Sunday, October 17, 2010

Eulogy for Fungus

Our cat walked away yesterday and hasn't returned. We're all devastated. I got him when I was teaching in the public schools. Some of my students brought him to me when he was a little kitten, too young to be away from his momma, but they couldn't find her so I took him. DH and I bottle fed him until he was old enough to eat solid food. He was also covered in ticks when we got him; the vet doused him in chemicals to kill the ticks and warned us that he might not survive since he was so little, but he did and went on to live a long, long life. I got him a year or two before The Eldest was born and she's 17 now so he's really ancient. We weren't going to keep him when he was little since we already had two cats, but he grew on us like a fungus, as the saying goes, and that's what we named him- Fungus.

He's been a good cat over the years. When we had all three cats, all of them strays, he was so stressed out by the aggressive female in our trio that he lost all of his fur on one side of his body. (She was MEAN.) When we separated them his fur grew back and he had some good years. He's a solid black kitty and he looked like a sleek little panther in his prime. He's deteriorated recently; he has arthritis, bad kidneys, his hearing is going, and he's stopped meowing. He weighs next to nothing and he's on a special low protein prescription cat food. The Middle Child, aka Martha Jr., fed him wet food several times a day, just a bit at the time so as not to upset his tummy. (He throws up easily. He also had dry food available all the time.) She also loved on that animal. She would hold him and pet him while watching TV or cart him around in her arms like a baby. He seemed to adore her too; she always got his motor going.

DH was working outside the house yesterday and the garage door was open. Fungus went out to explore, as usual, but we didn't think anything of it since he usually stays in our driveway or right around the house. When DH went to close everything up the cat was nowhere to be found. We walked around the house and didn't see him, then we walked around the neighborhood but no luck. It got dark as we were walking so we wouldn't have been able to see him anyway, and he can't hear well so he wouldn't come to us when we called. Today I made up a flyer and we posted it around the neighborhood but we haven't had any response yet. I didn't think about calling the Humane Society until this evening; I'll call them tomorrow.

I feel pretty hopeless. I don't think anyone would take him in; there are all sorts of cats running around our neighborhood and people don't think anything of it. Everyone assumes they will find their way home on their own. We also have a lot of dogs in the neighborhood, including a German Shepard that was hanging around yesterday with one of the landscapers. (NOT on a leash.) I know what a German Shepard can do to a cat; we had a German Shepard when I was a kid and she got to a few cats over the years we had her. Wasn't pretty.

I didn't sleep last night; I kept going to the front door to look for Fungus. I've been on the brink of tears all day. I hate the thought of him out there all alone, either dying or already dead. We may never know what's happened to him, but I'll always wonder and feel so sad that we weren't there for him at the end.

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