March 6, 2012
On Tuesday, February 28th, my husband and I had to put our eleven year old cat, Aleister, to sleep. We had to euthanize him due to a sudden onset of saddle thrombosis, a condition found only in cats. There is great pain involved with saddle thrombosis and there is little chance of recovery.
My husband found him in the litter box on Tuesday afternoon and we rushed him to the vet’s immediately. The doctor explained the situation to us and we were granted a little time to say our goodbyes before the doctor and tech came in to put an end to his suffering.
Now, I feel a little guilty lambasting you with the sad stuff first, dear readers, but I wanted to get all of that out of the way before I tell you the story of Aleister, the Mayor of Cattown, the most intelligent, cantankerous, and amazing cat I have ever had the privilege to share my life with.
Aleister came into this world as a pet store cat named Simba. When he was a few months old, he was given to my husband, Mark. Simba was suffering from ringworm and was spending the majority of his time in a cat carrier and Mark’s landlord encouraged him to take Simba. When Mark adopted him, he renamed him Aleister.
I met Aleister when he was four years old, along with Mark’s other cat, Ox, who was three years old. Ox and I fell in love immediately. If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting Ox, you would see why. He loves people, especially ladies. He is quite the charmer. Aleister and I, however, were off to a rocky start at the beginning.
I have always been good with cats, even challenging ones. So, when Mark told me that Aleister would try to intimidate me and attack me, I didn’t really believe it. That was until Aleister slapped me on the arm during that first meeting, leaving a black and blue mark on my arm. From that point, the challenge was on. I was going to make that cat love me as much as I already loved him.
Mark and I went from dating to being engaged to finally getting married. A few months before our wedding day, we moved in together, making a cat Brady Bunch family of sorts. My three cats Oliver, Isabella, and Vivian, didn’t really get along with his two cats and even after all of these years, there are still some issues. However, there was some bonding established in the first few weeks we all lived together.
I was taking a nap one afternoon when I felt an unfamiliar leap on the bed. People who own multiple cats know what I am talking about. You can tell which cats are on the bed, just by the way the jump on the bed, even if your eyes are closed. I couldn’t believe it! Aleister had jumped on the bed and had decided he was going to join me for my nap! It wasn’t long after that he started snuggling with Oliver. But then again, Oliver really was an ambassador of sorts. Not many people could ever resist snuggling with Oliver. Until the day he died, even after Oliver passed away and our cat family increased to seven when we added Watson and Crick and Edith to our brood, Aleister only ever cuddled with Ox, whom he had grown up with, and Oliver.
Aleister was by far the most fascinating cat I have ever met. He was part Siamese and that was very evident in his features, right down to his slightly crossed eyes and his extensive vocabulary. Mark likes to tell the story of how right after Aleister came to live with him, Aleister very clearly said “Hello!” to a friend of ours. It was very easy to engage Aleister in conversation. All you had to was give him a hearty, “MaaaRoooo!” and you could guarantee he would answer you back in kind. He answered commands in both English and Spanish, thanks to Mark’s training.
I nicknamed him “Aleister the Mayor of Cattown” partly because of his markings that looked as if he was wearing a waist coat and a jacket, but mostly because he was the alpha cat and protector of our home. He constantly patrolled our apartment, and later our house, several times daily. There was not a thing that he didn’t notice. When we bought our home, we moved him first, so he could inspect the place. As for his protection duties, he cornered a few people in his day, including my step mother when she came to feed our cats when we were out of town. We were his people and it was his duty to make sure we were taken care of. You could say he was our attack cat.
Now I could go on and on about every little thing I experienced with Aleister during our seven years together, but I won’t. Instead, I would like to share some things about him that I will miss the most, in the form of a letter.
Hey buddy. I miss you terribly. I am so happy that I got to share my life with you, although our time together was all too brief. I am still so proud of being the one to teach you to “give kisses” and “stand up for ladies” so you could drink out of the faucet.
You are the only cat I have ever met who wore plastic shopping bags as capes. I remember the first time I saw you do this. I was terrified you would hang yourself on the handle, but your dad told me to watch so I did. You deftly slipped the loop around your neck and paraded around the apartment, pleased to be wearing your cape. I am happy I was finally able to capture that on video, so I can have it forever.
I will miss our rousing games of tag when I would get home from work on Saturday mornings and the naps we would take afterwards. In fact, you were one of the best cuddlers ever. Sometimes I wouldn’t even know you joined me on the bed until I would wake up and feel a tiny little ball behind my knees.
I will miss you barging in on me when I would finish my shower. I will always admire your determination to groom me like you would groom dad, even though my hair is much longer and you never were quite successful at it.
I will miss you shouting out the windows to the passerby and I will even miss having to warn guests to our home about your quick temper.
Sure, you had your moments when you would attack me or the other cats without provocation or pee on things you shouldn’t have, but I am not going to carry your bad behaviors in my memory. Instead, I will choose to remember you as a cat with so much love and personality crammed into a such a tiny body.
It’s only been a few days since you have been gone, but I swear I have seen you, out of the corner of my eye, doing your patrol. One night when I was in bed, I heard the click clack of toenails on the hardwood floor and I thought it was you, but it was Bella instead.
I can’t say goodbye, because that would mean I would be admitting I won’t ever see you again. Instead, I will say safe journey, Mistah Aleistah, until we meet again. I love you very much. Tell Oliver I said hi.
Hairless cat with thumbs, number two.