Friday, August 13, 2010

Time to Face Reality

(Fred, 1998)

Three weeks ago, I was home doing some stuff when I saw Fred, my beloved misunderstood genius of a cat, sitting on the back porch, meowing. I stepped outside with some food and water, and he ate up. I petted him, we "talked", and he went back to lounging in the back yard.

That was the last time I saw him.

Fred had disappeared before, but this time is much different. He's 12 years old and his health hasn't been good for some time. I think it's realistic to face up to the fact that something has happened - be it the absolute worst, or that he's just lost. But if somebody isn't feeding him, well, it just doesn't look good.

Fred had the unenviable task of replacing Bandit, my cat of 17 years, who was as close to sainthood as an animal can get. Fred looked so much like him, except he had a fluffier tail, and a "spot" on his nose that we called his "brat mark."

I got Freddo from the Putnam Humane Society on a Saturday morning in August, 1998. His personality and his resemblance to Bandit were the winning factors. His original name at the Humane Society was "Sunday", and that just didn't fit him. Fred was never easy like Sunday morning. Fred was full of energy, and the idea of keeping him as an inside cat was a tough sell. He would escape the old Mahopac apartment at least three times - scaling the roof or the side of our second-floor home. By the time I got him back inside one time, he had burn marks on his paw pads from a scalding hot roof!

Another time, he got loose during game six of the American League Championship. That tempered the joy of the Yankees beating the Indians and my knowledge that I would see my first World Series game in person. I found him the next morning, in a neighboring garage, under a car.

He would eventually become an outside cat, and that was likely his undoing. I get to live with that knowledge.

He and Sean would form a bond, though it was difficult at times. Sean loved Fred, and telling him that we probably weren't going to get him back was a sad conversation. Sean keeps asking if he has returned.

This is both sad and hysterically funny to watch. Sean and his buddy Fred (the poor thing).

In the end, Fred wasn't Bandit, nor should he have been. He wasn't as loving and likely to curl up on my lap. Just wasn't his style. He was still enormous fun, and brought us much joy.

While we can hold out hope, it's best to say goodbye and move forward.

1 comment:

Christine Baker said...


I'm glad you wrote this, and shared that video which is so funny. Fred was a good cat and maybe he just knew it was his time to go. I know it's a difficult thing. My thoughts are with you and Sean! Cat people unite.