College of Veterinary Medicine Home Pet Loss Hotline

Around the middle of May 1990, three kittens started hanging around our yard and patio areas. One was a long-haired cat (Fluff), a peach colored one (Peaches) and an orange and white shorthair that I referred to as the Dixie Cup. They were approximately 3 to 4 months old. Whenever they appeared I’d say there’s the Dixie Cup. One day Don came in and asked if I’d looked at the backend of that cat? I said, “Oh, well, we’ll just call him D.C. then.

I found out where the kittens belonged and in the middle of June I asked our neighbor if we could adopt the orange and white kitten. On that day, D.C. (saw no reason to change his name) became a permanent member of our household.

From the first night with us, he started sleeping next to me in bed and continued to do so every night (we were home) for the next 16 years.

  On July 2nd, kids started shooting off fireworks and D.C. disappeared. After looking around the neighborhood for him I thought we’d lost him. However, at 10 pm on the 4th there he was frantically clawing at the screen door to get in. From that moment on, he became a real homebody. He very seldom strayed and was perfectly content to hang out in the backyard.

We had him for nine months before we knew he could meow. When I accidentally stepped on his tail we found out he did indeed have a voice. Even though his purring was so loud you could hear him across the room I thought he was mute.

D.C. was a large cat. He had a very straight back and a long tail which he held erect with just a little hook at the end. Like a cane. He was absolutely meticulous and kept himself spotless. Dr. Pospisil said he was a “Dude”. With persons he knew he would rub and bump against their leg until he received his “well deserved” petting or scratching around his ears purring his appreciation loudly. If you placed something in his dish he didn’t like, he would paw the cupboard door then give you that look that said there has got to be something better in there. Both of my granddaughters swear he could open closed doors. Spooky cat.

I always thought he suffered from claustrophobia. He did not like to be picked up and held, never went into cupboards, papers bags or boxes and absolutely hated the cat carrier. However, he would cuddle up next to us or curl up on our lap. When he had to go the vets I just carried him in. He’d just lay there and let whatever was going to happen, happen.

One of my favorite stories involves our son-in-law. Our daughter was taking care of our two cats while we were away for a few days. Allen called to say that D.C. was injured and limping quite badly. I told him to call Tanglewilde Veterinary Hospital, tell them we were away and to make an appointment. I said D.C. hated the carrier and to close off the den and bedrooms before trying to put him in it. Well, he didn’t shut any doors. He told me later that he got the carrier, scooped up the cat, put him in and said to himself, “well, that was easy”. Then he looked up and there was D.C. sitting there watching him. Wrong cat in carrier. “Then it got hard, he said” D.C. took off for the bedroom (under the bed) and finally ended up under the sofa in the living room. He said for a cat with an injured leg he sure could move.

Besides being a lovable easy going guy, he was very cautious. He approached the unknown with great care. Sometimes, amusingly so. When he was about 8 years old they discovered he had a Thyroid condition. Dr. P. took blood from a vein in his neck for the test. From that point on, whenever D.C. saw Dr. P. he would growl. Nothing else, just growl. Dr .P. would say “quiet D.C. you know you don’t mean it.” Personally, I think he did.

Four years ago, he brought a live mouse into the house and then just dropped it. Rusty, our resident mouser couldn’t care less. Wasn’t his mouse, not his problem. Apparently, cats who share a household do not encroach on each other’s catch. The same ethics do not seem apply with each others’ food. Go figure. That evening and on and off during the following day, the Sander’s “3-ring” circus was in full swing. With all of the hullabaloo, I began to feel sorry for the poor mouse, after all he didn’t asked to be brought in and be chased by a cat and two crazy humans. When he finally went out the door, with a cat in hot pursuit, I was kind of hoping he’d get away.

After 16 years, we said goodbye to this sweet, loving, gentle soul. Memories of him will be with us forever.

Revised Dec. 15, 2006     |     Printer Friendly Version