R.I.P. Mufasa (2000 to 2013)

Rest in peace, sweet man.

Rest in peace, sweet man.

This afternoon I got a phone call from Mum, and she was crying. For a second I thought the worst – that maybe my father had had an accident in the wood shop, or a heart attack while driving to work (active imagination). Luckily, the news wasn’t as terrible as that, but it was pretty bad. Another member of my family, my adopted feline brother, Mufasa, had to be put to sleep today. Mum is devastated.

Mufasa and his sister Tabitha moved into my parents’ house pretty soon after I moved out for college, probably around the Spring of 2000. They both had abnormally large eyes, and for a few years I liked to tease Mum that they were actually aliens here on a surveillance mission. Fasa was a light orange and cream-colored tabby, and Tabby was a rust and black tabby. Their personalities couldn’t have been more different; they were the opposite ends of the cat spectrum. She was aloof, demanding, and often cruel, while he was trusting and sweet, goofy like a puppy, and always visibly desperate to be picked up, petted, and cuddled.

While Tabby was a holy terror, peeing on the belongings of people she didn’t like (including me), and generally acting like a evil, furry little dictator, Fasa was ever the lovebug. He was crazy about smelling fresh flowers, and he’d spend hours sniffing any flowers Mum put in vases around the house. He also made friends with little critters that got into the house. Mum was always simultaneously annoyed with and admiring of his sweet way with household pests. She wanted him to kill mice or cockroaches, but would always find him happily watching them go about wreaking havoc. He always seemed to take it personally when one of the other cats would kill a mouse; Mum said he went into a depression for weeks when my father’s goldfish died off, and only started to purr again when new fish were put in the tank.

One of the most curious things about Fasa was that he loved pink toys. They say that cats can’t tell much about colors, as we know them, but he could always pick the pink toys out of the bin. He didn’t much care for toys of other colors. When he and Tabby were little, Mum got them both fuzzy mice for Christmas. She bought pink ones and blue ones, a few for each cat. Tabby quickly dove in and began dissecting her mice. That cat was a killer, through and through, and had “murdered” all of the mice within hours of receiving them. She carefully ripped each mouse apart at the seam that ran along its belly, then ripped out the little leather ears, tore the fake fur “skin” off of the plastic core, and moved on to her next victim.

Meanwhile, Fasa eagerly selected one pink mouse to love, and Mum kept his others safe in the hall closet. Fasa groomed his mouse and cuddled with it, then hid it away carefully when there were other tasks on his kitty agenda. He knew his sister well. It took her a few days, but Tabby found his hiding spot and gleefully dissected Fasa’s pink mouse in front of him. For the next couple of days, he sadly cuddled with the only part of his mousy friend that was left, the little pink fur covering. It was heartbreaking.

Eventually, Tabby’s destructive behavior got her put out of the house, something that I do not normally support, but in this case don’t have much problem with. Outside she went from tormenting her brother to becoming the full-fledged maniac she was always meant to be, killing wildlife left and right and generally having an awesome time being a badass. Fasa, meanwhile, stayed indoors, being an adorable little muffin. Eventually he was joined by two other partners in crime, CB and Lucky, both of whom were much kinder.

Mufasa and his pal CB.

Mufasa and his pal CB.

He and I didn’t hang out that much, just because I’m very seldom home in NC. When I was in town, he’d always come and cuddle with me in bed at night. But most of the time I’m here in New Orleans, so he’d listen in on my phone conversations with Mum. He couldn’t bear to be away from her too long, and never left her lap unwarmed. He especially liked to butt his head up against the phone receiver when she was talking, so he could be a part of every single thing that she was doing. As she and I would talk, I could always hear him, just under the receiver, purring deeply and listening in.

I guess he hadn’t been feeling well this week, so Mum took him to the vet, and when they got there the vet said there was nothing they could do. Fasa was suffering from heart failure, and it was his time. Mum bought him a few new toys – pink, of course – and she said he batted them around and purred. He loved her so much, and she him. She was with him when he died, which must have been of great consolation to him. She’s not doing too well, though. Please, if you’re reading this, send my Mum some good energy. She could really use that love right now.

Fasa, you loveable lump of a cat, you will be missed. You were full of goodness and light, and didn’t have a mean bone in your body. If the pet psychic is right, and cats reincarnate and come back to owners that loved them, do it quickly. Mum’s a mess without you, sweet boy. But if the rainbow bridge is a final thing, I hope that the other side is full of everything you love most – soft, soft pink fake fur, bowls of tuna, whole fields of fragrant blossoms, and friends to give you cuddles and rubs, to pick you up and carry you around 24/7, and who let you listen in on their phone conversations. Kisses.

Crossing the Rainbow Bridge: RIP Digit

I just found out that a work friend’s elderly cat passed on yesterday. I don’t want to make a huge deal of it here, but it seems right to celebrate Digit’s life, and recognize her human friend J’s sorrow. J adopted Digit from the animal shelter when she was already an older cat, I believe she was around 7 human years then. Ever since I’ve known J, she’s spoken lovingly of Digit and her quirks. J is a really cool lady who lives life her own way, and Digit was her little partner in crime.

Digit was definitely a cat with personality. Like many cats, she was a picky eater, and needed to be fed precisely on schedule. She was afraid of thunder storms after a particularly violent one passed, blowing a branch through the apartment window. She had her favorite human, other humans she could tolerate (if they brought her nice wet food), and still others she didn’t care for at all. She was a beautiful and loving friend to J, who is one of the nicest humans I’ve ever met, and completely deserving of every second of love that Digit saw fit to bestow upon her.

Yesterday evening, shortly after her human returned home from a short vacation, Digit’s heart gave out. She had waited to see her human one more time, and I hope very much that she was happy in those last moments. I don’t know if J will be happy for some time to come; we’ve all lost a beloved pet, so I’m sure all of you will know the strange mixture of grief, acceptance, and joy one can go through in mourning and celebrating a trip across the Rainbow Bridge. Please send your love and energy to J in her time of sadness, and celebrate Digit’s long and happy life. I know that they’ll both appreciate the gesture.