Another Time...Another Place

A baby boomer's bon mot

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Location: Goodlettsville, Tennessee, United States

Friday, December 16, 2005

Good-by Holyfield

On Losing Holyfield

My old friend Holyfield passed away today. It seems like yesterday when we first met. In fact, it was almost eleven years.
He was very shy when I first invited him to dinner. It took almost a year before he overcame his suspicious nature and began to interact with us. His appearance, scars, ragged ears and prizefighter walk made me realize why he had this sometimes leery, angry attitude. It was soon evident he was a Tomcat's, Tomcat. Unafraid of dogs, raccoons or other Toms. He was the king of the hill.
We spent a lot of time doctoring his many wounds for the first five years he lived with us. Scratches, bites and other lacerations and abrasions were commonplace to him although horrifying to us. Once when I held him between my legs so Aggie could administer meds to his injured ear he ripped the inside seam of my pants so completely with his rear claws that I was left with a skirt. Even with his fighter mentality Amber our Grand Daughter, could pick him up and carry him without retribution.
When we moved Holyfield rode with me on the last load. We tried to insulate him from harm at the new home but he got out and went about the task of reestablishing himself as the top cat in the new neighborhood. When he didn't return after 3 days we were worried, after a week we decided he had failed or decided to return to his old stomping grounds. A few days later, he returned hungry, tired and baring more scars to prove he had at least tried to show his dominance. Dogs that ventured into the yard were made aware of the guard cat almost immediately. Other cat's fur samples were often found in piles on the driveway. After he returned from one of his many love fests with a gaping quarter sized hole in his neck it was decided that his problematic manliness had to go before he got himself killed.
Almost over night, he became a lovable lap cat. Anyone seated meant an available lap was open for him and he intended to take it. His frightening appearance made the owner of the chosen lap think twice before shunning him.
He always came to meet me when I returned home. After parking the truck, he would run to me with his strange "Grand Pa McCoy" style skip/trot he had acquired from an old injury. In is last years food became his only passion. He would stand on his back feet and gently touch your hand with his paw as if to say "excuse me, are you going to eat that?" When you did offer him food it was recommended that you drop it immediately or suffer the pain of his needle sharp claws as he grabbed for his treat.
His claws or his inability to control them made his feline housemate "Lucy" give him a wide berth. Even though he wasn't a breeder cat, any longer he was still king of the hill. He wasn't a hunter however, he never killed birds, or baby rabbits or mice or moles like Lucy did, inadvertently while playing with her catch. Once when Aggie was very ill he did bring her a baby rabbit that Lucy had caught. He was quite proud to offer this gift even if he had taken it from the real hunter.
When he lost his Tomcat tools he also lost his cheek glands that made his enormous head shrink considerably. He was still a large cat until recently when his kidneys begin failing and his appetite diminished. The vet ran test and concluded nothing could be done to save him. I held his weak, tired scarred old body as she injected the drug that euthanized him. Aggie asked me to bury him with something he loved and to bury him in his old neighborhood where he was still remembered and probably still had family living there. So, I took him home and buried him under a tree on a hill where he once was the king. I stopped by Jack-in-the-Box on the way so I could get something I knew he loved. I buried him with a Jumbo-Jack hamburger.
Rest in peace old friend.


Blogger Steve J. said...

Thanx Carl.

11:35 AM  

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