Skinny the Cat

It is my sad task to report on the passing of my best little pal for the last 9 years, Skinny the Cat. Skinny was her official name because when we first met, I took her to the vet for a checkup, and when the vet asked me for her name, I said:”…I don’t know…she’s a skinny little cat, so how about Skinny?”. Skinny was ordinary as far as cats go, just a simple black and white shorthair female I first met around Christmas in 1999 when I bought my house in Seaside. There was this feral cat hanging around the yard that wouldn’t let me get too close. There’s lots of gophers around here and I’d see her running along the fence in the back with a gopher she’s nabbed for dinner, and all the while we were together she was always on the lookout for that fresh meat for lunch. The gophers around here will be telling tales of the legend of the great black and white gopher hunter for a long time to come.

When the weather turned cold and rainy that year, I would see her on the roof of the house behind me huddled up next to the heater vent for some warmth. At that time my wood frame garage had a lot of rot damage in one corner that needed repair and I would go into the garage and Skinny would be in there sitting on my old pair of work shoes, but would bolt through the hole in the garage when I came in. This went on for 3-4 months.

Finally, I got a can of cat food, dumped it on the concrete path going into my yard, and left. Skinny ran over and inhaled it. I did this every day for a couple of weeks, each time getting a little closer and talking to her so she’d get used to me. After that, I inticed her into the house, and we’ve been pals ever since. That’s when we first went to the vet, who told me the cat was only about 18 months old and had already been fixed. How she got to be on her own living on the gophers in my yard I’ll never know.

Skinny was as loyal as any friend could ever be. She was always there ready to roll around on the couch for the daily “wrestling” match, to jump on my desk when I’m on the computer, to jump on my chest when I was watching TV, and constantly “telling” me about her day. When I left home for a week or more she’d be there when I got home, and we’d both feel right with the world. She never tried to bite or scratch me, and she gave it her best effort trying to tear down my fence by sharpening her claws on it. She was a good cat.

The end of the road for Skinny began a few months ago when, while she was snoozing on the couch, I heard this strange noise coming from somewhere. It turned out to be the cat snoring. A cat snoring? I thought, well, ok….she’s getting older…maybe cats snore. As the weeks went by, I noticed the snoring becoming more pronounced, her once prolific meowing stopped and the food in her dish didn’t disappear any longer. But there were no obvious signs of distress. A few more weeks and I became concerned something was blocking her throat so two weeks ago we went to the vets. That’s when we discovered a lump in her throat (actually, several) that looked like it might be a cancerous tumor. The Dr. thought maybe some antibiodics might help, but it didn’t. She began to go down hill. She lost weight and started drooling uncontrollably. She’d sit and stare at nothing for hours, and couldn’t swallow even the mushy special cat food the vet gave us. So, yesterday (Jan 19) I did the only thing I could do, and put Skinny to sleep. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Just before, the vet and I looked into her throat and I could see the angry red welt on one side that wasn’t so noticable just two weeks earlier. After Skinny was gone, we looked deeper and our fears were confirmed. She was never going to come back from this one.

I buried Skinny in her yard where she so terrorized the gophers, in a box with a bunch of my socks for a bed. It was because of a little game we’d always play. When I came home from work I’d always throw my socks at her and she’d walk around with my socks hanging on her and I’d always say:”…kitty’s wearing my socks..”. She loved this little game. So long Skinny, gopher hunter extrordinare and best little buddy. You were a good cat.

Dennis from CA