Another one of our furry family members has left us. Benny discovered our three-legged tuxedo cat Thumper had passed away tonight. She was between 11 and 12 years old. I hope they were mostly happy years for her.
A good Samaritan found this little kitten in a parking lot one rainy day. She was soaking wet and ripped open from stem to stern after an altercation with a dog. In spite of her severe injuries, she was struggling to get back up. This kitten was a fighter.
The local vet wasn’t able to save her mangled leg but he tucked in the organs, sewed her up and gave her shots and meds, fearing she would not make it.
But she did. A friend of the good Samaritan took her in after she did some healing and fostered the kitten until she could find a good home.
And that home was with us. Thumper was a very interesting cat. While she loved being rubbed, she hated being picked up and wasn’t what you would call an affectionate cat (she would frequently growl at me and try to bite me and loved to attack your toes under the covers). She was a loner who didn’t interact much with our other cats. I loved her so much, but sometimes it seemed she would never love me back in the same way.
Thumper was litter box trained, but she often found other places to “go”, much to our frustration. Sometimes she’d suddenly begin quivering from head to toe out of the blue. Was it some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Because of the trauma of her early life, we delayed having her spayed. Turns out we shouldn’t have, because it proved a turning point in our relationship. Suddenly she was hauling herself up on the bed to be with us by rappelling up the comforter. She’d voluntarily seek out our laps.
Later in her life, she became strange bedfellows with our diva cat Puddie. The two would often cuddle together and groom each other. We lost Puddie several months ago and saw yet another change in Thumper.
She began to behave much more like a, well, like a real CAT. As if she’d discovered her true identity. For the first time, it seemed to me Thumper Cat was largely happy. I enjoyed her so much and felt as if we were bonding in a way that had never before happened. Benny would walk into the bedroom and she’d immediately begin meowing at him, insisting he sit down. As soon as he did, she’d climb into his lap and purr as if there was no tomorrow. Benny would roll his eyes, but I could tell he really enjoyed it, too.
And now there are no more tomorrows for my funny, smart, strange, oddly endearing tuxedo cat. Thumper, I will miss you. You’ve had my heart for years, and I felt I finally won yours. Yet you will live on in the Land of the So Not Dead with Puddie and Guy, who will surely spoil you rotten (er).
Tonight, I am sad. I fell in the middle of the road walking back from the farmhouse tonight and banged myself up, abraded knee and elbow, busted lip, bloody nose, and it will all be worse in the morning. Maybe even a black eye or two.
But it will heal. What won’t ever completely heal is the loss of yet another family member, that eccentric one you never quite understand but loved deeply anyway.
Tonight, I am hoping my little Callie–my last remaining cat–will stay a while with me. Sure would ease the pain, of the body and of the heart.
Goodbye, Thumper Cat. I truly will not ever forget you.