We buried Bert today in the raspberry patch behind the chicken coop under a tall evergreen tree. His head points east toward the rising sun. Bert had a big cat’s presence in our home. We were a part of his pride.
He came to live with us as a rescue when he was about 15 months old 13 years ago. He’d been abandoned and abused. My daughter was 6 years old when we brought him home. She was soon referring to him as her “cat broder.” They stalked each other, played hide and seek, and chased each other up and down the house. She made him small crowns out of toilet paper rolls and drew pictures of them ruling together as king and queen.
He had been caged for three months at the Humane Society (thankfully, during a time when they were totally no-kill) and spent another month in a cattery at a locally owned chain of pet supply stores. He was Pet of the Week and still passed over by everyone until I saw his picture. He was looking directly into the camera, his eyes fearsome as a bird of prey’s and as intelligent as a mountain lion. I decided we needed to bring our cat home. We found him grumpy and depressed, a big 12-pound Tom. After exploring the whole house, he crawled under the covers of my daughter’s bed and slept for three days, only coming out to eat, drink, and use the litter box.
He didn’t claw the furniture, knock things off of tables, eat plants, or have any “accidents.” His only vice was being a chow hound. He knew he wasn’t supposed to be on the counter but couldn’t resist the lure of forbidden snacks and unwashed plates. He was a bandit almost to the end when he lost both his appetite and the ability to jump that high.
He was a scary smart cat and hunter. One year he killed 15 chipmunks–while tethered on a 12-foot line! He bagged 9 of the varmints when he was 12 years old! He had a way of letting us know exactly what he wanted. If he wanted to go outside, he would take us to the basement door and get us to open it. He then would immediately take us to the back door and indicate he wanted it opened just has we had the other. The underlying message, “Please. Try to keep up! “
Bert was a tough cat, but no one wins a bout with terminal cancer. I made the call. We had him euthanized this morning with all of us present, then we brought him home and we all took part in burying him. As my husband said and I agreed, “This part of having a pet really sucks.” We enjoyed Bert for 12 of his 14 years–I will never regret rescuing him or the part he played in our family. Very Sad Begonia