Saturday, June 27, 2009

Death Comes in Threes

About a month ago we lost our beloved dog Ewok. Cameron has spoken extensively about that loss and the many years they shared. A week ago we were preparing to attend Truth Teller's funeral. Then last night the neighbor knocked on the door. They had found our "grey boy" Marco beside their house. He looked like he had fallen asleep -- no sign of trauma or poisoning. But he had crossed the rainbow bridge.

The term "grey boy" refers to several generations of kittens that came from Cameron and Luna's home. The mother cats Bridget, Frya, or Wee Bit produced them, and Baldor fatheed them all. As kittens were often more closely together, and hidden until one of the human found them, not to mention co-paretned, Cameron and Luna were never certain of parentage. With so many rescues in the house, and unable to make it to the vet before the next litter was born, Cameron and Luna had a number of inbred grey and white cats over a period of several years. None were very bright, but what they lacked in intelligence they made up for with affection. Indeed, they were some of the most affectionate cats I have ever met.

Marco adopted me seven years ago when I moved to South Carolina to get back on my feet. I moved in with Cameron and Luna temporarily. We had much drama in those years. When Cameron moved in with me a year later, we made a no-drama, we are monogamous commitment.

During those months, I lived in Cameron's studio. It was a small bedroom dominated by a concrete and 2x4 bookcase and a map table. I had a single bed, six inches in a closet, and enough room for three stacking crates. Yet somehow, I made it work.

Because the space was so small, I decided I did not want any cats in the bedroom. Marco, however, decided to adopt me. He cried piteously outside my door, and lurked nearby to run in every time the door opened. Once he convinced me that he was sleeping in my room, word got around. I can just imagine the conversation he had with litter mate Little John, "Hey man, it's the best room in the house and you only have to share her with me!"

When I moved out, Marco came with me. Nine months later, Cameron moved in. Around that time, Marco escaped out the door. Occasionally he came home, obviously having been adopted

by a second family who had put a flea color on him. He always arrived sleek and healthy, and after about three days he would make it past us and out the door. After disappearing for an even longer time than usual, I gave up on him coming home, although Cameron remained optimistic.

Almost a year after his last disappearance, I opened the door and there stood a filthy, near starved, glazed donut faced cat. The snot covered his nose, cheeks and mouth. Only the white mark on his hip told me that Marco had come home. Grieving, almost certain my cat was going to die, we cleaned him up and took him to the vet the next morning.

Dr P didn't think he was going to make it. But he sent Cameron home with IV fluids, needles and special stinky cat food. Within 48 hours, I knew my cat would live. Two weeks later, with a bit of an occasional sneeze and two rounds of antibiotics later, Marco was reintegrated with the household.

Initially he was content to be an indoor cat. However, as the weather warmed the spring, he began getting out past us again. He loved to lead us on frantic chases, staying just out of reach and usually at a time that critical for us to be somewhere else! Cameron at last learned that if she sat and waited he would come home quicker, disappointed that she wasn't participating in his play.

Last Saturday night he sat side by side with his brother Legba (Marco's the cat on the right) playing vulture kitty. They were watching Christian Mystic getting settled to sleep on our love seat. The next morning he got out, and I never saw him alive again.

Loosing a furbaby is like loosing a small child. They depend upon us, and in exchange, offer a great deal of love. Marco adored laying on my shoulder and having his ears scratched. He was a traditional "grey boy," meaning he was extraordinarily affectionate.

Indeed, I take my role as a servant of Bastet very seriously. We have a total of 21 cats today. I love each one deeply, knowing their stories, their histories and their preferences. So the loss of even one strikes deeply. The scripture in the bible about the shepherd who seeks out even one lost sheep, and does not rest until the sheep is within the fold, describes exactly how I feel about our furbabies. To lose one, especially so unexpectedly, is more difficult than I can possibly put into word.

Until I cross the rainbow bridge and am surrounded by all my furchildren who crossed before me, I shall miss you Marco. Your memory is precious. I grieve you deeply.


  1. I am sorry for your loss. As I commented on Cameron's blog, your beloved Marco sounds like a wonderfully adventurous cat.

  2. I'm so very sorry for your loss. Marco was lucky to have such good "parents."

    I wish you peace.


  3. It is my first visit to your blog but I am so sorry to hear of your loss.

    I have foundling cats of my own and volunteer at a local shelter so I applaud and thank you heartily for caring for taking such great care of your furbabies. I am sure you are loved as much as you love.