Tuesday, April 01, 2014
Our cat Clark passed away yesterday at the age of 18. Yes, that’s a good long run for a cat, but you always want more.
He’d been sick for a couple of years, months marked by sharp declines followed by slow recoveries. Finally, it became clear that his suffering had worsened and he wasn’t going to get better.
We brought Clarky and his sister Lois home in November of 1995. We’d lost another cat, Precious, to leukemia a few weeks earlier. She’d come to us as an adult after being abused and abandoned by her previous owner. She had a lot of issues, which made us wish we had gotten to her when she was young so she could have been raised in a loving home. When we knew we needed to keep cats in our lives we found two beautiful kittens.
This seems ridiculous now, but when we adopted Clark we had never had a male cat and were concerned he might be mean. Instead, he turned out to be the sweetest, gentlest member of our family. He was happy and adventurous and curious, always anxious to be brushed or to offer his companionship for any and all naps. He assumed every visitor was there to see him and he proved to be a good little host for family gatherings and parties.
Clark–the real Clark–had been fading away for many months, so when I miss him now I realize that I have really been missing him for a long time.
Late last Friday night, he climbed up onto my lap, something he hadn’t done for at least two years, and for the next half hour or so, he cuddled next to me and purred. The next morning I told Norma that it felt like he was telling me goodbye. Cats, I have learned, are much wiser than we are, and over the years there have been many occasions that I felt Clark was taking care of us rather than the other way around.
I never believed we were his “owners”. I hate that term. If anyone was owned in this relationship, it was Norma and me. Clark wasn’t property. He was family. That’s why there’s an ache in my heart now.
(By the way, the photo above was take a couple of years ago by Clark’s incredible veterinarian, Dr. Ursula Nance.)