws, rub his belly, put in eye drops, give him medicine. He tolerated everything. As you can see in the photo below, he had panda paws – white paws with black pads that were so cute, we were always messing with them.
Samson, our yellow lab mix, was always around, so Thomas had no fear of him. When he was old enough, he often played with Samson, wrestling on the floor. And Samson was delighted to have a playmate.
Thomas loved to lie down and stretch out in the middle of the floor. He wasn’t worried about being stepped on. He was too big and obvious – we always knew where he was.
At bedtime he stretched out full length along my or my husband’s chest, purring. There was no mistaking that kind of weight on top of you.
In a house with pets, you never do anything alone. There is no point in closing the door, because they will either open it or nag until you open it. Thomas had an unusual trick for anyone using the toilet. While they were seated, with their pants around their lower legs, Thomas would crawl in and make a nest between their ankles, purring loudly. Many times I simply abandoned my trousers when I was done and retrieved them later once he had moved on.
Thomas and his mother, Lucy, remained close throughout their lives although he was easily more than twice her size. They also sparred and one time Lucy nearly killed Thomas when she got a claw deep into his side. I came home late on a Friday night to find him hot and listless on the downstairs couch. Luckily our veterinarian office had emergency services. We took him to the vet and Thomas got a bolus of subcutaneous fluid and an injection of antibiotics. Within a couple days he was himself again, although it took a bit longer for the huge cyst in his side to go away. We started trimming Lucy’s claws more regularly.
As of April 2012, Lucy is still with us, although occasionally we still hear her searching for her son, Thomas. And we understand, because we miss him, too.