Dreamweaver chronicled some of this on her blog, too, but I also wish to speak of Marco, a precious gray and white cat that we have lost. In the picture to the left he is the cat on the right, on the left is his litter mate, Legba. This picture of them was taken last week before Marco went on walk-about one last time. Marco was born about 8-9 years ago, when Luna and I shared a house and had very little financially to be able to get cats fixed. There were a number of litters born, and many of them carried this characteristic grey and white color and pattern marking. They were all affectionate, loyal, sturdy and maybe not too bright. Marco was probably in the second or third generation of greyboys born, and I held him in my hand when he was less than half an hour old. When Dreamweaver had to move in with us for a while when she came to the area from another city, Marco adopted her hook, line and sinker. He squirmed his way into her heart and her room and announced this was his person and went with her when she found her new home.
Later, when I moved in with Dreamweaver 6 years ago, of course, Marco and I were reunited!Then he discovered the joy of the out of doors, and took to being a get-out-the-door cat. Eventually his wanderings grew longer and further away. Then came a long gap where we did not see him. When Marco turned up again a year or so later, he wore a collar and was fat and sassy. He had evidently charmed his way into yet another home! Over the 6 years we have been here, he showed up two or three times, would get fed and petted and then disappear again. We missed him sorely, but we honored that he had chosen a new home.
Until last fall. In September, Dreamweaver was going out the door at 4:30 am to leave for work, and when she opened the door, there was Marco. I was wakened to find her standing by the bed holding him in her arms; he was desperately sick and dying. He was dehydrated, starved, emaciated and crusted with snot, virtually unable to breathe. We only recognized him by his distinctive markings, which included a white spot on his right hip. Needless to say, I took him straight to the vet and was there at the door when they opened. The dr. was concerned, ran tests, gave me meds and an IV water drip to take home and frankly did not expect him to live. While at the vet, Marco endearingly climbed onto my back and shoulders while we were waiting for the dr., put his chin on the top of my head, heaved a deep sigh and began purring. I was sort of stuck there, since he was dug into my shirt with his claws. The vet and vet assistants thought he was adorable and took a picture before rescuing me!
It took a few days of giving him meds, hand feeding him, and administering fluids by IV, but finally he responded to the meds and began to eat and drink on his own. One further round of antibiotics to get the last of the congestion cleared up and he defied the vets dire predictions and began to gain weight and thrive.
He happily reintegrated into the house, reforged his old bond with us, slept on the water bed at night with us, reconnected with his old cat friends, especially his litter mate, Legba. Marco loved to be petted, and would plop onto his side, all paws up to be chin skritched and belly rubbed at the slightest excuse. We could only speculate on why he came home in such horrible shape, when he was obviously being loved and cared for at his other home. Our conjecture was that maybe they had moved and been forced to abandon him, or not been able to find him in time? We will probably never know. And yes...he did resume his old dash out the door to run outside pattern, which distressed us at first. However, short of duct taping him to a wall, there was not much to be done with him - he was fast enough that I would call it teleporting! However, while he loved to play catch me if you can, he never wandered off again, clearly having chosen to return to us permanently. Eventually, I discovered that if you didn't chase him around like a maniac, but sat down and "ignored" him, in about less than two minutes he would come tail waving to be picked up and petted! What Marco wanted was the thrill and attention of being chased!
However, this last weekend, in the confusion of the crowd sleeping over for the funeral, Marco slipped out again, and stayed gone a for a week. We wondered if the confusion had been a little too much and if he had decided to see if his "other home" was still there. All we could do was hope he would return; both Dreamweaver and I separately drove and walked around neighborhoods looking for him. Until last night. My neighbor across the way knocked on my door while Dreamweaver was on the way home. Shaken and concerned, she told me that there was a dead cat at her place and she was afraid it was one of mine. My heart sank. "What does the cat look like? I asked. "He's grey and white..." she said, and my heart broke.
Sure enough it was him - the while mark on his hip and the distinctive pattern of grey and white. Evidently he had gone to sleep that afternoon in her yard in the sun by the porch, and simply never waked up again. He had not been hit, or savaged by another animal, no sign of poison, nothing. He lay just as he had been, asleep. We suspect that his heart gave out. He was close to on to 9 years old, and the grey boy cats of his generation had, due to some inbreeding, a tendency to a heart condition. He was not the first one to go of heart failure. We are devastated. We have had too damn many losses too close together and we simply don't quite know what to do. However, he had a full long life, he was loved and happy. He died peacefully evidently in his sleep at a full age. While we deeply regret having so little time with him, due to his wandering ways, we are so grateful that we had him back the last 9 months before he passed.
I wasn't ready for you to go Marco. It's gonna take a long, long time to grieve you. I love you, and I look forward to being reunited with you in the Summerlands someday and see you coming towards me, grey tail waving, to get your chin skritched and your belly rubbed. I held you in my hands just minutes after you were born, when you were a little scrap of hissing white and grey fur....likewise I will hold you in my heart, until we meet again, little brother.