Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Edward Kitty is No More: A Tribute to His Memory

Edward Kitty is No More

By David Hartley Mark

Poem: For a Dead Kitten

Put the rubber mouse away,
Pick the spools up from the floor,
What was velvet shod, and gay,
Will not want them anymore. 

What was warm, is strangely cold, 

Whence dissolved the little breath?
How could this small body hold,
So immense a thing as Death?

– Sara Henderson Hay

         Edward Kitty, known as Eddy, departed this life last week—I’m not certain which day. He belonged to close relatives of mine. All I have left of him is some photographs. They prove that in his prime, Eddy was a handsome fellow: a true Halloween cat, black as midnight, with inquisitive green eyes. He cost only $5 when he was rescued, poor fellow. I would have thought him worth much more.

Eddy was not big on personality—shy by nature, he hid a great deal of the time—but he indulged his feral self, his prowler-in-the-woods persona, by going out every night. Strangely, he never got into trouble, either with larger, wilder, stronger animals, or with gigantic pieces of four-wheeled machinery infamous for crushing hapless small animals beneath their wheels. Eddy was blessed in that way: he always came back; he knew where the food and his family were, though he was not a big eater.

We are totally in the dark as to Eddy’s birth. We know that he first saw the light of day in a crack house, poor fellow, though he never spoke about it. I believe that the fumes scrambled his poor little feline brain, and that he lost his mother at a tender age, while whatever brothers and sisters he might have had were cast into an often-uncaring world, as he was.

As a result, Eddy never learned to wash himself properly—a strange situation for a cat, who is normally the cleanest of creatures. Nor could he groom himself: his fur would grow long and matted, until his owners had to take him to the pet-groomer, who would shave him into a shape more catlike, complete with jaunty pompom on the end of his tail. I do not know if he ever came to love his pompom; he was always serious of mien, as though in deep thought, trying to figure out some immensely deep cat conundrum. Still, a haircut would transform our disorderly furball into a sleek, streamlined feline.

Because of his background, Eddy was immensely patient. When the time came for him and his housemate, Booty, to be fed, Eddy never became rambunctious. Booty was really the spokescat: larger than Eddy, all black with a handsome white chest, he lorded it over both Eddy and the three dogs with whom they shared their household. I have a memory of the two of them, back-to-front, carefully and thoughtfully eating their dinner. Through a decision by their People, Eddy was no longer permitted to roam the night. The traffic had become overpowering.

I am primarily a dog person, but have had cats, and respect their independence, their refusal to kowtow to their humans, and their general aloofness. Still, Eddy was unique in these aspects. When I attempted to cuddle him, he would arch his back and extend all four of his feet and razor claws—he was not a cuddler. Whether this stemmed from a lack of being held in his babyhood, or he was touch-resistant, we will never know.

Still, Eddy made very little trouble—I recall his nestling between two upright mattresses which were waiting to be laid on a bed—and, to his credit, tried his best to do “cat things.”

Principal among these was his desire to wash himself, which he valiantly attempted, but always failed at doing. Booty might sometimes do him the favor of washing him, but his instinct did not extend to completely dousing a fellow feline who was full grown.

“You’re on your own on this one, Ed,” Booty would tell him in Cat.
“I will do my best,” Eddy would reply.
He would not succeed, but not for lack of trying.
“It is better far to try and fail,” Eddy would tell me, consoling himself, and I would solemnly nod in agreement.
And he would slink off proudly, with one of the smaller dogs pursuing him—he always had an earthy smell, which they found curious and attractive.

What always resulted from Eddy’s self-washing attempts was his licking one paw preparatory to washing himself, but then inadvertently switching paws, and trying to clean himself with the dry one. I give him credit for trying to teach himself this skill, and despair that he was unable to do so. We can only guess at the effect the drug fumes had had on his developing brain, but to attempt and fail at something is no shame.

I will remember Eddy Kitty, a friend to all patient people who love and respecte cats. He did not have an easy life, but was surrounded by people who loved him and tried to understand and deal with his various struggles. Life is never a smooth ride for anyone, but Eddy gave it his best shot.

Eddy is survived by Booty the Cat, Riley the Great Dane-Boxer, Rowdy the Yoodle (Yorkie-Poodle), and Reese the Pomeranian. We may assume and consider that he romps forever under and around the Rainbow Bridge, at last knowing how to care for himself, basking in elemental sunlight, indulging in celestial catnip, and enjoying an endless supply of properly nutritious food, punctuated bya superb treats.

His midnight-black fur is shining, and his green eyes gleam in the dark when the sun sets. His cat-soul will glow amid the brightness of the firmament, and he will know no more sorrow.