The Year of the Cat

Our youngest cat Eno passed away on Saturday night. He was one year old.

It’s hard to put into words how much love we felt for this little guy. He was after all a cat, not a person. But if there’s one thing he taught me, it’s that cats definitely have personalities, and they feel emotion. Sure, there are plenty of cats who keep to themselves and just act cute when they want something from their owners. I admire these “cool” cats for their slyness and independence. But Eno acted like a child, with the ability to be loving, bratty, and perplexing. And without getting further into the obvious psychological implications, he was more or less our child. Cecy and I raised him from a kitten into a seemingly healthy and hyperactive cat.

Much credit goes to Steve R., who took charge of a stray cat’s litter and made sure each kitten went to a good home. Eno was the runt of the litter, a sickly cat who had worms as an infant. Cecy was drawn to him immediately when she saw his picture. When we went to Steve’s to pick out a kitten, he crawled towards me as soon as we walked in the door. He chose us, and we chose him.

We weren’t sure how our other cat Baby would react to this new addition. He was much older, and Cecy had raised him on her own before we met. Fortunately, he took on a nurturing role, acting as both father and mother to the kitten. He made sure Eno was able to eat and clean himself, and protected him from potentially aggressive neighborhood cats. We actually saw a rebirth of sorts in Baby, who became less sluggish and lost weight from having to chase Eno around all the time.

My parents had dogs and cats when I was growing up, but this was the first pet I ever owned and took responsibility for raising. Cecy said she saw a transformation in my personality when Eno came on board. He drove me nuts with his peculiar habit of messing with the cords when I was trying to record music on the computer, trying to jump in the sink when I did dishes, and leaping through the open bathroom window after I took a shower. But it was impossible to get truly upset, even when he scratched and bit my hands when we were playing. He was a pain in the ass, but he added something essential to our lives.

His death came suddenly, with no warning. We were in the other room preparing to tape a podcast. Eno had been lounging on the futon in the living room. We heard a loud “thump,” and Cecy ran into the room to check on the cats. Eno was sprawled out under one of the chairs. She touched him and he let out a cry, then was silent. We rushed him to a 24 hour pet hospital (I had no idea these existed, but am grateful that they do), clinging to the hope that he could somehow be revived.

The vet had no real explanation for his death. He told us that an autopsy would be between $500 and $1,000, and still might be inconclusive. We discussed some possibilities, but considering that neither cat had been sick, and Baby was fine, the most likely cause was that Eno had a weak heart. One of the other cats from the same litter had died in a similar way.

I’ve experienced the deaths of family members and pets before, but in most instances there was a period of prolonged illness leading up to it. Sudden death is hard to comprehend. Eno was with us one minute, the next he was gone. I keep expecting him to walk into the room, or cry out for us to let him in from outside. Baby sniffs around, following his scent, trying to figure out where his friend went. Like us, he’s not really sure what happened.

It seems like Eno didn’t suffer much, and I’m glad we were able to give him a good life while he was here. He definitely changed ours for the better. It was a great year.

All photos by Cecy.

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One Response to “The Year of the Cat”

  1. This is very belated, but I’m really sorry to hear about Eno. He looks strikingly similar to my wife’s and my cat, who I brought home to her the night I proposed. He’s like our little boy, even though we now have a human girl.

    I hadn’t had a dog or a cat for many years because I was so heartbroken over having to put down my German Shepherd.

    We give them a good life and love them for as long as we can. And that’s something.

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